Jesse Hickman

I was born, schooled and began my career in Chicago. In the late 70’s, I dropped out of photo studies at the Institute of Design in Chicago, and began showing photo works at Young-Hoffman Gallery, MCA, Walker Art Center and other galleries. In the late 80’s I began showing large scale, shaped, abstract (self taught) paintings at Klein Artworks, Chicago, The Bemis Foundation, Rose Art Museum, Renaissance Society, Chicago Cultural Center, and received the first of two Pollock-Krasner Foundation Grants for this work. Following that I primarily focused on sculpture for a decade or so. I have returned to abstract paintings, mostly made on used paper coffee bags and sunflower seed bags.

“I am most successful on the days that I trust my intuition, I don't overthink while working, and I step out of my own way.

What started some years ago, cutting apart my empty coffee bags, priming, and using them as drawing paper for three dimensional works, has become my primary focus as works unto their own. In them, I examine issues from my past, goals for my future, and mostly where I am on a given day.

Growing up, educated and starting my career in Chicago, the influence of Outsider Artists has from my start, been a part of my thinking and making. Using "found objects" (my used paper coffee bags) as my ground, and materials like tar, carbon paper rubbings, house paint, charred stick charcoal, are my favored adopted materials. I also sometimes use cut apart burlap bags or unprimed canvas tarps, traditional oil paint and oil sticks.

I live simply and I work daily. Routine, discipline and confidence are my foundation, and I believe in myself and in the work that I make.”

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