Willi Hoppe alias Major Wilco
Art of This World: How often do you work on your art?
Willi Hoppe: Almost daily in a period of creativity. There are breaks from time to time…. in the interim I do a lot of cooking, TV watching… drinking beer and wine.
AOTW: Do you have a daily routine for setting about creating?
WH: No… it always depends on my mood. I’m more a spontaneous worker.
AOTW: Many artists don’t wait to be inspired. They just get to work because they must. What are your thoughts about that?
WH: You should be inspired before working… but often it helps to do some mechanical craft, for example, mixing colors or cleaning palettes to evoke your spirit… for me it does not take much to become excited.
AOTW: What influences your current work?
WH: The conflict. Huge changes in a few decades has brought a big destabilization in the self-conception of sexual stereotyping, change of climate, new wars around the world, the future. But this is only the social aspect… more important for my work are my feelings about this! For a very long time my focus was on the feminine, all the desires and frustration I found and functionalized (it has a lot to do with my childhood, of course) in the shapes of laps, thighs, waists or female breasts (behind all these body parts are the absent mother and the eternal “all for nothing feelings”). Now I’m determined to include the man and focus on what a man can be in these times (for me). That’s my new theme and desire… my art is a development in the matter of self-definition and searching for better understanding of the basics, myself.
AOTW: What is the War Project 2010?
WH: New wars around the world broadcast daily in the news, discussions by politicians, authors and professionals on TV leave marks within me. I feel weak in doing something against it. Though I know the power of termination, devastation and pain… I decide to search for these cruel and bad feelings in me in order to dig out the dark side of war and ban it in paintings out of my self. I do not claim to paint the reality of war… it’s just what I’m able to imagine of it…. it’s an ongoing project.
AOTW: Do you paint concepts or do you allow whatever you are experiencing in the moment to come through… or a combination? Please explain.
WH: I think it’s a combination. I really like to work in small series. Few terms of reference glue the different pieces together. Though often I work without any ideas beforehand. I can count on there being enough stored within to surface shortly after beginning. There are so many desires bound in my doing. I never run short on possibilities… there is more the danger of not stopping in time before destroying the already good results.
AOTW: Many people refer to your work as violent and overtly sexual. What are your thoughts about that and do you agree or disagree?
WH: I agree, but I can’t promise betterment! Look around! Art is a kind of mirror with many layers… of course there is also beauty in it.
AOTW: Where did you study art?
WH: 1986-1992 Masters of Fine Arts
I studied painting and Ssulpture at the Academy of Fine Arts in Munich (Akademie der bildenden Künste München) under Prof. Helmut Sturm.
AOTW: What type of work have you done outside the field of art, if any?
WH: Different jobs during schooling (ADAC, wood company, video night shift)
AOTW: Whose work today inspires you?
WH: Marlene Dumas, Saskia Niehaus, Bruce Nauman, Georg Baselitz
AOTW: What artist(s) of the past do you like?
WH: Emil Nolde, Eva Hesse, Van Gogh, Edvard Munch… et al.
AOTW: What influences how you work?
WH: Of course my situation as a disabled person influences my work, next to emotional conflicts and information about the state of our world too. I’m powered by emotions… influenced by actual problems, trying to free myself by painting or drawing is one of the gifts given to me.
AOTW: How do you select your materials?
WH: Because I have to work at home I’m limited on materials—they can not have too much of an odor nor cause dust—the winner is acrylic and oil pastel, pencil and ink… all the former work with plaster and wood I didn’t particularly want to cancel, but I had to.
AOTW: In what mediums do you best enjoy working and why?
WH: I really love the combination of pencil and oil pastel on black gesso. I think it’s a bit my invention and I love the intertwined drawing, and the possibility of carrying off an underlying area… it’s very spontaneous and free working… pure fun!
AOTW: Your work strikes a very strong psychological chord with this viewer in particular. What are your thoughts about art as a form of therapy?
WH: I doubt that just art suffices when it comes to a mental illness, but it actually can help you on your way to healing. But I think art is also a free discipline—it has it’s own rules. And just painting is not the same as being an artist and creating art.
AOTW: Do you make plans for upcoming projects or go with the flow?
WH: The “man” is my new project. I want to find out how it feels to the touch to be a man. No kidding…. It’s not so self-evidently how it sounds.
AOTW: What are you currently working on?
WH: A damn sea scape with female sea monsters fighting just for the hell of it :—)))
18. Do you ever collaborate with other artists? If yes, in what way, and can you show us an example? Teamwork with Shari Pierce and Stefan Heide… the outcome is an art product of ours.
AOTW: What is your favorite subject in your work, if you have one?
WH: Fundamental condition… the eternal trail… breaking through… sex
AOTW: Do you work with music and if so what do you like to listen to?
WH: I need music like water… often I hear music with my headset…. Tom Waits, Nigel Kennedy, Alanis Morissette, Eels, The Doors, Leonard Cohen, Madredeus,
AOTW: Do you have any upcoming exhibits and if so, where and what will be the subject matter?
WH: I’m still searching for a gallery owner in Munich.
AOTW: What are some challenges that artists face today versus artists’ experiences fifty years ago?
WH: There is a surplus of art and a big market for art today contrary to fifty years ago… a lot of art making is just business today… for artists it is not easy to find and hold quality nowadays, the core… art needs honesty and contemplation, often the superficial aspect is more wanted, and it has to be really huge! But I’m in an exceptional situation and it’s easy for me to talk about depth!
AOTW: What other thoughts about yourself and your work would you like to share?
WH: I like what is happening on flickr and facebook. It’s a new place for me to meet other artists and be with friends. I’m a bit threatened by isolation and solitary tendencies… this really helps, thanks :-) every critic and idea is very welcome.
AOTW: Thank you, Willi.