Stik: simple figures, complex messages

This post is also available in: Español (Spanish)

Meet Stik, the artist who went from living in the street to painting London’s largest mural

A circle for a head, a rectangle as a body, two lines for limbs, and a great load of melancholy and protest, are the elements present in each of Stik’s pieces. Stik is an English graffiti writer based in London, where his most impactful works can be found.

Courtesy: Speak Up London Pinterest

There is very little public biographical data of this artist. The little we know helps us understand the power of communication that his work has. Stik was a young man punished by marginalization, living homeless for 10 years, sleeping on a sofa thanks to some friends, in hostels, and in abandoned buildings, which later became a canvas to capture his feelings and that of many others. In his own words, his pieces talk about “moving in the urban landscape and feeling insecure.”

Courtesy: Stik.org

Technically, we could say that his pieces are simplistic. Stik uses a brightly colored background, human figures with few strokes in black and white. However, we can highlight the use of outstanding body language that becomes visible in each of his characters. Thus, without having a marked gender, they manage to transmit the desired message, relying on the physical and social environment of the wall in question.

Every piece he does on the street is self-funded; he even makes commissions for free, since for him the street is the community’s and there is no reason to profit from it. Currently he makes ends meet through his studio work, which he makes specifically for sale, which is auctioned in important European galleries. However, these pieces also touch sensitive fibers of today’s society.

Courtesy: Street Art Aveneu


BIG MOTHER: the ravages of a demolition

One of his main graffiti works was the monumental mural entitled Big mother. It was made in 2014 in a government housing building that was demolished by London’s obscene gentrification. Dozens of families would become homeless as a result.

Courtesy: Stik.org
Courtesy: Stik web

Moreover, the piece features Stik’s minimalist characters: a mother carrying her son, looking to the horizon trying to respond to the uncertainty of looking for a new home, and her little one with staring at the luxury apartments that begin to eat up her neighborhood. This is the relevance of this Londoner and his art, which resists and represents those who, like him, were once the invisible.

Courtesy: Claude Crommelin and Joye Division
Courtesy: Claude Crommelin and Joye Division
Big Mother Courtesy: Claude Crommelin and Joye Division

The building was finally demolished in 2018. Nonetheless, residents managed to rescue part of the mural to auction it off and obtain resources for their families, this with the artist’s support.

Learn more about Stik on his website.

This post is also available in: Español (Spanish)

Karla Mariana Huerta

México, 1992. Viajera espacial y mental. Cazadora de cielos profundos. Escribo.

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