Roaming through the social media channels a little over a year ago, I randomly stumbled upon some beautiful art of a hotrod and an old truck racing down a dirt road. I immediately clicked on the profile of Anthony Hicks to check out more. As I dug deeper and deeper into his profile, I fell absolutely in love with getting lost within the images that were in front of my eyes. It felt almost as David Mann was resurrected and making new imagery again but with bolder and edgier beauty. With bitchin' choppers, amazing cars, naked babes, and beautiful sceneries all packed into intricately detailed pieces of work; it makes you wish you were right there in the moment. Anthony really knows how to put the soul of motorcycles, hot rods, and life into a canvas. When I asked Anthony to showcase some of his work at this year's Fuel Cleveland, he immediately got back to me with the most humble yes. Not only is the dude extremely talented but he's down to earth and real as they come...
The other night I got a chance to ask Anthony a handful of questions and this is what came of it, enjoy.
Tell us a little about yourself.
A: Shit... this is the part where I'm suppose to make myself sound fucking radder than I really am. Some would say I'm a artist, but I hate that fucking word (artist). That term use to mean something back in the day and now it just means your unemployed or something. But anyway, I have a love hate relationship with painting hot rods, motorcycles and naked chicks. Ever since I was a kid I've been fascinated by machines with wheels and I guess I never really out grew that state of mind. I build mainly traditional styled hot rods and customs and the occasional chopper in my spare time. But the main thing I do that people know is my paintings. I'm a country boy who lives out in the middle of no where with my fine as fuck wife, who's way outta my league, and my pit bull named Demon.
What was your favorite thing to do when you were a teenager?
A: Well my favorite thing to do when I was a teenager was ride my BMX bike and steal Deftones albums from the record stores. Everything else I'll plead the 5th on.
Who or what got you into painting?
A: I've always been into art but I didn't really get serious about it till I saw some of Tom Fritz paintings and David Mann paintings. Then shortly after that I saw Keith Weesners paintings and my fucking head about blew off my shoulders cause it was so cool. So I figured I could try and ride all these dudes coat tails and paint the things I love like cars and bikes like they did. But as years went past my shit started taking a life of its own because i stopped painting things I thought people would love and buy, and focused on painting the things I really loved and thought was cool with a fuck everyone else attitude. Then when I did that the shit blew up in my face cause more people ended up liking the raw raunchy paintings that I was into and not the safe match the couch shit I thought I should be painting.
When did you get hooked into the custom car and motorcycle scene?
A: Man I got hooked on custom cars and bikes the first time I saw Jesse James's 54 Chevy way back in the day as a kid! Then I saw his first motorcycle mania shows on discovery channel and was like "that mother fuckers speakin' my language with hot rods and bikes and strippers and shit"! Some guys my age will play that fucking cool card and give you some sexy answer and pretend Jesse James didn't fuck peoples world up but I'm a no body with nothing to gain, and no one to lie to, nor impress. And after that, I dove head first into the scene learning as much as I could from my grandpa and all the old timers that hung around his shop.
Do you stick to painting or are there other mediums of art that you dabble in?
A: Not really man, I kinda just stick to whats most comfortable that I know I can do pretty well which is painting. I cant sculpt bikes and cars and chicks getting banged all in one scene. And truth be told, If it ain't got tits or tires on it then I ain't interested in it.
Your stuff is so intricate and detailed, where do you find the patience and time to complete a piece, and how long does it usually take to complete a piece?
A: This is where the love hate relationship thing kicks in on these paintings... So I've said many times to people that my favorite part of painting is starting the mother fucker and finishing the mother fucker, all that shit in between is an all out war. Where do I find the patience? I honestly don't know. I think it maybe the personal challenge of cramming in as much information as I can from my thought process and the thought of trying to one up other painters. I think the truth lies somewhere between those two things. It usually takes me about 3 months or so to complete a painting largely due to the fact I have to much shit going on at one time, like chopping tops on cars or pinstriping someones chopper tank or just feeling lazy and unmotivated to do anything creative. These paintings drain the shit out of me so sometimes I have to get my motivation back either through movies or looking at other art or when people say nice things about my shit. All of those are what keeps me coming back for more.
What are your favorite subjects to focus on?
A: I wish I had a sexy answer for this question to but I don't. I just like to paint old cars and old bikes with some cool dudes doing some cool shit. Then I like to sprinkle in some hot chicks doing nasty shit for flavor. Thats really the recipe. Nothing ground breaking and thought provoking... just the same shit the cave men painted on walls since the dawn of man but adding gasoline and tires to it.
But now that I think about it I really enjoy doing the landscapes behind the scenes. I guess there's something just calming about it to me.
Do you work of off pictures or things you see in your mind?
A: Yeah, I use a lot of reference material like most artist do. I don't know how to paint Panheads from the top of my head or remember exactly every line on a '32 for coupe or anything so I definitely have to use pictures and stuff for that. I can paint asses from my head though!
What other hobbies or things your are into that some people may not know about you?
A: As a kid I was really into flatland BMX. And I still love it today even though I don't hardly ride anymore. Other than that I think I'm a pretty easy read cause I flaunt everything I'm into on social media.
Who or what inspires you and your work?
A: Besides the artist I've mentioned before my friends really inspire me. I have a great group of dudes that are funny as hell and live life not giving a fuck.
If you could only have one motorcycle for the rest of your life what would it be?
A: I'm really into early board track racers so if I could have one bike it would be a 1915 Flying Merkel twin.
Is there a place in the world you have to see before you die?
A: There's tons of places I'd like to go and see but I don"t think I can narrow down a single place cause they all have there own pieces of coolness. But if I had to pic I would wanna go to Hawaii with my wife and tour that place for a few weeks.
What is your all time favorite artist?
Are you a Super Nintendo or Sega Genesis kinda guy?
A: I've never been a video game guy. I can't sit still that long. I grew up in the country so I come from the bicycle, skateboard, and tree fort era.
Do you live by any codes or life mottos?
A: Yep. I always tell people that I live my life like a car crossing the finish line upside down, on fire, in reverse.
Anyone you would like to give a shout out to or thank?
A: Yeah, I'd like to give a shout out to my wife for having my back no matter if I'm wrong or not and all my friends and family for supporting everything I've done and always being my first customers to buy my shit. And thank you to all the people who have bought my prints and shirts over the years. Ya'll are the biggest reason I do this and continue to sit down in front of my paintings. Thank you!
Make sure to check out Anthony's work on display at this year's Fuel Cleveland on July 29th, and if you see him roaming around the show, be sure to say hi.