Meet the Raleigh artist whose work you've seen but whose name you've likely never heard

RALEIGH (WTVD) -- You may not be an art connoisseur and you may have never heard of Raleigh artist Clark Hipolito, but you've likely seen his work.

A lot of his artwork is very public, adorning the inside and outside of buildings all over the Triangle for decades.

We featured one of his replica murals in a recent story about a patient's right to know hospital costs prior to procedures.

Hipolito doesn't mind that you may not know him by name.

He started out designing television and movie sets in the late 1980s. He started painting murals in the next decade.

But it's his artwork on surfboards and guitars that has helped define the latter part of his career.

"My goal in life was to kind of work and play at the same time," Hipolito said at the Raleigh studio of The Art Company.

So it was only natural that he would add his artwork to two of his favorite playthings: surfboards and guitars.

Soon the surf world and the rock world took note.

"This is a guitar I did for Jonathan Cain of Journey," Hipolito said while conducting a tour of his studio.

The keyboardist and guitarist for the rock band Journey isn't the only--or even the biggest--celebrity who is a Hipolito client.

"I did some work for Robert Plant," he said.

Plant is the front man for the iconic rock band Led Zeppelin.

Fayetteville tattoo artist goes viral on TikTok with hyper-realistic portraits

"Most of these artists I work with, they give me guitars, or they'll give me like something personal, surfboard to paint--and, you know he had a tambourine?" Hipolito said. "That was the smallest thing I've ever painted."

He's also painted for NASCAR driver Jimmy Johnson and former NC State and NFL player Mario Williams.

Hipolito works with all kinds of products, although acrylic paint is his favorite.

He also works in large formats, very large formats.

His murals have adorned buildings all over the Triangle for decades including some of the most popular venues for entertainment, food, and drink.

So he's fine with being one of the most successful artists on the Triangle art scene, even if his name remains mostly unknown.

"I was always the artist behind the artists, and that's totally cool with me," he said.

He credits a series of paintings from early in his career called The Lightning Field with showing him that he could make a living from art and inspiring him to start The Art Company.

The rest is history for the son of Filipino parents who tired of the New York City art scene and decided to move to Raleigh, North Carolina, of all places, nearly three decades ago.

"I love the way the vibe is here in North Carolina. There's as many creative types here as there are in New York City, but you just don't really hear about it usually. I just, I don't think people think of like the art scene or the music scene, when they think of North Carolina at first. And then when they get down there, down here, then it's a whole different ballgame."

Copyright © 2021 WTVD-TV. All Rights Reserved.