The Imaginarium by Mark Hoppmann

$10,000.00 - Please contact 23 Sandy for current availability.

A book I came across soon after graduating from college almost 40 years ago, planted the seed for The Imaginarium. The title now escapes me, but the story and the illustrations were in the style of Shel Silverstein. A detective, (picture Inspector Clouseau), peers intently through his magnifying glass at footprints while a small puppy followed directly behind him devouring everything in its path. As the footprints grew larger and the clues more terrifying, the puppy following behind the inspector grew proportionately larger and more terrifying, until too late, the inspector turns just as the giant dog devours him in one bite. The detective’s past and his future had become one and the same.

The theme was perfect for a vivid dreamer such as myself. To a vivid dreamer, dreams are a wonderful experience.  I walk through the back door of my grandfather’s workshop on the edge of a wheatfield in Nebraska only to emerge onto a great battle in the Arabian desert. I can traverse time and space as I hurtle to far off planets, passing through distant galaxies, or huddle in the shadows of a train station somewhere in Europe in the dark of night, while hiding from some unknown terror. Sometimes dreams are merely strange.

The Imaginarium is comprised of two dream sequences.  One is titled Creation Chronicle, while the other is titled, The Garden of Earthly Delights.  Both give the reader somewhat of an idea of what being inside of my head during two dreams might be like. As In dreams, the book is an enigma. Both dream sequences travel seamlessly forwards and back in time simultaneously, much as dreams do. In short, the end of both dreams starts at the beginning, their beginning starts at the end, and both dreams meet in the middle.

The conceptual sketches took almost a year to create and the finished drawings another 6 months, while I worked on the sequences. I decided to create the finished drawings on 180gsm Stonehenge paper because the wire side and felt side of the paper were virtually indistinguishable from each other, making it ideal for drawing on both sides of the paper and I decided to make the book oversize to utilize the original deckled edges from the parent sheet. The heavier weight paper also made it easier to make circular cut outs to emphasize the quality of moving forwards and backwards simultaneously when viewing the illustrations.  For sake of continuity, I had to think in terms of working on four drawings simultaneously on both preceding and subsequent pages.

Artist Bio

Mark Hoppmann is an artist living and working in Tacoma, Washington. Born and raised on a Nebraska wheat farm, Mark spent one year traveling in Europe, while studying art in Florence, Italy. Graduating in 1978, from Drake University with a BFA in graphic design and commercial art, he spent twenty years in the graphic arts industry in pre-press, as a press operator and as a bindery specialist. Since 1999, when Mark decided to devote the rest of his life to his art, Mark has become a recognized watercolorist, illustrator, and book artist.

His paintings and drawings are influenced by his roots in the endless wheat fields of western Nebraska, to his knowledge of the streets of Florence Italy, and beyond to the beaches of the Pacific Northwest coast. Armed with a camera, sketchbook, and his imagination, he captures the weatherworn textures of nature in watercolor and whatever medium he has at hand. “My journeys have resulted in an eclectic accumulation of bric-a-brac, memories, experiences, and books, all which in turn, inspire my paintings, drawings, and illustrations,” says the artist.

In addition to the paintings and drawings in this exhibition, Mark is also well known as a book artist. With apologies to Rudyard Kipling, Mark’s intent is to design illustrated books for those “with satiable curtiosity.” Simple and sometimes unadorned, but thoughtfully creative book designs hide a treasury of illustrations within. He is currently a member of the Puget Sound Book Artists, a non-profit organization dedicated to teaching and promoting the art of the book and is a member of the Book Club of Washington.

Mark Hoppmann’s work may be found in private and public collections including the rare book collections of the University of Puget Sound, the Ringling College of Art & Design, the Savannah College of Art & Design, Emory University, the Bainbridge Museum of Art, and others.