If you’ve visited Hackney in the last ten years, you’ll doubtless have seen them. The huge mysterious figures lurking on the sides of buildings and billboards. Deceptively simple, with just six lines each and dots for eyes, they are packed with subtle form and emotions, showing an extraordinary ability to reflect human psychology and diversity. They’re a main attraction of street art tours of the area, and the work of street artist Stik.
Having spent a number of years homeless, Stik has an intimate relationship with the street. This is something that is very evident in his murals, and that he combines effortlessly with a fine art sensibility. Although the majority of his work is still done illegally, the finished street pieces are as crisp and clean as if they had been officially commissioned, and are often embraced by local people and councils. In fact, one of his pieces in Glastonbury is so loved, that the locals have maintained the work for years without being asked.
Stik knows the City from the inside, and manages to reach seemingly superhuman locations to paint his highly stylized works. Despite his unorthodox approach to public art, lack of formal training, and flagrant disregard of planning permission, Stik has been quickly recognised as a valuable asset by the N.H.S, British Waterways,The Barbican, and the British Council, who have commissioned permanent murals by him, both in London and abroad.
He’s also a social commentator, via his regular art column in The Hackney Citizen. Stik was one of the first to document the recent London riots, actually sketching on the front line. And then creating a piece about them on the street, a week later. He regularly draws inspiration from local characters and politics for his outspoken ‘comment’ street pieces. Stik has lectured on the social importance of Street Art at London’s Central Saint Martin’s College of Art, Bristol Museum, The Laznia Arts Centre in Gdansk. He’s also curated several graffiti shows with fellow East London ‘graffers’, some of whom are notoriously reclusive.
Stik was recently commissioned to produce an exclusive limited edition print for the 2011 Q Music Awards, which was awarded to artists including Bono, Brian May, Noel Gallagher, Chris Martin, Gary Barlow, Jesse J, Snow Patrol and Ed Sheeran.
He works with groups as diverse as Amnesty International and Queeruption, and sells globally, but still regularly paints street pieces around the capital.
presents cutting edge street artist
and his long awaited exhibition
Show Starts: 19th April 2012
Imitate Modern 27a Devonshire Street, London W1G 6PN
Celebrated, street artist Stik will branch out into iron and oak pieces during a new month long solo show entitled ‘Walk’, at Imitate Modern from 19th April 2012. This latest exhibition will feature large-scale canvases, light-boxes, and sculpture, all of which capture Stik’s trademark grittiness, and refined attention to detail. The gallery will also host the long awaited launch of Stik’s new print also entitled ‘Walk’, produced by Squarity.
Stik’s brilliantly produced new studio work encapsulates the essence of his massive and ubiquitous Hackney street stick-figures. Stik spent many years living and working on the streets. Having perfected his uncompromising style for over a decade, his lines are as slick as calligrapher’s.
The pieces are fresh, simple and colourful, like those of a children’s storybook. Yet, they are loaded with poignant emotions and a mature sensibility, seemingly at odds with their initial appearance. And closer inspection reveals the degree that he credits his audience with emotional maturity, via the subtlety with which he tackles issues such as gender, class, and age.
East London is one of three world centres for Street Art, which is the Visual Arts’ most cutting edge trend. Stik is one of its key figures, and his much sought after works form a significant component of both the underground and mainstream Street Art scenes. He has a global fan-base following four sell-out solo shows in 2011, and confirmed solo shows lined up in Paris and Montreal in 2012. The April exhibition at Imitate Modern is his only planned UK show this year.
Stik’s work is owned by people as diverse as The Duke of Kent, Antony Gormley, Tinie Tempah, and Goldie. He has recently been commissioned by Brian May to paint a six foot home mural and is followed by film makers and photographers whenever he paints in the street – his murals are one of the main attractions of Street Art tours of London.
Recently, Stik has been commissioned to paint graffiti versions of the Dulwich Picture Gallery’s permanent classical-era collection which includes artists such as Rembrandt, Gainsborough and Rubens. These will feature in the streets of Dulwich as part of the upcoming Dulwich Festival.
Listings Information:‘Walk’ Stik