peter hickey

Peter Hickey’s life’s passion as a painter/printmaker began early, probably around the age of fourteen when he began playing truant from school to attend the local art school.After leaving school, Peter enrolled in the National Art School in East Sydney to study art and was employed as a cadet press artist at the Sydney Morning Herald newspaper where his first job was to colour in the black squares in crossword puzzles. At the same time Peter enrolled in the cooking school at the college and continues to combine his passion for good food and cooking with his art.

In 1970, Peter left Australia to travel the world and further his career. After touring Europe for two years, he enrolled in the Heatherley School of Art in London where he developed his passion for the art of etching which has continued throughout his life. Membership of the British Printmakers Council followed and he held his first solo exhibition in London.Further travel throughout Europe included a year working as a chef in the Swiss ski resort of Gstaad, where he cooked occasionally for Liz Taylor and Richard Burton and skiied with David Niven. After studying and teaching art in Japan and touring Asia, Peter returned to London for more exhibitions.

Returning to Australia in 1974 with the desire to make his mark as an artist, Peter began exhibiting, and to help pay the bills opened the Etcher’s Workshop in Sydney. In 1992 Peter and his wife Lesley traveled to the U.S, settling in Sausalito. Peter was invited to be an Artist in Residence at the prestigious Kala Institute in Berkeley, California.

Inspired by the experience of studying with artists from fourteen countries, Peter’s outlook to his work changed and a new direction evolved in his painting as he began to incorporate techniques normally exclusive to printmaking.The technique usually referred to as ‘subtractive’ involves the removal of paint from the canvas whereas normally the image is obtained whilst applying the paint. Peter attributes his painting in monochrome (usually a warm black) to his early years as a press artist where all artwork was in black and white.

Integral to Peter Hickey’s art is drawing – whether it be in a landscape etching, a still life monotype or a painting of an animal. The underlying drawing gives his work its sincerity and reflects Peter’s love of nature in all its forms. Years of drawing at Sydney’s Taronga Park Zoo and the Western Plains Zoo provides material for the direction his work has taken in recent years. Painting in oil on canvas using his subtractive technique captures the various animals’ unique qualities and personalities the artist strives to portray.

Peter and his wife Lesley now live in Rushcutters Bay in Sydney’s East and he works in his studio located nearby. Travelling remains an important source of inspiration and this is reflected in the folios of etchings produced from journeys to Italy, France and the U.S.

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