Zoom on the creative process of Logan Hicks

Can you remind us who you are and your artistic practice?

I am Logan Hicks, a stencil painter based in New York City. I am also a photographer.

What is your background, how did you start creating?

I went to the Maryland Institute of Art in Baltimore to study classical art, when I graduated I started a screen printing business specializing in textiles. It was boring work but I loved the process and enjoyed working for myself, so I returned to my artwork, but this time using screen printing as my medium. I focused on using an industrial production method to make my work. I tried stencils in 1999 and realized it was the perfect medium for me. It was a similar process to screen printing, but it allowed me to control more variables. From that point on, I used stencils exclusively.

In your daily work as an artist, what inspires you? What triggers you to create a piece?

My environment inspires me. Normally it’s related to the travel I do, but 2020 has changed that dynamic a bit and I’m exploring my city, New York, more and more.

I love finding the quiet corners of a city. The places where you can find harmony. Where you can find beauty. I like to show how people react to this environment that they themselves have created. I see the city as a man-made organism that has its own life. It grows, breathes and lives with its own uniqueness. My work tries to capture that.

Can you explain to us how you build a work? What are the different stages of creation?

There are 4 steps in my work. The first step is to take a reference photo of the place I want to paint. This involves traveling to different countries, exploring places, visiting new places.

The second step is to idealize the photo and work with it until it becomes the final image I want to paint. This is a rather boring part, a lot of time spent in front of the computer to transform the photo into an image similar to the final painting.

The third step is to create the stencils I need to make the painting. This is a time consuming process that requires absolute precision. A mistake on one stencil can sabotage the entire piece.

The fourth step is to spray the stencils to make the painting. This is the fun part. This is where I make the decisions on how to layer the colors, emphasize specific areas of the composition, determine the weight of the paint, etc. It is this stage that I enjoy the most.

With my work, I enjoy the mix between the technical side (working on the computer and making the stencils) and the creative side (taking the pictures and spraying them). I see my work as a yin and yang collaboration. These two different approaches make the work stronger.