Sunday, April 7, 2013

Vince Hickman

About a dozen years ago I had to fire my office assistant and was looking for a replacement.  We put out an advertisement asking for an assistant to an art dealer and a museum curator.  It is amazing the people who responded.  A former White House chef sent in his resumé as well as a well-known art advisor to corporations.  Possibly the strangest one of all was from a former Navy man who had been Assistant to a Navy Admiral at the Pentagon. This Admiral was the Director of Naval Intelligence and this was one of the men who sat outside his office and evaluated intel.

His name, Vincent Hickman but preferred to be called Vince.  He tried a few things after his naval service and his aptitude seemed to be in the area of IT so he worked at the pioneering internet company Double Click before it went public and then co-founded his own internet startup.

The day before I was to go into the hospital for open heart surgery we hired Vince who said he liked art but knew little about the business he was about to join.  I spent the day talking non-stop about the business and our particular history.  Then for all intents and purposes I was totally out of it for a month as I came slowly back to reality.

Vince brought our business into the 21st century technologically speaking and has kept things running ever since.  He is also responsible for making me believe that I could write a weekly blog!

Vince’s passion outside of the gallery, besides his family, is surfing.  Unbeknownst to me he started a surfing blog (A Slice of Stoke), which was not written but totally visual with videos he took of himself surfing in the New York City area.

Then things took a strange turn.  Vince got a phone call that he was sure was a joke. It was from a casting director who said to him, ”I love the idea of an art dealer who is also a surfer. Would you do an episode for the TV series, ‘Royal Pains’?”  Eventually, he realized this was for real and he went on the set both as a surfer and an advisor to the director who was not well acquainted with the sport.

The next thing Vince knew, he was called up by another casting director to play the part of a Gotham City cop in the latest Batman film, “The Dark Knight Rises”.  If you saw the movie you know that the good guys and the bad guys clash near Wall Street, a scene with hundreds of participants.  He learned a lesson there; in the big fight scene he was fighting with a veteran who told him to stop pulling his punches because if they did not look real the two of them would end up on the cutting room floor!  He was not only excited to meet the stars, Anne Hathaway and Christian Bale, but also the director, Christopher Nolan, and his fight instructor Buster Reeves, who is the stunt coordinator for the popular HBO series “Game of Thrones”.

Vince was not only in awe of the celebrities he met from the actors to the producers and directors but also fascinated with the technical side of the business.  He would often come back with stories about the cameras and lenses that were being used.

In 2012 Vince participated in no less that 6 different projects.  The one we have been able to best follow and enjoy is his role as an FBI agent in the series “White Collar”.  It revolves around a master art forger who now works for the FBI.  In one episode, Vince was featured literally between the two stars of the show, Neal Caffrey (Matt Bomer) and Peter Burke (Tim DeKay).

[Vince as an FBI Agent on USA Networks "White Collar"]

Vince has been cast in the film “Winter’s Tale” starring Colin Farrell & Russell Crowe, and also as a double for the co-pilot in an upcoming film, “Non-Stop” starring Liam Neeson as an air marshal. Now working with these stars is heady stuff. 

Vince has since appeared in a number of episodes of “Boardwalk Empire” but his steadiest work last year going into 2013 has been as double for John Reese (played by Jim Caviezel) in CBS’s “Person of Interest”.  Why does he need a double?  At times there are up to three camera units shooting simultaneously for an episode and the lead actors cannot be in all places at the same time. In addition to a striking resemblance to Mr. Caviezel, Vince’s ex-Navy military bearing and athleticism convincingly portray an ex-CIA hit man.  Of course, before he was first given a disabled gun he was schooled in how not to shoot someone!

[Vince as a prohibition era thug in HBO's "Boardwalk Empire"]

His career in front of the camera is frustrating to his wife, cutting down his time at home, and to me, when he is not at the gallery, but we do agree on one thing; we are so proud of him… Hopefully, he will soon get more than just promises and land an actual speaking role!

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