Ikon Youth Programme12.08.2022

IYP Journal – Photo Walk with Tom Hicks

By a member of Ikon Youth Programme 

Black Country Type is an ongoing series of photographs based on the aesthetics of the Black Country. Recently, Ikon Youth Programme (IYP) have been fortunate enough to join the artist behind this project, Tom Hicks, on photo walks around Black Country areas.

Hicks’ work can be characterised by urban, post-industrial landscapes, focusing on architectural features and as the name suggests, typography. His photography often displays bright colours and bold fonts which can be found in the Black Country.

We started with a photo walk around Wolverhampton where Hicks is based. He explained to us how this project began – by him stopping to capture the local scenery with his phone whilst cycling or on walks, paying attention to typography on signs or prominent architectural features.

IYP followed suit and we used our phones to photograph these details around the streets of Wolverhampton. We later joined Hicks again in Bilston, walking around the city centre and also visiting the Bilston School of Art building. Throughout the photo-walks, we were able to see Hicks’ creative process and his inspirations, including how he edits and crops his photographs to create the perfect composition. In Bilston, we were also joined by artist Claire Buckerfield whose work also focuses on architecture in the Black Country. She provided great insights into capturing interesting parts of the environment.

I loved that Hicks showed us how easy and accessible it is to document the everyday and the often overlooked scenery around us. His photography in particular visually transforms these almost liminal spaces around the city into bold and colourful moments. I now often find myself stopping to appreciate the beauty of city-scapes.

If you are aged 16-21 and have an interest in or curiosity about contemporary art, you can join a group of likeminded people who meet regularly to talk about art, programme new events, work with artists and develop their creative practice. Find out more.

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