P. J. HIPPLE
P. J. Hipple believes he always knew how to draw. As an eight and nine-year-old child he drew comic strips of invented superheros on mimeograph sheets using ball point pens. His mother, a secretary in a large trucking firm in Memphis, Tennessee, made mimeographic copies for the young P.J. which he gave away to friends at school. One of these comics was awarded a third place ribbon in the Student Art and Craft Competition at the Shelby County Fair in 1965.
As a teenager, his interests turned to cars and girls. Hipple restored a 1954 Buick Special Riviera and fell in love with Cary Sue Blanton, whom he
later married. He has admitted to “running with a rough crowd in high school,” and was therefore tracked into vocational and shop courses. He later
completing an Auto Technician Certificate through the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence.
While he was working at Dobbs Ford, an engine fell on P. J. Hipple’s left foot. Being forced to recuperate for over four months while receiving
workman’s compensation gave him the time to begin drawing again.
In most respects his drawing style had not changed much from almost twenty years before. With game shows and commercials in the background
and advertising inserts from the daily paper strewn about him, P. J. Hipple made a series of "shopping mazes" on cream colored paper. Each drawing took him a week and required as many as two Pilot "fine-line" pens to complete. During his recuperation, he completed fifteen of these drawings.
When he recovered, P.J. Hipple returned to work at the Ford dealership. Three years later at his 20th high school reunion, he met Chad Carson, who studied illustration at the Memphis College of Art and Design. Carson took an interest in Hipple’s drawings and sent slides of them to Art Directors in Memphis and Nashville. Unfortunately, nothing came from this effort.
As the manager of the West Junction BP gas station, he seldom has time to draw. In 1995 George and Helen Spelvin bought six of the “shopping mazes” from Mr. Hipple at “The Big One” Flea Market at the Mid-South Fairgrounds in Memphis.
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