IN THE WORDS OF: LOGAN HICKS
Not only is Logan Hicks a multi-faceted and talented artist in his own right—he was awarded this year’s Art Wynwood Tony Goldman Lifetime Achievement Award—he has also played a major role in providing a platform for other artists to explore and experiment with their craft through the creation of "The Underbelly Project." Conceived of more than a decade ago, Logan Hicks and artist Jordan Seiler have invited artists from around the world to contribute permanent works of art to this collaborative project. Through the years, inside of an abandoned New York City subway station (the location of which remains unknown) the pair have documented the transformation of this once cavernous, decaying space into a haven for artists to produce works with total and complete freedom that would never be sold, and only ever seen by few. The resulting documentary duly titled, Underbelly, filmed by director/producer Brian Greif (of Saving Banksy and The Nashville Walls Project), is highly anticipated for its 2019 release.
Logan Hicks’ own work, which ironically takes abandoned spaces as its primary subject matter, exists along the border between reality and fantasy—manufacturing perspectives, color and light in a way that distorts and alters scenes originally photographed by the artist. The effect of these subtle but powerful adjustments is an eerie, yet inviting scene where the viewer is isolated within ominous atmospheres; like stepping into a dream about a vaguely familiar place. Even in cityscapes such asThe Story of My Life, which depicts a large crowd in the compact streets of New York, Hicks detaches his viewer from the pack through a panoramic perspective so that we are never actually a part of it—only able to peer in from the outside.
We discussed the development of the artist’s career as well as what continues to inspire his work.
Was art something you always knew you wanted to do professionally? How did you get your start?
Art is the only thing that I saw myself doing when I was younger, so it’s the only thing that I’ve pursued. There was never really a plan B. Ever since I was a kid I’ve drawn or expressed myself visually, so when it time to pursue it as a profession, there wasn’t any hesitation.
The intricate and almost scientific process in which you create your compositions is so distinct, how did you develop such a highly systematic technique? Can you explain how a work progresses from start to finish?
To explain the process from start to finish would be a lengthy, boring, tedious thing to write, so I’ll refrain from going into detail. The dumbed down version is that I take my own photos for inspiration. Once I find one that works, I break it down into monochromatic layers and make stencils from it. Then when I go to spray out each layer, I will add the color in a way that make sense to me. I’ll just say that technology is one of those things that is parallel to your vision. If you use technology like computers or photography to create your art because you think it’s going to be easier, then it’s hard to have soul for your vision. But if you find a way to create the vision inside your head then technology plays a much smaller role in your work. Although I do lean heavily on technology, I never feel hindered by it.
Many of your works are about very specific locations – what makes a particular place or scene interesting to you?
I just try to see each place I go to with fresh eyes. Any place has the possibility to be interesting, so when I travel, I take photos and absorb the environment. Small things like the types of street lights used to illuminate the city, the lack of advertising, the architectural style, the way a road curves. These are all things that most people don’t pay attention to, but if you slow down and look at it with fresh eyes, you can start to see the beauty in the mundane. So for me, I try to find locations that convey a timelessness or places that allow the viewer to reflect on things.
How did your time in Baltimore influenced your work?
I went to school in Baltimore at MICA and it helped shaped me into the person I am. Baltimore in many ways is like a town, but it had a very rough edge. Its changed now, but when I was there it was the kind of place where you had to be aware and on your toes when you walked out your door. So it taught me to work for what I want, and taught me to fight for what I deserve. So I’ve carried that work ethos into everything that I’ve done. The history of Baltimore drives my work ethic daily.
You recently received the 2018 Art Wynwood Tony Goldman Lifetime Achievement Award, what does it mean to you to be recognized for your work in this way by such an important street art platform?
It’s always an honor to have someone recognize your work ethic. As an artist its easy to forget that people are influenced by the work because of the time you spend in the studio. I am always focused on the next piece or the future works so I don’t give myself much time to reflect or pat myself on the back. But occasionally you will see a post on social media about the work, or you get an award like the Tony Goldman Lifetime Achievement and it gives me the space to stop for a minute and look at what I’ve accomplished. I was lucky enough to paint under the leadership of Tony Goldman before he passed, and it was a true honor. He played a part in the careers of so many amazing talents, that it’s humbling to know that you are a page in the Goldman story and to see that vision continue under his daughter Jessica's leadership.
What would your advice be to artists trying to break into the art world today?
I don’t think that I could give any advice that isn’t clichéd. I’m convinced that people already know what it takes to follow their passion. You just work hard, meet people, don’t be an asshole. Sometimes it takes a year, sometimes it takes a lifetime, but you just keep pushing, keep making your art, and keep moving forward. If you have a vision in your head, you’ll find a way to get it out and share it with people.
Inspired by his recent travels to Giverny, a town just outside of Paris where Claude Monet famously painted his many variations of Water Lilies throughout his lifetime, Hicks endeavored to render his own interpretation of the iconic waterscape. In a recent statement about this experience, Hicks stated,
“For me there is a joy that I get in visiting places like Giverny where classic paintings took place. I like imagining what it must have been like back when Monet was walking around and painting. I think about how the mediums that are used to paint may change, but good subject matter is timeless.”
Hicks’ twenty-five-foot-long, ten-foot-tall interpretation of Monet’s Water Lilies, which was displayed in the Porsche sponsor booth at Scope Art Fair Miami, encapsulates the artists’ distinctively hyper-detailed, yet atmospheric style. Rendered in layers of spray-painted Hicks-esque blue-green hues, the monumental canvas immerses the viewer within Monet’s world. As he continues to explore this timeless subject, Taglialatella Galleries looks forward to several projects with Logan Hicks to be revealed in the near future…
To inquire about works by Logan Hicks available at Taglialatella Galleries, please contact us at email@example.com.
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