Though he completed his formal education at the National College of Art and Design, his real artistic education came from his father. After his studies, Hickey moved to London to work in film and documentaries. He spent five years in the camera department, where he began to develop his own individual methods of working with film and photography.
Hickey's unique style of painting thus evolved from his inherent passion of film and photography, as he creates cinematic compositions with his dramatic use of contre-jour lighting.. "Semi-photo-realism" is how Hickey describes his style. "I sometimes see my paintings as single frames from a film."
Most of Hickey's work deals with the affects of lighting on cars, buildings and streets. He says that cars and traffic seem natural to him. "I see more cars a day than trees. I suppose that's just what I look for." Hickey's paintings are evocative of the modern time we live in and subtly capture the isolation of city life.
"I rarely try to verbalize my work, as I think it has a visual language of its own. If I could, I would be a writer but I'm not. I think my paintings are self explanatory."
Hickey cites German artist Gerhard Richter as a major influence, but when looking at Hickey's paintings, the work of American Edward Hopper springs to mind. Like Hopper, Hickey has a meticulous eye, which sees all elements of the composition carefully positioned as if they have literally been captured before or after the climax of a scene.
Hickey participated in his first group show at the Irish Cultural Centre "Comhaltas Ceoltoiri na Eireann" in 1990. Since then he has been exhibiting worldwide and his paintings are held in many notable private collections, such as Tiffany & Co. He has been a full time painter and photographer for over 15 years, with 1997 marking the first time he exhibited his work at the prestigious RHA (Royal Hibernian Academy) annual exhibition.
(source; Duke St Gallery website)