This is the first time I have ever exhibited my work. When I was 18, I studied Foundation Art at Bower Ashton in Bristol, and over the 34 years since then I have tried to keep a drawing/painting practice alive amidst everything else I do. It hasn’t been easy.
During the coronavirus lockdown, I made a deliberate attempt to rediscover lino printing, something I hadn’t done since I was 17.
Inspired by the thought of what would Vincent Van Gogh have done if he did lino prints while sitting in the public park on Place Lamartine in Arles in 1888 instead of pen and ink drawings, and a desire to do lino cuts in the field, en plein air, rather than in a studio, and with no formal training at all, I set out to give it a go. I ordered some lino blocks, watched a few YouTube videos, and started.
The first months of coronavirus were the sunniest on record, and I obsessively tried to capture the light, the movement, the contrast, the sheer aliveness of it all. I fell in love with this medium, with the texture, with how different every print is. It was the most beautiful Spring of my life. I returned to this passage from Klingsor’s Last Summer by Herman Hesse: “This day will never come again and anyone who fails to eat and drink and taste and smell it will never have it offered to him again in all eternity. The sun will never shine as it does today…But you must play your part and sing a song, one of your best”.
I want to make prints so beautiful they make people cry, as the very finest art can do to me (Rembrandt, Laurie Steen, Isaak Levitan, Ivan Chichkine, Van Gogh). I’ve a long way to go yet, but I hope you can find a space in your heart for these humble prints.
Rob Hopkins is first and foremost an environmentalist, a writer and activist. He is the founder of the Transition movement, now active in over 50 countries, a network of communities reimagining and rebuilding the world in the face of the climate emergency. He is the author of 5 books, The Transition Handbook, The Transition Companion, The Power of Just Doing Stuff, 21 Stories of Transition and, most recently, From What Is to What If: unleashing the power of imagination to create the future we want, published in October 2019. He holds a PhD from the University of Plymouth, and 2 honorary doctorates, from the University of the West of England and the University of Namur.
He appeared in the French film ‘Demain’, once appeared in the Observer’s list of ‘Britain’s 50 New Radicals’, has spoken at TED Global and done 3 TEDx talks.
He is an Ashoka Fellow, a Director of New Lion Brewery in Totnes, and travels regularly giving talks. He also hosts and publishes a podcast series called ‘From What If to What Next’.