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Founder | CEO

Principal Designer

As a designer, artist, project/production manager and business owner, Paul has over 35 years of experience designing, managing and producing high quality goods and environments. Sitting in the middle of the overall supply chain as a designer and manufacturer across several industries has provided Paul with vast knowledge and experiences required to create and maintain connections, communications, and the collaborations that are required to produce an excellent finished product or environment.

From billboards to environmental graphics, from commercial/residential environments to art installations, and from furniture to picture frames. His designs feature intentionally simple and timeless elements, crafted from salvaged woods, sustainable materials and non-toxic finishes, featuring rich organic textures integrated with raw modern and industrial materials.

Paul M. Hickman began his career as a sign painter for the family billboard company when he was a teenager. Later while at Arizona State University, Paul was initially drawn to printmaking, then seized upon Inter-media as a vehicle to marry new and salvaged materials, painted and projected graphics, audio, video and lighting. Following completion of his BFA, he spent 12 years building a notable career as a designer and project manager in the scenic-arts industry, where he experimented, refined and expanded his design repertoire. Fifteen years into his career, he hit a wall with the materials he was working with; they no longer made sense to him.

In seeking answers, Paul discovered sustainable materials and production practices. Since 1996 he has been a leader in the green building and the local movements. Paul formed Urban Ashes in 2009 as a picture frame company that evolved into a full-service design and fabrication company, producing wholesale goods and servicing commercial environments. By empowering our youth, and citizens returning from prison with the opportunity to re-purpose their lives with meaningful employment, Urban Ashes fosters an environment where they are able to reclaim lives, as well as these all too often discarded resources. This dynamic combination creates an unparalleled quality behind the hand-made goods that tell a uniquely human story to pass down through the generations.  

In 2019, after 10 years, Paul is steering Urban Ashes through a series of transformations to ensure that the mission and vision of Urban Ashes reaches its maximum potential. Those transitions are still in process, with sights set on 2020 for Urban Ashes to re-emerge bigger and better with even greater positive impact.  Ready to take on the 3rd decade of the century.

Since 2016, Paul has been able to bring his extensive experience with urban salvaged and deconstructed woods to the forefront of several large scale commercial and residential projects. His unique consulting services empower his clients to maximize their utilization of urban wood, often salvaged from the very trees that were felled on site of a new construction project. Even if no trees are brought down on a project Paul is able to provide excellent options for urban salvaged and deconstructed wood in a vast array of areas within a project from furniture, to trim, to major decorative elements.


Paul's spaces, furniture, finishes, graphics and fine art prints incorporate his commitment to sustainable design and his years of diverse experience. His work can be found throughout the country in retail stores, restaurants, theme parks, casinos, trade shows, art fairs, galleries and residences. 

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