My name is Jeff Hoppis and I’ve been an artist my entire life.
I’ve won multiple national awards in photo retouching, back in the days when everything was done by hand, before the computer took over that position. I specialized in black and white restoration of old photographs. After years of that, I went to work for the movie industry, sprucing up and colorizing video box covers at a time when VHS players had just come out and all of the old black and whites were being released as colorized films on VHS.
After 5 years of working with MGM, I became a freelance artist. Creating beautiful pieces in many subject areas and showing in galleries worldwide.
I have always been interested in the Native American culture. Their faces show everything, their pride, their fierceness, their strife and struggles, all portrayed in portraits with deep emotion, movement and color. I am particularly a fan of Chief Sitting Bull. He cared deeply for his people and was concerned that the younger people were losing their culture and proud history.
One day I was having lunch and I asked the waitress if she was from a particular Indian nation. She said she was, so I asked her if she could tell me any famous Chiefs from her nation. She thought and thought about it and said “Chief Joseph” I said “Thank you”, knowing she had been mistaken as he was from another tribe. I realized that the knowledge of the history, the culture of the tribes is indeed slipping away. It was at that moment that I decided I would start painting true Native American heroes to share with the world. I feel these are some of the most important forgotten men and women in American history. Their faces tell their dramatic story.
Today I paint the traditional portraits as well as the modern day powwow dances, regalia, people and events, as they are an important continuation of the Native American culture. I strive to portray this as realistically as possible.