London Art Spot: Stik Interview (Part 2)

If you missed Stik Interview (Part 1), it’s here and fabulous.

Stik with pieces for the “Walk” exhibition

Before I dive in to Stik Interview (Part 2), I have to tell you our mutual friend Jayd who first introduced us sent me a message this morning to say how much she enjoyed Part 1. 

She also wrote: “*chest swells* I remember meeting Stik about six years ago on the squat scene, painting Stik characters on the bedroom wall of his squat before he got big.”

And then she sent me two super-exclusive photos of never seen before work that Stik created especially for her – one hung on her wall and one painted directed onto the wall in her flat. I’ll post them within the interview.

And now… Stik!

Blue Stik for “Walk” exhibition

LLO: Tell me something about your upcoming exhibition, “Walk”, that I won’t read in the press release.
“Walk” is about me taking the next step. It’s the same name as the print being released. In all of my other drawings, Stik is looking over the shoulder, being really cautious but this one, the eyes are actually looking forward. He still looks cautious, but it’s like looking into the future, going towards something, knowing what I want. It’s taking my first steps.

Jayd’s Stik – 1

LLO: The piece on the front of your studio got a lot of attention this year. Tell us about it (Photo in Part 1 of interview). 

Stik: The design on the front of my studio is an integral part of the “Walk” exhibition. They’re connected. That piece shows my struggle, where I’m at with the galleries. Part of me is a real purist; I only want to paint on the street. The gallery work is taking it in a new direction.

LLO: Are you enjoying the gallery work? 

Stik: I’m loving my gallery work. You can afford to be more vulnerable. There’s more time to prepare and you can move the pieces around. They’ll go into someone’s house or collection. They’re more independent.

Jayd’s Stik – 2

LLO: What sort of work are we going to see from you in “Walk”? 

Stik: There’s one sculpture, but there’s some more 3-D work, light boxes and loads of prints. I’m doing some traffic lights.

LLO: Traffic lights? Elaborate? 

Stik: It’s just working with the street furniture. It’s a walking figure and a standing still figure. It’s about walk, don’t walk. It’s about when you see the green light, you have to go. It’s about being prepared and movement and about having made a decision to do something. Once you’re in the middle of the road, you can’t stop crossing the road. Gotta keep going.

I like the quote by Carlos Castaneda: “Making a decision is not just choosing arbitrary dates; it’s being impeccably prepared.” I like that. I’ve got this little voice saying, “Get ready, get ready, get ready. What do I need for that journey? Got my backpack, my hiking boots…” In the same way, you’ve got your studio, got your paints out, everything in its place. Being organised; that’s very important. I think I’ve veered off topic.

Two piece Stik created for “Walk”

LLO: Let’s go back to where you were three years ago. When I first met you, you were living in a hostel. Have you moved on from that now?
Stik: I stayed in a hostel for a year and a half and I used that time to really blitz the street. I did a big piece every month. I’m renting a flat now. I now have a monthly article in the local newspaper – in the Hackney Citizen. Each of those is a step for me. It’s this walk, walk, walk thing, moving on, putting down tracks. When you meet somebody and they see your footsteps leading into the horizon, they can look at you and say, “Fucking hell. Well, you’ve come far, haven’t you?”

A very paint-splattered Stik at work

LLO: You have come far in the three years since I first met you.
Stik: Yea, I have. And also I’m now engaging with organisations I previously felt intimidated by – like when the council calls now, it’s not always bad news. Sometimes they ask me to do things for them. It’s just engaging with things that before I found hugely intimidating. I did a project with the NHS as well. Did lots of Stik on drugs. Stik men on drugs, not me (laughs). It was for an addiction education website.

LLO: One thing I just picked up on is that in the first interview you told me Stik is androgynous. Now you’re calling them “Stik Men”. Have you changed your mind?Stik: Maybe they’re androgynous men? No, they’re Stik People, but Stik People just doesn’t sound right. A lot of them are definitely women. Or they might be ninjas. Stick Men sounds better somehow. Stik People is really long-winded. Everyone calls them Stik Men. I think gender is a really big part of my work though. Gender and age. They’re two of my biggest subjects.

Photo Credit: Mare Street Chimney by Claudie Crommelin

LLO: Why do gender and age interest you so much?
Stik: They’re the two biggest ghettos of the human race. Forget race, creed, religion. Age and gender are just so loaded. There’s so much socially between men and women that needs to be explored. Also, between old and young, there’s this immense fear. Kids now may as well be in another universe some of the time. I really feel responsible to what’s happened to kids these days. It’s us that’s put them in that position. I think the way childhood is treated as a concept is not right. We think, Who are these people around us? What function do children serve? They’re kids!

Red Stik for “Walk”

LLO: A few months ago, you put a piece up outside of a police station and a lot of your pieces are put up illegally. Is the risk factor a big thing for you?
Stik: That piece sold! I put it on a wall and the people whose wall it was were actually a charity that works with young kids. The piece was about surveillance of youth. I said to the charity that they can have it. I linked them up to a gallery in Pimlico and it sold for £5,800. That money will be going toward a youth project with street art. So it’s boom! – full circle. That’s going to fund the project with that money. That’s where I’m at; that’s what I’m about, man. Yea, that’s what I’m about.

Stik in contemplation mode


Yea, it’s true…there’s still more to come.
He was very cooperative and let me ask all my nosy questions.
Stik Interview (Part 3) coming tomorrow!


WALK – Exhibition Details:
 19 April, 2012 – 10 May, 2012
Venue: Intimate Modern, 27a Devonshire Street, London W1G 6PN 
Opening Hours: Monday – Saturday 10am – 6pm
Phone: +44 207 486 9927
Other Interesting Information: The gallery will also host the long awaited launch of Stik’s new print also entitled ‘Walk’, produced by Squarity.

London Art Spot: Stik Interview (Part 1)

Stik strolled into the trendy Pitfield cafe down the street from his studio to meet me yesterday afternoon in his very paint-splattered clothes, but no mysterious hat or sunglasses covering his face. We ordered Earl Grey tea (his with soya) and he asked for a powdered croissant. I waited while he chatted with his PR team and another journalist who wanted to set up an interview, Stik making notes in his already-full black diary.

Continue reading