President’s Column: June 2023

President’s Column: June 2023

This is a story about an artist. His name is Ken Hopper. No, not the famous Edward Hopper. No relation. We met Ken and his wife Nancy when they were helped across the US border into Canada in a Volkswagen beetle by our landlords who knew the crossings where you didn’t get trouble from the border guards. Ken had trained at the Arts Centre College of Design in LA and Nancy wrote poetry. They left the USA for Ken to evade the draft for the Viet Nam war. His feelings about the war were such that he remained staunchly anti-American.

Ken and Nan came to Canada with very little but with some of Ken’s canvasses rolled up. We bought two since they were very short of money. We were all young.

Shortly after they moved to Toronto, we visited them living above a shop in the Italian quarter of Toronto. Nan left Ken shortly afterwards.

He didn’t paint prolifically but was dedicated to his work.

He moved to semi-rural Ontario. He exhibited locally. He never got famous. I suspect it would not have bothered him.

When he died, his daughter inherited many works, which may have been put under the bed like Vincent’s were with his brother Theo.

There must be so many artists like Ken, dedicated to their work, impecunious but just able to get by, exhibiting when they can in local galleries, “undiscovered”. This column is by way of paying homage to Ken Hopper and artists like him.


Koenraad Kuiper, President.