Introducing GCM Local Artist Series Part 2 with Clay Hickson!
The Grand Central Market Local Artist series features talented, local artists from all
over Los Angeles, creating one-of-a-kind works of art exclusively for Grand Central Market. These hand-crafted designs will live in capsule collections of custom apparel, accessories, and prints sold in limited quantities for our beloved Los Angeles community.
To kick off the second chapter of the GCM Local Artist Series, we have collaborated with the incredibly talented Clay Hickson. Clay’s local story and incredibly engaging artistic approach make him the perfect partner to launch our second collection with. We couldn’t be more excited for everyone to see what he has created for our GCM community.
Launching exclusively at GCM and through our online store, the debut collection is AVAILABLE NOW!
Meet Local Artist Clay Hickson
Born and raised in Los Angeles, Clay draws inspiration from the city's rich visual history. A printmaking student at The School of the Art Institute in Chicago, he brings a unique perspective to his illustrations. In a recent chat, we explored Clay's love for LA, his creative process, and how Grand Central Market's authentic atmosphere influenced our collaboration.
Hi Clay! Tell us a little bit about yourself and your art background.
I was born here in LA, but spent a good chunk of my younger years in Sebastopol, a small town in Northern California. My dad was an illustrator and my mom was an art therapist, so I was exposed to a lot of art growing up. My older brother introduced me to screen printing in highschool and I was immediately hooked. After high school, I moved to Chicago to study printmaking at The School of the Art Institute. I just sort of fell into doing illustration jobs when I got out of school and that's what I've been doing ever since. After 10 years in the midwest, I'm happy to be living back in LA.
How did you come to find your artistic style, and how would you describe the process behind your work?
I'm not sure that I have found my style, but I arrived at the work I'm doing now by putting in thousands of hours of drawing and research and experimentation. It's been a long slow process, but I'm a big believer in the idea that you need to put in the time to really hone a craft and find a unique creative voice.
Drawing in my sketchbook has always been the most important part of my practice. It's where I feel the loosest and where I turn to for ideas when I'm stuck or just need to kickstart a project. Almost all the work I do begins with something I've drawn in my sketchbook.
How has Los Angeles and your connection to this city inspired your work? Are there certain ways that LA presents itself in the way that you illustrate?
LA is in my bones and manifested itself in my work even when I was living halfway across the country. It's not something that I was always conscious of, but people would often look at my work and ask if I was from LA. I guess growing up in a place with such a rich visual history is bound to seep into your subconscious. So much of the way I draw was defined by what I saw here - the mountains, the beaches, the architecture, and, of course, the food.
What aspects of Grand Central Market do you believe enhanced or influenced your creation process? In what ways did GCM's unique environment and offerings contribute to your creative work?
Food has been a constant source of inspiration for me, so Grand Central Market is a treasure trove. It represents so many different cultures and cuisines that are integral to this city and does it in such a democratizing way. But perhaps equally inspiring is the dedication to a visual style. You could spend a whole day just taking in the neons. It's a great example of a historic LA establishment that has managed to update without losing its soul and I find that really inspiring and hopeful.
For this project, I wanted to present the market as a sort of monument to food. A place that honors everything equally, from the humble peanut to the mighty pastrami.
What’s next for yourself? Is anything coming up that we can keep an eye on?
My brother and I have been collaborating on a yearly calendar since 2013 and right now we're putting together the 2024 Calendar. It's one of my favorite projects every year and we have a lot of fun with it. It'll be available by the end of November. Other than that, I'll just be chugging along, pen in hand, thinking about food.
To shop the GCM x Clay Hickson limited collection - head on over to
www.shopgrandcentralmarket.com or head on into GCM and visit our merchandise