Logan Hicks is a prolific stencil artist who calls New York home. His large scale murals are of gritty urban scenes, but layered with glowing, pulsing colors that make them look like living organisms. The eerie photorealistic quality makes film noir of them, with secrets hiding under every rain slicked street lamp.
The Brooklyn-based artist had been creating murals in the Wynwood district since 2006 for Primary Flight, an initiative that shared a similar artistic concept in its placement of outdoor murals around the neighborhood for everyone to enjoy. Logan’s chance to contribute to the newly created Wynwood Walls in 2009 was timely as it marked the beginning of a new direction and body of work for him.
Unlike color block muralists like Shepard Fairey, Hicks uses multiple stencils and often several fine mists of color spray on each stencil. Any stencil he creates is based on a photo that he’s taken, and for the Wynwood mural called “Lemon Vodka and Churros” Logan was inspired by his experience of wandering around the city between one and four o’clock in the morning taking hundreds of photos ”that peaceful quiet time that’s so rare in a city like New York.” It’s also a love story.
The nightscape Logan masterfully created for the Wynwood Walls has multiple layers and is more intricate than other work he has done. All the stencils made for the 40- by 7-foot wall needed to be cut in advance, and during the intense production, Logan remembers having new stencils sent overnight from his studio in New York just as he was finishing one of the seven layers that finally comprised the piece.
“Much of my work is based on the urban landscape and how people relate to their environment,” Hicks says via email from Paris. “The piece for the Wynwood Walls is a love story of sorts. The title “Lemon Vodka and Churros” is from a song by a band called Man Man. The song is one that my (now) girlfriend listed to frequently in the beginning of our relationship and it brings me good memories when I listen to it. The woman in the mural is my girlfriend. And although you cannot really see me, I am in the mural too. I am in the middle, the silhouette that is inside the sky bridge – that’s me! I knew my girlfriend for years before we officially got together, but I was always observing from a distance for years. One day we had a reason to get together to discuss business and it turned into a relationship and we have been together since. So that mural depicts the moment before we ‘met again’.”
Logan Hicks and Tony Goldman
“I’ve known of Tony Goldman (founder of Wnwood Walls) for years,” Hicks continues. “When you think of SoHo in New York and what it is; a lot of that is attributed to Tony. Doing Wynwood was amazing because who knows where it will be in fifty years from now. You would like to think you’re at the beginning of something that’s going to grow into something larger than the sum of the parts. That’s what people look to for the indicators of where something is happening or where there is culture.”
Asked how he created his technique Hicks says “I owned a screen printing business in Baltimore for years. In 1999 I moved to California to be closer to the art I felt a part of so I put everything in storage and moved without any real plan. Got to Cali and because I didn’t have my screen printing press I didn’t really have any way of making the art that I had been making. I started stenciling because it’s similar to screenwriting. I like to think of stencils as the poor mans screen print because you can make it with relatively little supplies. Eventually I got my screen printing press to California but by then I had fallen in love with the stencil process and I’ve stuck with it her since!”
Goldman Global Arts at Hard Rock Stadium
Hicks also has a large piece for Goldman Global Arts at Hard Rock Stadium, it’s an interesting take on an architectural work in an unusual architectural setting. The mural arches over a huge doorway.
Hicks says the stadium mural was a great experience exposing people to art that wouldn’t traditionally go to see a mural at Wynwood. “For me good art should be universal and supported by a wide range of people, not just limited to the traditional gallery goers. So for the Hard Rock Stadium I tried to do a piece that simply celebrated the Miami skyline in a way that was in line with my ethos for making art. Whether or not it has shed light on art for those who go to football games remains to be seen, but art should be integrated into life, not just limited to being a commodity to those who have money to burn.”
Hicks has more projects lined up. He has begun working with the Open Space Gallery in Paris, as well as the Wanrooij gallery in Amsterdam. He will continue to focus on that in the future, as well as the Taglialatella Gallery in NY and Station 16 in Montreal. Aside from that though he has two murals that will be completed before the end of the year. One at Asbury Park that was organized by the Parlor Gallery and one gallery in the Lower East Side at a location that I can’t divulge just yet.
Brooklyn-based artist, Logan Hicks, has been creating murals in the Wynwood district since 2006. His mural at Wynwood Walls in 2009 marked a new direction.