December's Featured Alumnus: Paul Hoppe B.A.'06

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Written by Nicole Johnson 

Paul Hoppe graduated from Azusa Pacific University in 2006 with a Graphic Design and Fine Art Double Major. He then continued his education and earned a BFA in 2013 from the Art Center College of Design. Hoppe had been interested in doing digital creative work from an early age, so studying graphic design seemed like an obvious fit. Hoppe never thought of himself as an artist, but as a graphic design major taking the required fine art classes. Then he was opened to a new level of artistic expression and craft through making things with his hands through drawing and sculpture.

Hoppe says, “My most meaningful experiences definitely revolve around the close knit community of the art department and the friends I made there. A few of them are some of my closest friends to this day. The most meaningful experience however would be meeting my future wife, Alyssa, in the graphic design lab. We’ve now been happily married for 6 years.”

Hoppe is an associate design director at 2x4, where he leads teams in concept and designs of interactive installations, spacial design projects, and user experience for brand activities. After attending Azusa Pacific, Hoppe enjoyed creating art experiences through installation and video work, and had been accepted to Claremont Graduate University to pursue an MFA. He didn’t feel right about his fit with the school and so he turned it down. Instead, he ended up starting a graphic design career through freelance branding design work and eventually taking a job at APU as a motion graphics designer on the event production technology team with Media Services. Through this job, Hoppe started to get an in depth look at creating experiences through design and technology and was inspired to re-engage himself more fully in studying graphic design. He took a night class at Art Center as part of his professional development and eventually left his position at APU to go back to school at Art Center full-time.

After attending the ART+COM internship and finding the perfect blend of his APU majors in the field of interactive installation design, he focused the rest of his time at Art Center on that type of work. After graduation, he got what he considered a dream job at Local Projects in New York City creating interactive installations for museums, brands, and educational institutions. After Local Projects, Hoppe was presented with an opportunity to join his current company, 2x4, which he describes as “a legendary graphic design studio”, producing work he had studied while in school.

To anyone pursuing a career in this field, Hoppe advises, “devote yourself to the rigor of craftsmanship, but be creative in how you take advantage of the curriculum. Don’t look at your classes and assignments as a list of tasks to complete, but as a variety of ways to explore what you are passionate about.”