Jesse Popp, son of Russell and Karla Popp of Rice, was recently named Royalton High School (RHS) October Artist of the Month.
“I guess I’m a small town farmboy who doesn’t act like one when I’m at school or around my friends,” said Popp. “I grew up on a family farm and live in the same house that my great-grandfather built. Both of my parents graduated from Royalton High School. I have a lot of relatives who were talented in the visual arts. From my aunts and uncles on both sides of the family to my grandparents, I guess art ability just runs through my blood lines.”
RHS art instructor Carl Halverson echoed Popp’s words and said, “There is a lot of art ability in that family and has been for many years. I have wall murals and ceiling tiles that were painted from both sides of Jesse’s family. He has always been kind of a class clown through the years, but this year he has really matured into a pretty serious artist while working on his college level class, AP Studio Art. His 12 pieces in his Concentration are pretty amazing. He shows the journey of a person’s life through the subject of his shoes. Jesse’s compositional skills and original thoughts and ideas make the shoes almost speak to you graphically. I guess when you take that genetically-influenced art ability and add it to the work ethic of a farmer, you get some pretty excellent results. I would expect some great things in his future as he pursues a career in the visual arts at the next level.”
Popp said he loves every aspect of art. “I have taken a lot of art classes in my years at RHS, and they have helped me to create projects like the one for my AP class. I chose shoes as my main subject because they can tell a story about where the person who wears them may have been. Shoes are not just pieces of material that are sewn together to protect or cover our feet. From the rugged, muddy football cleats that gaze down the football sideline, to the jet-black shiny dress shoes that a person wears to his funeral, they can become the story teller. That’s what I will hopefully be observant enough to do; just look for the scene, and then listen to what the shoes have to say,” said Popp.
Popp has applied to St. John’s University and plans to pursue a career in the visual arts.