Clay Hickson is a printmaker and illustrator living in Montreal, Canada. He received his BFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 2010.
How did your interest in art begin? My interest in art began with my parents. My father was an airbrush illustrator in the 70’s and 80’s and my mother is an art therapist. But it wasn’t until high school, when my older brother introduced me to graffiti, that I took a real interest in art.
If you had to explain your work to a stranger, what would you say? I usually start with something like, “Oh jeez… I don’t know…” Then if the person is still looking at me expectantly, I say something like, “I draw pictures of wacky stuff like smiling fruits and floating shapes.” Then I change the subject. I’ve never been very good at explaining art.
What materials do you use in your work and what is your process like? I work mostly with a pencil and almost exclusively on paper. My process is simple: I draw in my sketchbook everyday, and when I draw something that I find particularly striking, I draw it again on big, nice paper. Sometimes I turn it into a screen print.
What kinds of things are influencing your work right now? The Memphis Group, Ancient Greek mythology, Bauhaus, hippies.
What do you want a viewer to walk away with after seeing your work? A good laugh.
What are you really excited about right now? Papier mâché. I’m looking forward to getting more 3-dimensional.
What are some recent, upcoming or current projects you are working on? At the moment I’m working on starting up a small publishing company, Tan & Loose Press, which should be up and running in the next month or so. I also have a couple of collaborative zines in the works as well as a series of posters.
What artists are you interested in right now? Michael Willis, Jiro Bevis, and Tim Lahan are my current favorites. And I’ll always have a special place for Courtney Reagor.
What’s your favorite thing about Montreal? The Poutine at Double A Diner and “The Creation” sandwich at The Famous Cosmos.
Top 3 favorite or most visited websites and why?
1. Reference Library because Andy Beach has the best taste on the internet.
2. Panther Club because they’re publishing the coolest stuff.
3. Craigslist because I am a scavenger of cheap and free things.
What’s your absolute favorite place to be? The Field Museum, Chicago. Most magical place on Earth.
What do you do when you’re not working on art? I like riding my bike and figuring out new ways to sneak into movies. I also spend a lot of time at the library (second most favorite place in the world).