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The Creative Process



“Inspiration without perspiration is usually sterile” Unknown Source

“Sometimes when you innovate, you make mistakes. It is best to admit them quickly, and get on with improving your other innovations” Steve Jobs

“You can often tell how good a blacksmith is, by the size of his scrap pile” James Hicks



The creative process is the most exciting, but scary phase of my artwork. Inspiration sometimes comes from a need to fill a need or space, but often comes at the strangest times, at least in my case. Inspiration comes from many sources,ranging from the turn of a witty phrase by my dear wife, to the lines on working vessels and of course from the fish themselves.

I am often asked why the majority of the body of my work has revolved around maritime creatures (especially fish). The reason is simply that I love the lines and diversity of the fishes. A limited number of people have had the privilege to view fish in their natural environment, as I did when I started scuba diving in the mid-1970s.

I often work on a design for years in my head before I commit anything to paper (or pixels). My Grandfather, James Hicks who was a lifetime metalworker and blacksmith, is quoted above. I am not a great blacksmith, but my scrap pile is pretty large….maybe there is some hope for me! I will often prototype numerous versions of a piece before it is correct and released to the public. If it’s not right, it simply doesn’t leave the shop.

I am often asked about the finishes I use on most of my work. The majority of my work is colored using heat and different times of flames, some oxidizing and some reducing. After years of experimentation, I determined that I could only get a few of the colors I wanted (such as red or a dark green) using metal dyes. In order to preserve the fragile metal oxides that form with the application of heat, I use a powder coating topcoat which is a process that uses heat to fuse polymer resins to the metal surface without the use of solvents. My exclusive professional powder coating provider is Northwest Powdercoating of Seatac, WA reached at (206) 241-1614.