Interview: Jonathan Michael Hicks
His latest charcoal drawings on Bible pages (oh, the blasphemy!) caught my eye one day while scrolling through G+ posts. They, like so much of Hicks’ other works, are loaded and charged with historical references…
D&B: Land/place/location seems to be a recurrent theme in your work. Tell us where you are from and how this physical place of origin has influenced your work.
|From the series Take Care by Jonathan Michael Hicks|
Your website intentionally breaks standard web interface design rules. What’s your philosophy behind displaying your work online?
I don’t understand why so many artists think of violence as sexy or attention grabbing. I use violent objects, like bullets, as more tools to teach than provocative objects. On my website, the bullets are actually designed penis shapes and sleeping bags turned to look like they’re bullets floating in space.
|Bible drawings by Jonathan Michael Hicks (2013)|
I’m fascinated by celebrity and with ideas of the transformation of the handmade mark. I find combinations of both to be overwhelmingly interesting… Almost like pairing a Jean-Michel Basquiat and Andy Warhol painting.
The message of some artworks can sometimes fall on deaf ears. What audience(s) do you most want to be in conversation with?
I disagree. Recently, I’ve participated in a group photography show “Photography Open Salon” in Arles, France. New audiences took well to the pieces displayed, provocative by artist standards.
But usually audiences are so short lived when it comes to conversations… so I don’t worry about the deaf… just the artistically blind audiences. I love stirring them and I live for the feel of simply making a new piece. I feel if the work is good then it always comes around at some point. At least that’s what happen for Bill Traylor, another Alabama native.
|Four images from the series Nude Participation by Jonathan Michael Hicks|
I love that I’ve worked with so many different artists. I mean who can argue with an artist with training from three MFA programs, two of which that are always in the top 20 art programs, and one that sums them all up cost efficiently while sacrificing nothing artistically.
Dodge & Burn is a blog dedicated to documenting a more inclusive history of photography and supporting the work of photographers of color with photographer interviews.
This blog is published by visual artist and writer, Qiana Mestrich. For regular updates on diversity in photography history, follow Qiana on Twitter @mestrich, Like the Dodge & Burn Blog page on Facebook or subscribe to Dodge & Burn by email.
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