Black-Owned Business Spotlight: Hoop Dream Studios
Q&A with Founder, Jarrett Ellis - The artist behind the custom hoops for Kendrick Nunn
What's the story behind Hoop Dream Studios? How did it come to life?
Hoop Dream Studios came to life during my time in undergrad at Loyola Marymount University where I majored in Fine Arts. I had an assignment for a design class (Concept to Form) and that's when I decided to create a basketball hoop to submit. But, in reality, it was so I could take it home and ball out in the apartment with my roommates.
After crafting the first one and many intense games of indoor horse, my friends started asking me to commission custom hoops for them, so I started to take it a bit more serious. After selling a few and seeing people's reactions, I knew I had something special.
I created the Instagram account, @hoopdreamstudios, and shortly after received a DM from Rich the Kid to make a custom one. From there, it snowballed to where I am today.
The creativity on these hoops isn't unnoticed. What inspires you?
Thanks, I appreciate that. I'd say my biggest inspiration comes from reading and studying different art movements from the past. Currently, my favorite is the Bauhaus movement from the 1920s. I think being able to have historical references rooted in art, design, and overall lifestyle culture really helps push me to think bigger when it comes to creating the hoops.
Typically, there's one image that comes to mind when people think of a basketball hoop, but I'm constantly trying to find ways and apply new methods to make my art stand out. The goal is to create a timeless piece that can stand on its own, or in this case, hang on its own.
We hear you made some custom hoops for K-Nunn. What was that collaboration like?
Working with K-Nunn was a cool experience. He reached out around the same time the NBA bubble was beginning to start up. We were really able to collaborate on the piece, which was great. We went back and forth on a few possibilities. One option we liked had us using one of his old jerseys but, ultimately, he decided he wanted to go with the classic Black Velvet Hoop in three different sizes (26-inch, 32-inch, and 50-inch, a full-size backboard and regulation rim). I loved the process of working with him and getting to make these pieces come to life.
Favorite hoop you've created to date.
Tough question. There's too many to choose from. I guess if I absolutely had to pick, it would be Hoop Dream Studios collaboration with A.S. Roma, the Italian Soccer Club. The process of deconstructing the Roma jersey and re-applying it to texturize the hoop was a fun experience. Another favorite would definitely be the commissioned piece for Young Thug's So Much Fun album release party. The slime green hoop looked nuts.
As a Black-owned business owner, what advice can you offer to other Black entrepreneurs? (P.S. - Congrats on being a finalist in the 2020 OBWS Black Entrepreneur of the Year Awards! Pretty amazing accomplishment!)
Thank you! As a Black business owner, my advice to other Black entrepreneurs is to always trust your gut and don't be afraid to let your unique voice and point of view be displayed through your work. Simple advice, but it continues to hold true.