March 30 2011 02:11 PM

Our semi-regular feature in which we talk to local hip-hop heads, who then tell us whom we're talking to next

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A design by Hopper

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


Calendar

  • The renowned Mexican black and white photographer presents an exhibition exploring the principal themes within three groups: "Bestiarium"," Fantastic Women" and "Silent Natures."
  • Presented by Pacific Arts Movement, the sixth annual mini film fest features 14 film programs from 10 countries that includes everything from docs to romantic tearjerkers. See website for full lineup and...
  • Debunk some of the stereotypes surrounding cannibalism at this new exhibition that takes a hands-on approach to the subject. Includes video games and interactive activities where patrons will have to decide...
  • The former local boy and creator of the highly influential blog, Advanced Style, will be signing and discussing his third book, Advanced Style: Older and Wiser, which features inspiring pictures and stories...
  • C.J. Chenier and Bonsoir Catin headline this annual Cajun inspired festival. Also enjoy 10,000 pounds of crawfish, dancing and cooking demonstrations. Held at Spanish Landing Park, across from the...
  • A Cinco de Mayo party featuring $2 tacos, cocktails and live music from Bostich+Fussible, Javiera Mena and Gepe
  • A spoken word showcase hosted by English instructor Karla Cordero and her City College students. There will also be a special reading from poet Mercedez Holtry, as well as an art and photography show....
  • Widely known as host of "Weekend Update" on Saturday Night Live and for his role in the Showtime dramedy Weeds, Kevin Nealon brings his unique humor back to the stand-up stage
  • New works from over a dozen UCSD undergraduate students. Participating artists include Charity Algarme, Richard Lin, Joseph Maas, Ignatius Nguyen, and more
  • This video art exhibition from UCSD MFA candidate Stefani Byrd features two installations that explore the themes of breath, mediation, and the nature of time. Takes place in the VAF Performance Space,...
See all events on Thursday, May 5