FIVE MINUTES WITH: Street art supremo Logan Hicks to make his mark on Dubai

logan-hicks

You’ve seen his work, now hear Logan Hick’s thoughts as he gets ready to leave his mark on Dubai.

There is a very good chance that these eye-popping street murals by Logan Hicks have cropped up on your social media feed recently. Check out this jaw-dropping number that that went viral after it appeared in NYC.

New-York based stencil Logan is in town to scout locations ahead of the Dubai Walls art initiative, which will see 15 permanent murals from the world’s top street artists add a touch of street style to City Walk. We got him to down tools and chew the fat for five….

Dubai Week: So, without wanting to sound like a job interview – tell us about yourself?

Logan Hicks: Sure, I am a New York-based stencil artist known for multi-layer, photographic, photorealistic stencilled paintings.

DW: To jump straight in – when did you decide stencilling was going to be the medium that you focus on?

LH: I started off as a screen printer and when I moved I didn’t have much screen printing equipment anymore, so I started doing stencils as a substitute, as I was waiting for my screen printing gear.

I liked it so much I stuck with it and for whatever reason, I keep finding new challenges within it. I don’t know if I’ll do it for the rest of my life, but I’ll do it until I get tired of it and so far I’m not tired of it.

lh-piece-1 Logan Hicks

DW: For aspiring artists, what are the realities of being a successful artist. Does your social media game have to be strong and do you need to be business savvy?

LH: You know, all that stuff’s important but the truth of the matter is just working. The job with any artist is to make, work and find people to look at it. Like, ultimately, when you boil down to it that’s all you got to do.

It doesn’t matter if it’s through social media, or you’re good at networking, or if you’re in a gallery, or if you’re doing murals on the street, making work and finding eyes to look at the work is the only thing that you need to do.

I’m not too good with the business end but all I know is, I’ve just shown up every day for work, worked my butt off and then put it out there for other people to view and it seems to have worked out for me.

DW: While we’re talking about your work, we just wanted to say congratulations on the Bowery Wall [in New York City]!

LH: Thank you! That was a monster wall I’ll tell you that, when you’re painting it looks three times bigger that it actually looks when you’re just sitting there looking at it.

DW: You’ve said that your exposure to art was somewhat limited growing up in a world without internet, but it is now extremely accessible. Who were your main influences growing up?

LH: The first artist I really sort of took notice of in life was Salvador Dali. That was back in high school and then from there kind of Warhol and some of the pop art stuff.

To be honest, there was huge lull in inspiration until, you know, the early ‘90s when Juxtapoz magazine came out along with hot rod culture, skateboard culture and graffiti and things that were kind of based on something that was relevant to my life.

At that point Shepard Fairey, Banksy and all those people spoke to me enough to catapult me to the next level of passion.

lh-bowery-wall Logan Hicks

The Bowery Wall, NYC

DW: With shows like ‘Love Never Saved Anything’, does your work tend to reflect your current emotions and situations? What are your most emotive pieces?

LH: First off with my work, none of them really, like, tell a specific narrative, it’s more kind of based on emotion and sort of what goes along with that.

During that show in particular it was a fairly tumultuous time, I mean, creatively, financially, personally. I had a lot of things that weren’t doing terrific and you kind of feel like you’re just sort of out there floating, waiting for something to bump into you.

If you look at the work a lot of it was based on water, it had this sort of water theme. I had this idea of the sea being both endless and also confining. Giving life and you know, having death.

So I mean, with that I kind of went with more with just the feeling of it as opposed to the, you know, narrative and whatever else. That’s pretty much it.

DW: Do you feel a strong connection to the sea?

LH: Yeah I do, it’s funny, my entire life I’ve always lived within a quarter mile of the ocean. My dad was in the navy, my son’s name is Sailor, I’m a Pisces.

I don’t know try to find the connections, but you know, the sea provides a lot of comfort for me.

Even mentally, my sense of direction is always based on the sea, so when I’m driving around New York I may not know what street is where but I know that the East River is behind me, I know the Hudson is over there.

It sort of centres me and gives me direction and I guess that kind of extends metaphorically. I enjoy the sea and I find the metaphors that go along with it are pretty fitting for me in terms of the life/death thing.

DW: A lot of your work captures the dirt and grit of urban landscapes, so will you be looking for that in Dubai or something else?

LH: I think I try to find the soul of the city, in New York that happens to be the grit. What interests me the most with the architectural stuff, I just enjoy seeing the spirit of a city.

A lot of my stuff happens at night, it happens because when you’re walking around [during the day] it’s easier to get distracted or angered by whatever, the guy bumping into you or a car cutting you off or whatever else.

At night you get to walk around and you get to see the buildings, feel the energy, see how things kind of move in the city and I think when you take the living things out of the city and just look at the buildings and how things are arranged and everything you get more of a feel for it.

I find a lot of solitude in an empty city, there’s something weird about it but I just enjoy being there.

lh-love-never-saved-anything-piece-1 Logan Hicks

DW: Is this your first time in Dubai? Have you seen any local work?

LH: Yeah, been here for almost 72 hours! Unfortunately not, I kind of came here and met with my host and stuff and then essentially wandered around at night looking at the city, I was out last night till 3 o’clock in the morning.

I did go over and visit a local artist eL Seed who I’ve met before, painted with him in Tunisia and Miami, I knew he was from the Middle East but I actually didn’t know where and came to find out his studio’s here in Dubai; that was awesome being able to catch up with him.

DW: Do you prefer working in the studio or street?

LH: I don’t really care, a little of both. If I had too much of one, I’d want the other I guess. The street art provides this kind of democratic form of viewing, you get to put it out and the guys who just finished laying bricks sees alongside his curator for museum of modern art and I like that.

Good art should be universal, it should be something that’s allowed to be seen and applied to everyone.

Gallery work I enjoy because I can get more detailed, I can spend more time with it, I can render it closer to what the idea is in my head.

Yeah, of course the downside is when you’re putting art in a gallery you’re putting it in an environment where people are coming in and expecting to see art, and therefore your audience is a bit limited in terms of the range of reactions that they’ll have. I enjoy both.

DW: What’s next after Dubai?

LH: Well I’m doing the photoshoot and I come back sometime the first part of next year to paint the mural.

Past that, I’m working on a couple shows next year and trying to work to get back in the studio like you said about the mural vs studio work.

This year was the year of murals, I did a 70×20 and a 40×20 foot mural, I’ll probably end up doing another, I think the one here is closer to 70×10 feet (21 metres by three metres).

After that I’m looking forward to spending more time in New York in my studio, painting some paintings based on the travels I’ve been doing this year.

DW: Alright then, thank you very much for taking the time out of your day to speak to us and hope you enjoy the rest of your stay in Dubai!

LH: Thanks for having me, I appreciate it and I certainly will.

 

Words by Thomas Di Rosa

 

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