Richard Kopp is one of the first artists that I met when I started at the Blanden. I enjoy the friendship I have with Richard and always enjoy his wonderful creations. The following is an article based on an interview I had with him on March 10, 2018.
Richard Kopp is a local artist, who, as he would tell you, has never traveled more than 50 miles outside of Fort Dodge in his whole life. This is not entirely true; Richard, like all young men of a certain age, was drafted into the Army and was sent to Korea five years before the start of the Korean War. He was always small, but he was a fighter. This fighting - and never give up attitude was something that shaped his entire life. He said, “Every time I was knocked down I got up and tried my best.”
His inspiration for art comes from many parts of his life; the things he collected, the materials he used at work, and from the many books purchased at auctions or flea markets. He recalls, “I was not much of a reader, but I collected books and I always loved looking at the pictures contained inside, full of color and wonder.” Richard stated that he wanted to create paintings like the ones he saw in the books, but instead “created the art that I create out of the stuff around me.” He continued, “Everything I did in life inspired me, I would see a picture and it would get me thinking. I was always thinking and making paintings, sculpture, and books.”
When asked how he got started making art, Richard explained that it was right after he was married. They did not have any furniture - like tables and things so he just made them. This first act of creativity was the spark that lit a flame that is still burning bright today. However, he said, “The Blanden provides me with the extra push that I needed to keep creating.”
To Richard, the Blanden Art Museum is a very special place, a place that he feels welcomed. He said he is blessed to know the Blanden, and it is hard to put it all in perspective, but he was very fortunate to have been able to exhibit his work at the museum. Richard said, “Showing at the Blanden, blossomed into more and more opportunities to show my work and I became more and more popular.”
Lastly, when asked what he would like to say to the community about the Blanden, Richard simply stated, “I’m not dead yet, and I will live until I die, and that the museum is very special and the citizens of Fort Dodge are blessed that they have the Blanden.” For him, being a part of the Blanden community is an honor, and he is very glad to have the museum’s friendship. A friendship that started with a brief conversation and blossomed into a passion for life.