Copper is an unusual choice of material for a blacksmith. It lacks the structural strength of steel and iron, but its malleability and lustre imbue it with great expressive potential. Copper is the oldest known metal to be used by humans (dating back to 7800 BC). It was associated with the goddess Aphrodite or Venus in Classical mythology and alchemy, owing to its beauty, ancient use in producing mirrors and origins in Cyprus, which was sacred to the goddess. Over the millennia, as an element, it has come to be associated with femininity, fertility and love.
Hicks allows the raw material to drive the sculptural process, curving and bending organically. By reverting to a primal, instinctual art-making, similar to that of the Abstract Expressionists, he finds the metal’s form through movement and interaction with it. For him, “beauty” is the instinctive response to material: an evolutionary guide or rationale for all decision-making. Beauty is an abstract tool used to determine whether or not something “works” and is the driving force for past and future evolution.