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Brooklyn Street Art

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Logan Hicks Creates “Sailor” His Largest Stencil Piece Ever

Posted on November 23, 2009

“The Workhorse” gallops through Brooklyn and Sets Another Record

Stencil artist Logan Hicks completed his largest stencil to date today on the streets of Brooklyn. Then he posed for a few photos and ran off to his next art gig.

Logan Hicks
Logan Hicks (photo Jaime Rojo)

As he goes he leaves in his wake a 30′ x 8′ mural dedicated to somebody that keeps Logan’s horse power pumping at full speed, titled simply “Sailor”.

Fresh from his trip to Toronto for a show with another modern stencil master C215 and just before heading to Miami for Primary Flight to do the world’s largest site-specific street level mural with artists like D*Face, Shepard Fairey, Chris Stain, and the London Police, Logan Hicks gave his biggest present to his current hometown of Brooklyn and to his family.

Logan Hicks
Logan Hicks (photo Jaime Rojo)

Moving away from subject matter involving city canyons, tunnels and teaming crowds that he has been closely identified with over the last couple of years, Hicks has been feeling lately like it is time for him to concentrate on the stuff that really matters to him. Family, art, sanity.

Logan Hicks
Logan Hicks (photo Jaime Rojo)

The 5-layered piece required about 150 stencil plates to execute, and we watched what a logistical bad dream can ensue just laying out all the pieces on the sidewalk and following the plan.  Not to mention how wind can whip those well placed plates down the sidewalk toward the East River.

Logan Hicks
Logan Hicks (photo Jaime Rojo)

Curated by Brooklyn Street Art for Espeis Outside, this mural is a hot blast of Logan Red to take us through the impending winter holidays and into the new year.  Not that the burly plain-talking-force-of-nature stencil master has any plans for 2010.

Unless you count the shows he’s scheduled to do in Hong Kong, Paris, Gambia, London, Rome, Vienna, Miami and of course The People’s Republic of Brooklyn (at the Opera Gallery).

“Next year is going to be a little nuts. So basically I am not going to sleep until 2011. I keep telling myself that this is the life that I asked for. The stress gets to be a little much, but I think I secretly like it.”

Logan Hicks
Logan is pretty psyched to be working in what he calls “vector-based” stenciling, and his process is quite complex, even when planning a portrait of a boy with a toy train (photo Jaime Roj0)

Brooklyn-Street-Art-Logan-3

Logan Hicks

Adding a layer, Logan Hicks (photo Jaime Rojo)

Brooklyn Street Art was really happy to hang out with hard-charging but surprisingly somewhat normal Hicks for a couple days this weekend, even helping out with a paint brush once in a while. The sun was pretty bright although it’s duration brief, and the wind did keep everybody humble – but the continuous racket of skateboarders in this industrial neighborhood kept the pace of work lively.  Below is an interview where Logan let’s us know what the story is behind the piece he debuted here.

Logan Hicks
Yep, Brooklyn is part of the Empire State. (photo Jaime Rojo)

Brooklyn Street Art: Your earlier subject matter tended toward architecture and large anonymous crowds on the street.  More recently you have become more personal in your work. Where did you get the inspiration for this piece?
Logan Hicks:
My son – Sailor Hicks, and watching him grow. The funny thing about time is that you don’t realize how fast it is passing until you have a kid to remind you. Each day my son grows, and although I love watching him sprout up, it reminds me of how quickly time is passing. Because I communicate with so many friends through email, I don’t normally realize that so many months have gone by when I see them in the flesh. Now though, when I see someone, I can take note “I haven’t seen you since Sailor started walking” or “I haven’t seen you since he started talking”.  It really punctuates how quickly things go by.

Logan Hicks
Logan Hicks putting the black frame on to finish the piece (photo Jaime Rojo)

So watching him, it has made me reflect on my life. Made me thing about how much I am changing. Not so much in the physical aspect, but mentally. Striving to refine my craft. Striving to sustain stability. Striving to be a good parent. All this makes me want to be a better person. I look at myself 6 years ago, and I don’t even recognize that guy any more. So with this mural, I just think of it as a quick snapshot of my life. It give me a chance to pause and appreciate my life as it exists now.

Logan Hicks
Father and son. (photo Jaime Rojo)

Brooklyn Street Art: Does Sailor know he’s going to be immortalized?
Logan Hicks:
No, but I don’t think he’s too pressed to take note of anything other than trains, letters, toys, and cars. I wouldn’t have it any other way. One of my reasons for doing this piece is because of an early conversation I had with C215. When I first met C215 I noticed that he kept doing a stencil of this one girl. I asked him who it was and why he kept doing stencils of her. His response floored me. He said that it was his daughter. He didn’t have full custody of his daughter and didn’t get to see her as often as he would like. He said he did at least one stencil a week of her because he didn’t want her to ever think that he forgets about her. That punched a hole in my heart. It was the most brutally honest comment that he could have said. I was amazed that he opened his life up so quickly and said something that was so personal. I guess for me I have always been a bit guarded. The older I get though, the more I realize that I’d be better if i shared more, instead of trying to protect it.

Logan Hicks
Logan Hicks with the original illustration he did taped to the mural (photo Jaime Rojo)

Brooklyn Street Art: How can an artist put something so personal out in the public?
Logan Hicks:
How can an artist NOT put something that is personal? For so long I feel like I have been striving to hone the craft of using stencils. I have worked on the technical side of things and I feel like in the past year or two I have, for the most part, conquered that. So now the question becomes, not how you make it, but what you make with it. For me. I feel like I have started back at square one. I have started to speak about what is most personal to me. I am tired of trying to be witty or technical or vague.

I am trying to filter out all the background noise in my life and make my art. All the haters, all the fans, all the blogs or magazines, or other artists. I think it’s gotten to a point where the best thing that I can do is just retreat into myself and speak honestly about what I am going through. For so long I have worked to gather information. Information about galleries, artists, processes, blogs, magazines, curators, etc. Lately I realized though that none of it matters. The only thing that matters is the here and now. The only thing that matters is what I am going through.

Brooklyn Street Art: How many layers are involved in this stencil?
Logan Hicks:
There are 7 colors, but only 5 layers of stencils.

Brooklyn Street Art: What are some of your goals as an artist who works on the street sometimes?
Logan Hicks:
Just to do a good job

Brooklyn-Street-Art-Logan-2

Logan Hicks
Logan Hicks (photo Jaime Rojo)

Brooklyn Street Art: Does Sailor know he’s going to be immortalized?
Logan Hicks:
No, but I don’t think he’s too pressed to take note of anything other than trains, letters, toys, and cars. I wouldn’t have it any other way. One of my reasons for doing this piece is because of an early conversation I had with C215. When I first met C215 I noticed that he kept doing a stencil of this one girl. I asked him who it was and why he kept doing stencils of her. His response floored me. He said that it was his daughter. He didn’t have full custody of his daughter and didn’t get to see her as often as he would like. He said he did at least one stencil a week of her because he didn’t want her to ever think that he forgets about her. That punched a hole in my heart. It was the most brutally honest comment that he could have said. I was amazed that he opened his life up so quickly and said something that was so personal. I guess for me I have always been a bit guarded. The older I get though, the more I realize that I’d be better if I shared more, instead of trying to protect it.

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It’s an artist’s tradition to use their own life for inspiration. (photo Logan Hicks)

Brooklyn-Street-Art-Logan-H

Brooklyn Street Art: How can an artist put something so personal out in the public?
Logan Hicks:
How can an artist NOT put something that is personal? For so long I feel like I have been striving to hone the craft of using stencils. I have worked on the technical side of things and I feel like in the past year or two I have, for the most part, conquered that. So now the question becomes, not how you make it, but what you make with it. For me. I feel like I have started back at square one. I have started to speak about what is most personal to me. I am tired of trying to be witty or technical or vague.

I am trying to filter out all the background noise in my life and make my art. All the haters, all the fans, all the blogs or magazines, or other artists. I think it’s gotten to a point where the best thing that I can do is just retreat into myself and speak honestly about what I am going through. For so long I have worked to gather information. Information about galleries, artists, processes, blogs, magazines, curators, etc. Lately i realized though that none of it matters. The only thing that matters is the here and now. The only thing that matters is what I am going through.

Logan Hicks
Writing the dedication (photo Jaime Rojo)

Brooklyn Street Art: How many layers are involved in this stencil?
Logan Hicks:
There are 7 colors, but only 5 layers of stencils.

Brooklyn Street Art: What are some of your goals as an artist who works on the street sometimes?
Logan Hicks:
Just to do a good job

Logan Hicks
“Sailor”, by Logan Hicks  (photo Jaime Rojo)

Brooklyn Street Art: How important is risk-taking in art?
Logan Hicks:
Guess it depends on how you define risk. For me I just want to feel like i have accomplished something. I want to feel that i have done a service to my craft. to my trade. I want to feel that I have spoken honestly about my work, and done the best that i can. One of my favorite quotes is by Paul Rand, who designed the logos for companies like IBM, ABC, UPS, Westinghouse even Enron.  He said “Don’t try to be original. Just try to be good.” That’s a motto that I have sort of lived by. I just try to do a good job. If that means that there is risk involved, so be it, but I don’t search out risk. It’s the sort of thing that you drive by on your way to the final destination.

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Check out the time-lapse we did with Mr. Hicks – and at the end you’ll see the Sailor himself in action with his train.