Even though he is only a teenager, Thomas Hicks’s path has already been full of twists and turns. As an elementary school student, he aspired to be a banker–that is until he entered middle school and discovered a passion for the arts.
His first love was singing, but stage fright prevented him from being accepted into Greenville County Schools’ prestigious Fine Arts Center as a freshman. So he pivoted again and found his niche. “I started taking pictures on my phone, setting up scenes, and experimenting with light and composition,” he explains. “This inspired me to pursue the visual arts.”
When he applied to the Fine Arts Center as a sophomore, he was accepted. Thomas’s medium is still-life photography, and while he shoots primarily in digital, he also works with Polaroid and medium-format cameras. He enjoys finding beautiful places and setting up things around them, like fruit or other objects, to create unique compositions.
Thomas will be one of seven Fine Arts Center full-day students whose work will be featured in GCCA’s Community Gallery from May 7 through June 23. The exhibition will explore the definition of place. From themes like place in society to place in evolution, these advanced young artists will showcase how high school students view not only themselves, but the world around them. They will also take part in shadowing GCCA’s Gallery Manager, Ben Tarcson, to learn how to design a show.
Thomas’s work will be a collection of collages that include found materials and family images processed in cyanotype that he hopes will evoke a sense of nostalgia. “I want people to think about their own childhood memories and make new ones by putting themselves in the shoes of the people in the images,” he shares. “I have not been to many galleries before, so I am excited about this opportunity for me and my peers to see the potential of our work. It will be a great experience for our future careers to install these pieces and learn about that process.”
As to where his path will take him, Thomas says, “College is the goal, and I’d also like to get an arts internship. Longer-term, I see myself living somewhere pretty in the countryside practicing as a working artist, making prints of my work, and collaborating with other artists to create something special.”