For the first time since his debut print release this year we focus our attention on an artist whose simple yet multi-dimensional figure work has tied comparisons to Julian Opie: this is Stik.
Stik, in essence, is a muralist and he’s been painting walls in East London for the last 10 years.
Stik started out by spotting likely looking walls, sketching and planning his ideas for them and then getting the job done as quickly as possible before the police found him.
That was then, these days the savvy owners of bookshops, galleries, cafes and social centres in both London and Bristol are commissioning him to paint their walls. For the first time he’s started to rent a studio and to sell canvases and sculptures through galleries and is walking through the door Banksy opened a few years back; that which leads to the art world proper.
Stik’s deceptively simple, yet expressive trademark stick people seem almost to have been shaped by the constraints of his working environments. They are defiantly human, reflective and introspective when contrasted with their noisy urban habitat.
“Quite often, simple images are the most noted. If I’ve got too many lines, I kind of lose track of what’s going on. I like to have very few things going on, but a lot of data compression in that. This arm’s got three bends in it and I think about the way it conveys movement. Beauty is in movement. That’s what it’s about.”
Stik has stashed heaps of sketch books ‘in the back of the cupboard’ simply filled with ideas until he sees the perfect wall or commission for them. This suggests a long process of rumination, and yet the conditions he works in mean that all his planning has to culminate in a lightning fast execution.“
I get a separate hardback sketch book for each project and fill it full of ideas, notes and anything I can glean. On the day, I gather up all my spray paints and my sketchbook and go. When I paint, I leave as little to chance as possible, but the bits I do leave to chance often define the piece.”
Stik has an almost Zen like preparation and planning process and has trained his mind so that he is often able to take advantage of chance factors in his environment. In London this March during the snow he was able to create large scale temporary works whilst the surface of the roads was still pristine.