Logan Hicks Talks "Thin Veils and Heavy Anchors"
Wed, 06 Mar 2013 09:07:49
"It keeps me busy and out of trouble," Logan Hicks says of his art.
There's a certain catharsis that comes along with that as well. The stencil pieces that Hicks creates brandish brilliant form and execution, but there's a distinct human element that's undeniably palpable. His new LACE exhibit Thin Veils And Heavy Anchors [March 8-10] in Los Angeles remains both groundbreaking and unforgettable. Get ready to enter his world.
In this exclusive interview with ARTISTdirect.com editor in chief Rick Florino, Logan Hicks talks Thin Veils And Heavy Anchors, music, and so much more.
Your pieces have a mechanical element as far as the stenciling goes. At the same time, there's emotional intricacy and humanity.
I come from a pretty blue-collar background. Conceptual and performance art never really appealed to me. There has to be some sort of craftsmanship, time, and thought put into it. Overcoming the technical hurdle and then saying something creative has always been my approach. I was a screen printer for years. I was screen printing boring t-shirts and stickers. I like the craftsmanship that goes along with it though. Once I segued into doing my own pieces, that work ethic carried over. For me, you always need something to push against. The technique is what I was pushing against. You trying to refine, hone, tune, and master the technique to get what's in your head out on to the canvas. That's how I came to do the technique I have.
The construction is very human as well since you're working with your hands.
I'd like to think so. When you're sitting there and spending two weeks on a piece, you can't help but let some of yourself go into that. For me, the most powerful work is when technique and emotion merge and come out. On the other hand, I don't know any other way. It's what happens. It's not like I sat down and decided to do this. Looking at my personality, the way I approach art isn't the way I approach other things.
What ties together all of the pieces at the LACE exhibit Thin Veils And Heavy Anchors?
Without being overly specific, it's the human condition and wanderlust people have in terms of trying to find their place in the world—whether it's a physical place of relocating somewhere or not. Or, it could be the person for you and job for you. In my previous work, most everything was void of any figures, characters, or anything like that. It was these desolate urban landscapes at night that had this moody feel. As my work has progressed, I've started incorporating people into it more. It's gone being this reflective approach to art to a narrative approach to art. It's the idea of the struggle in all of these pieces. You're aligning yourself with the world, so to speak.
There's a sense of alienation that comes across.
I don't want to make it sound like I had a terrible childhood, but I didn't wear youth well. Growing up and moving around, I've always felt like a bit of an outsider. When you look at a lot of the work I do, it's produced from a voyeuristic standpoint of standing afar and noticing all of these things. That was how I felt growing up. I went through a lot. My teenage years were suicidal and gothic-y. Looking back now, it's humorous how small my problems actually were. When you're going through it, it's the difference between life and death. Growing up, I've always appreciated what I have and what I've become. I've worked hard to hone the person I've become. The work reflects that. Somewhere along the way, I realized I had a voice. I'm not just vocal, but I'm fairly aggressive for a lot of things. As far as conversation goes, I have no problem speaking my mind or saying what I think or what I want to do. When I arrive at the studio and start making art, it tends to be a much more reflective thing. My personality and my mind are two separate things. The byproduct is the work on the walls.
Do you listen to music while you're making art?
I do. I'm not a genre-based guy. It's everything from jazz to hip-hop. I'm not much of a TV guy. I'm not much of a silence guy so there's some sound in the background. Almost every piece has some music attached to it. Lately, I've been listening to Action Bronson quite a bit. You wouldn't notice it by looking at the art. I've also been listening to a decent amount of dubstep which is irritating in large doses but interesting in small [Laughs].
Is there one piece you're particularly excited for people to see?
Well, stencils are a relatively crude thing. You cut a hole in a piece of paper and you spray paint through it. At the root of it, that's all you're doing. You refine it to a point where you can transcend the medium so someone doesn't look at it and go, "Oh, that's a stencil". A couple years ago, I realized I got it after a decade of doing it. The technical challenge of making the work is no longer I challenge. Over the years, as I started crossing one hurdle, I'd make the pieces bigger and more complex with more details and layers. For this show, I realized I don't need to go that way. It's no longer a matter of I can speak the language that I want, it's a matter of what you're saying when you speak the language. I've dialed back things a little bit. It's more of a simplistic approach with real clean lines and two-color patterns with figures in them. It's like the difference between writing novels and haikus. The work I'm doing now is distilled to the essence of what it is. I'm working with quite a bit of patterns. That's partly where the title Thin Veils comes from. I'm using those as metaphors as opposed to being so literal.
How does the shower differ?
I'm moving away from the gallery structure and the preset idea of how you show, sell, and talk about art. At the end of last year, I had a few experiences I wasn't thrilled with. I approached Pat Magnarella and said, "I need to get out of this mold and fish stream where everyone is doing the same thing at the same time". He said, "Let's do it!" I feel like this show is the beginning of the next chapter. I don't know how the hell it ends, but this is the beginning of it.
Will you be going to Thin Veils And Heavy Anchors?