As we open our Herlad Square, NYC Store, Dr. Martens teamed up with contemporary urban artist Logan Hicks to create an exciting new mural. We caught up with him to hear more about his creative process, and relationship with Doc’s…
How did you come up with the concept for this mural?
The mural was inspired by the Bowery Wall which I painted last year, which showed dozens of people who have touched my life over my ten years in New York City, interacting on one of my favorite streets – Greene Street in Soho. For this piece, I wanted to show the beauty of the architecture of Herald Square that is often missed because it is a hectic commuter area. Usually people are too busy looking at the back of someones head or making sure they don’t get ran over by the cars in the intersection. The concept of the mural was simply to show the fabric of the New York city life and how people interact within it.
You photographed people on the street to use as models for this mural, what do you look for when you’re shooting? How do you decide who makes it into the mural?
I look for interesting faces primarily. I actually take thousands of pictures and go through them and just look for the people that have a relaxed stance, and an interesting face. I also look for faces that represent the diversity of New York – different ages, ethnicities, height, style, etc. What I don’t like is when people are staring directly into the camera or those who seem to be overly aware that I’m taking their photo for a future mural, although it’s planned, I like to keep it as natural as possible.
You’ve made some very large murals. Did you always work on such a large scale?
Occasionally I work large, but it’s not my primary size. Usually, I work in the studio where I can take my time a bit more and control the spray-paint easier. But it’s fun working larger. The larger you begin to work, the more realistic it becomes. It starts to feel like you can walk into the painting and that’s a fun place to be in terms of producing artwork.
How does an artist transition from sketchbooks to walls?
For me it was not a traditional transition. I arrived at the place I am now starting with my youth. I lived on a farm and drew constantly. After high school, I went to art school in Baltimore (MICA) and got a degree in general fine arts. But even though I loved art I didn’t care much for the art scene at the time, so I took a break and started my own screen printing company doing T-shirts for companies. It was mindless work but I was working for myself. Later I got the itch to start with my own art so I used the medium that was available to me – screen printing. I screen printed posters for years then moved to California and began to use stencils because I did not have my screen printing equipment any longer. Stencilling is like a poor mans screen print. I was so happy with the results of stencilling that I continued to stick with it even after I did purchase new equipment. As I continued to pursue my career the paintings got larger and larger until they eventually became wall size.
What’s your favourite thing about New York City?
First is the history. Second, is the size. NYC is a place where you can still wander around and get lost, a place where you can always see something new. But to think of it’s history you are living in a place that gave birth to hip hop and graffiti, a place is teeming with creativity and diversity. NYC is just a large organism teaming with life and activity.
Do you remember your first pair of Dr. Martens?
I grew up as a punk rocker in the 80’s and 90’s. Many of my memories were of going to show at the first 9:30 club in Washington DC where Doc’s were the uniform of the patrons. I don’t recall my first pair. Time makes memories fuzzy. I just remember they were one of those things that you used to identify like minded people. It was a way of knowing who was similar to you.