The man: He's Ryan Hoppe, but everyone calls him Hopper
The scene: Hopper loves '90sera hip-hop, so you can catch him occasionally at U-31 on Thursday nights for the Generations Party with DJs Cros1 and Artistic. But Hopper's not a DJ, MC or b-boy; he holds up the more behind-thescenes and underground pillar of hip-hop culture—graffiti. Mostly, you can find him hard at work at his business, Serve Design, coming up with graffiti and hip-hop inspired designs for his clothing line and freelance clients.
The Story: Hopper can still remember sitting in the back of his dad's car as they drove past the infamous 5 Yardboys graffiti crew. He'd watch in awe as artists like Saratoga Sake and Daze painted big, beautiful graffiti murals.
“It just caught my attention, and I knew I wanted to do it,” Hopper says. “As a kid, I'd put on a Smif-N- Wessun CD or something, put my headphones on and just draw—just create and draw.”
That started in the fifth grade. After building up piles of practice sketchbooks and eventually venturing out to do a few hands-on pieces on the streets—he got arrested once when he was still a minor—Hopper found his niche. His work evolved into his current style of bright, big, colorful lettering. One of his murals can be spotted on the Undisputed fitness and training center building in North Park.
“My style is really unique,” Hopper says. “It's real young and friendly, you know. It's not real hardcore and dark-looking at all.”
Hopper designed the logo for local hip-hop event producer and DJ Cros1's first-ever Freestyle Session b-boy battle and has since been asked to do the design work for break-dance events around the world. He was the head designer at Tribal Streetwear for more than a decade before he struck out on his own. His clothing line has become popular among local hip-hop heads.
They get their hands on his apparel online at servedesign.com or at Armory Survival Gear or 619 Underground Clothing.
Who's CityBeat talking to next?: DJ Rags