Artes Hicks is a visual artist from Birmingham, Alabama. She received her BFA in printmaking with an art history minor at the University of Montevallo in 2011. Originally studying painting and sculpture, after taking a summer intro printmaking class, Artes then decided to further her skills and knowledge in the arts of printmaking (i.e. intaglio, solar plate printing, relief, serigraphy and lithography). Predominantly a figurative artist, Artes decided to stray from her comfortable path and challenge herself in her newest series: “Dirty Minds.” Her recent work is her response to the competitive modern art world and seeks to engage the audience by sparking a conversation about how far is too far when it comes to conceptual art in the South? What are you willing to accept, what will you be offended by, and by what degree? Artes created a series of thirteen pieces that display thirteen offensive words such as: “dyke” and “Proud Nigga.” My reasoning for such offensive words is: these words represent different aspects of my identity and community. So often, sexual, racial and linguistic minorities are forced to censor themselves in order to appease the status quo. By using the influences of Pop Art and the vibrating patterns of Opt-Art, I wanted to present my series in a way that softens the blow of the words and images while still presenting them boldly. I wanted to allow the audience to find their own conclusions.