Raised in a West LA family of artists, Rich Klopfer grew
up around museums and galleries. "On a typical family
outing, my dad would set up the easel," he recalls. After
high school, Klopfer explored the US by car, a bit at a
time, until 1980, when he discovered Eugene and decided to
stay. "I chopped wood and baked bread," he notes. "I made
connections and saw the potential for community." A
carpenter by trade, Klopfer launched a second career as an
exhibiting artist and began a collaboration with Eugene
artist and labor-rights activist Trim Bissell. "We were
kindred spirits in art," says Klopfer. "We did a series of
paired paintings." Also a folk musician, Klopfer picks up
the violin for relaxation on a daily basis. Behind him on
the wall is one of his colorful depictions of rural life.
After Bissell's death from cancer in 2002, and with the
invasion of Iraq imminent, Klopfer put his art career on
hold, cut back on carpentry, and joined the Justice Not War
Coalition. "I've been at it since January of '03," he says.
"We organized some of the rallies. I was arrested a couple
of weeks ago in Peter Defazio's office."
photograph and story by Paul Neevel
Eugene Weekly / 29 March 2007