DUBAI // The latest disciple of the Dubai Walls street art project has dropped into the city to begin work on the next step of bringing the urban genre to the masses.
New York stencil artist Logan Hicks, a graduate from the graffiti street scene of the 1980s, has been in Dubai photographing urban cityscapes ahead of a giant mural planned for early 2017.
Hicks has taken thousands of photographs both during day and night to capture the essence of one of the fastest-growing metropolises in the world.
Dubai has a unique environment, and one that makes for the perfect billboard to display his work, he said.
“Street art has become the rock ‘n’ roll for the social media age,” said Hicks.
“The majority of my work deals with city environments and how people operate within those areas. I look at the architecture and how people move around those environments.
“You couldn’t find a more perfect city environment to show than that of Dubai, in terms of how things are spread out. Cities are organic and the roads replicate the arteries of a living, breathing thing that is growing all the time.
“I find roadways, train lines and transport networks interesting, as they make a city work.”
It is likely to take months for his Dubai piece to take shape, with hundreds of faces captured on camera to be reproduced via intricate, multi-layered stencils. His work is sold around the world for tens of thousands of US dollars.
Dubai Walls is an initiative created to promote street art in the UAE and is being introduced to the region by Meraas. In March, the Dubai-based holding company invited 16 renowned street artists from five continents to unveil their signature style of work at City Walk.
Hicks has already collaborated on similar projects with other City Walk artists, such as The London Police on a mural in Gambia. The final piece is due to be unveiled in Dubai in February next year.
And like many of his kind, Hicks has a lot to thank the enigmatic Banksy for. The anonymous street artist helped bring his form of stenciled statement graphic art to the masses, and into private collections of the rich and famous.
Hicks was one of just two artists selected by Banksy to represent America at the 2008 London Cans Festival.
“No doubt what Banksy has achieved has made this style of art more accepted and mainstream,” he added.
“Coming from New York, graffiti was once seen as a dirty, illegal underground scene. Now it has progressed to have global acceptance as a recognised art genre. It is a lifestyle and has gone down the same road as skateboarding and punk rock.
“If you didn’t fit into any other genre, you became a street artist. Now people are going into college and paying US$40,000 a year to become a street artist.”