- (pronounced High Q) is more than a name it’s an experience. Hailing from the south side of Chicago, IL, this self taught mixed media artist’s passion for urban realism while staying true to his craft bleeds on the canvas of all of his work.
Born Sean Michael Gladden, Hiecue’s journey into the world of art was no coincidence. The progeny of parents who too are artists, his gifted hand were earned honestly; a genetic trait divinely bestowed upon a young man whose thirst for a creative outlet began to rear its head at the formidable age of 6. His father would be his first introduction into the world of sketch art. Developing his own comic book characters, Hiecue’s father used the walls of mother’s basement to sketch a tale of life as a young man on the rough and rugged streets of the Southside of Chicago. A story staring himself, this initiation into the arts using the world as the canvas would influence Hiecue’s later work.
In school he would find himself utilizing classroom desks and bathroom walls as blank slates to which he would sketch his renditions of Marvel Comic characters. But it would be his years in high school that would define his style and craft, evolving from a mere defiant adolescent to a graffiti artist. Hiecue joined a group of fellow graffiti artists who dubbed themselves CAB (Chicago and Beyond, 312, Creative Artistic Bombers). In their quest of “All City” domination Hiecue and his clan would battle against other taggers for artistic street credibility. His name would become etched in stone as others of his elk saw that his moniker in use did not fit his style. He coined Hiecue as a play on the concept of high quality. Tagging all of his graffiti with “Think 720” Hiecue felt the need to set his work apart from the rest imploring that those who view his art think twice and outside the circumference of the mundane and ordinary.
His tenure as a graffiti artist marked a point of evolution as he saw how graffiti could be transformed into a respectable art form and suitable for travel. His passion for his craft led him to Atlanta where he taught himself the technique of airbrushing. He made the connection between graffiti art and airbrush fabrication, trading aerosol cans for an airbrush, needle and stencil. From airbrushing Hiecue moved to canvas utilizing similar graffiti techniques of the aerosol can but incorporating detail through the use of charcoal for sketching and acrylic paint for detail and texture.
Hiecue’s artwork can be seen in such places as the Salt Work Gallery, the Linden House and on the walls of the Apache Café, one of Atlanta, Georgia’s premiere performing arts venue and lounge. His ever growing clientele include the likes of conscious rap group Dead Prez, Al B. Sure and a host of professionals and art connoisseurs.
Defining moments in his career would be those in which people who once could not afford his work, over time were able to come back and patronize his efforts with the purchase of original work. These pivotal exchanges mark the marriage of one’s gift and passion making room for ones self. With aspirations of one day taking his self taught artistry to the classroom, Hiecue recognizes that the future of the arts rests with the youth. Using his own life as testimony, he can relate to the notion that some acts of defiance are simple attempts for artistic expression that only need proper nurturing.
The future is bright for this urban “PicasSoul.” Telling the tale of the streets through paint, Hiecue splashes love, loss, joy, pain, sensuality and strife causing all those who look upon his work to think twice and set aside their preconceived notions of what art should be and replace it for what it is. This is the world of Hiecue.