Pegge Hopper was born in Oakland, CA and raised both in California and Michigan, the daughter of a homemaker and the owner of an auto interior company. She began drawing as a child. "I got a lot of encouragement for it so I kept on doing it," she says. "In those days, there wasn't this importance on being something or somebody; you just did what you could do."

After Hopper graduated from high school in the mid-fifties, she attended Art Center College of Design in Pasadena. Luckily for Hopper, the school had a strong focus on the business of art. "Art Center taught you to be very responsible - none of this bohemian stuff. You didn't just sit around waiting for the news to inspire you."

Portfolio in hand, Hopper went off to her first job - designing murals for New York department stores. After traveling in Europe for a year, she took a job at La Rinascente, one of the largest department chain stores in Italy, succeeding a Swiss designer who had set the tone with her elegant graphic design. It would prove a tremendously formative experience for the eager young artist.

"This was only about 15 years after the Second World War. Italy and Europe were going through the new threat of communism; the Berlin Wall had just gone up." Like many other capitalist ventures, the store was trying desperately to establish an institutional image. "Instead of doing ads for shoes, corsets and dresses, we would do seasonal promotions, big posters that would sum up the whole feeling: SPRING IS HERE! They wanted them to be very beautiful, very arty. I realized this was a wonderful opportunity for me to really push myself and try to do my very best."

Encouraged by the Italian community, Hopper began to take herself seriously as an artist. "I was exposed to this whole tradition. Artists were treated as important and valuable, as if we were special. Or at least that's the way I felt." For two years, Hopper lived and worked in Milan. When she returned to the United States, she got married and moved to Los Angeles.

Her extraordinary career as a fine artist began quietly. A friend who was an interior designer saw her work and commissioned her to do twenty paintings and she never looked back.

Over the next several decades, Hopper's images became well known and collected all over the world. She had one-person shows in Chicago, Los Angeles, Seattle, New York, and Japan. Her paintings are found in the permanent collections of the Hawaii State Foundation on Culture and the Arts, the Bishop Museum, the Pacific Club and the Contemporary Arts Center.

Whatever Hopper does with her work, it won't just be change for the sake of change. "I don't want a lot of shock value or arbitrary spontaneity. I want to really feel what I'm doing - which means that my whole attitude toward my work has to change. It's a big challenge. I hope I have the health and longevity to live up to it."