With her playful and experimental style, Susan Hickman has a knack for turning found materials into intriguing works of mixed media art. A Hygienic Art resident since 2009, her work takes life in a very organic manner, evolving over time as the initial layer is scratched, poured over and brushed into compositions that are both molecular and cosmic in scale.
Receiving her education in fine arts at Ohio University, Hickman’s focus was in graphic design and photography. She also took courses in ceramics, art history, color theory and figure drawing. Although she had a graphic design background and a love of photography she was unable to pursue either in a large capacity after graduating because of a lack of tools.
“When I graduated…I had no computer, no printer, no dark room etc.,” Hickman Tells Patch.
So instead of giving up on the arts, she decided to look to other more unconventional creation media.
“That’s when I started using found materials and collaging," she said. "Some of my first paintings were on board with pens and markers and white out. Now I'm refining that and I have better materials and more experience with what works.”
In fact, much of her most recent show was produced with such found materials as an antique television repair manual printed in black and white. She took select pages out of the manual and added swirls of color as though they were flowing out of the various television screens.
Susan Hickman has also been an integral part of New London’s fashion scene, serving as a model and designer. This year was the coordinator of while designing a spring line for the show. Hickman believes “New London has always been a creative community” and hopes the fashion shows can bridge the gap between theater, performance and art.
Many of her fashion designs are very theatrical and are meant to be a statement worn for the show itself. They are generally sewn onto the models the night of the show and cease to be a wearable garment once removed. So make sure to pay attention at her next show because it may be the last time you see someone wearing one of her works of art.
Some of Susan Hickman’s recent displays have included a display at La Belle Arour in Niantic and "Quiet Riot," her resident show at Hygienic Art in August; this show also featured paintings, prints, drawings and sculpture by artist’s Sydney Semnacher, Greg Pennisten and Shawn Gilheeney. She has been featured in numerous group shows at the Hygienic including the annual Art=Gift exhibitions.
You can look forward to more work by Susan Hickman in the group show with the other Hygienic resident artists taking place this December at The Pigeon Hole Gallery. She will also preparing for another fashion show in early 2012.
If you would like to learn more about Susan Hickman’s work please visit her website at susanhickmanart.com.