It’s all hushed in theatre two of the traverse for Thomas Hicks to describe his passion for his short animated films which are shown on screen. He sits up front with the interviewer who is evidently as as knowledgeable about the subject himself. He shows a series of his own work as well some that have inspired him. He makes a living by animating music for bands and individuals. He also mentors students at Greys School of Art in Aberdeen. Mr Hicks has a drawing style I would describe as kind of ‘jiggly shirgley,’ occasionally painterly with layers of overlay. The selection he has chosen for Manipulate portrays repeating themes, such as circus, fairground, pumping hearts, a masked couple and predilection for antique paraphenalia plucked from an older, technological time. It is always interesting to see that although many artists find themselves working with digital technology the mind is attracted to the past. Hicks uses mainly monochromatic imagery which backs up this theme. Not even a glimmer of Sci-Fi in sight!
His work lives in the time before colour even. The more he talks, however, the more apparent it is that much of what he does occurs through a process of default. He says he can’t understand digital technology which, to a ludite may sounds a bit unrealistic, until it’s realised that he is speaking comparatively. As part of a trio of films made by other animators he gives us Cyriak, an animator I know, which is very complicated stuff. My favorite was the one with the sheep which I am delighted to show you here
Hicks ends with a cartoon of an odd deformed couple with cricked necks getting it together. It’s tragic but humorous, a sweet finale. A happy ending perhaps, for the masked characters in his own shorts. He paints he draws, he spends a lot of time at a computer…he’s kept going by the eureka moments that come along when you make something pretty smart and new out a whole bunch of mistakes. Cheers for the insight.
Reviewer : Sarah Marshall