Art News

Meet The Others: Leanna Hicks

The Game Changers. The Rule Breakers. The Innovators. Discover some of the fantastic emerging talent showcasing their work at The Other Art Fair.

Meet Detroit based artist Leanna Hicks,  whose paintings are a spinning tangling collage of  politics and the personal, with recognizable motifs creating unrecognizable landscapes. We asked Leanna about her cryptic titles and how her intergalactic paintings come to fruition.

Her Mystery School, Leanna Hicks

Can you tell us a bit about your process and how your paintings come to fruition?

My paintings are intuitive . I don’t sketch and I’m always working on more than one. Typically they are fueled by intense feelings of anguish or elation. I value trusting myself enough to not plan a painting – but to dance between following and leading a painting .

Your paintings all have really interesting titles, can you tell us a bit more about how you choose these and at what stage in your process?

I am constantly making lists of phrases or words that hit me in my gut . Occasionally quantum physics delivers the perfect poetry . Or an Agnes Martin interview. Or a Joan Didion documentary . I journal everyday as well- and once in a blue moon I will record something worth regeneration . The completed painting picks the title . It feels too much like a rule that needs to be broken if I let the title determine the piece . Sometimes I know pretty quickly like half way through the painting , sometimes I glare at a finished piece For days until it’s ready to spill its name.

The completed painting picks the title . It feels too much like a rule that needs to be broken if I let the title determine the piece .

Who are some of your favorite artists?

I love outsider artists and occult artists. Minnie Evans , Adolph Wölfli, Hilma af Klint, Lee Godie, William Hawkins. I’ve always had a crush on Nan Goldin’s visions – something about her feels very kindred .

You’ve lived in several different cities across the US, how have these places inspired you and influenced your work?

I grew up in South Louisiana.  A culture of dancing, live music, and Alcohol/drug induced mishaps, while keeping up appearances ushered me quickly into adulthood. I spent 10 years in Memphis Tn another big music town. I’d like to think my paintings are deep in mood and have good rhythm – like my favorite songs . I currently reside in Detroit. The artists here are authentic and inclusive. I think it’s about where you live AND how you live . I’ve never been shy about taking risks or speaking my mind. Big risks = big rewards . And that’s how I paint.

What are you inspired by at the moment?

 My main inspiration at the moment is reconciling with the state of affairs . Painting is the most gentle “space” I have left and helps me maintain pockets of freedom within the inevitable emotional , social , political bondage that comes with being a human .
The Suffering Vehicle, Leanna Hicks

How have you been staying creative in quarantine?

I never seem to run out of feelings or issues so it’s been pretty easy to stay creative

Introducing The Other Art Fair Online Studios, a new online platform offering art lovers around the world access to over 800 Fair artists. The Online Studios will keep our community feeling inspired, engaged, and continue to spread joy through art.