Giveaway: Stik Street Art Postcard

I have 10 Photo Larks postcards to give away featuring a piece by street artist Stik in East London. They are black and white and fabulous, something to stick on that bulletin board at work, right?  🙂

Stik

Want a reason to get excited for the post for the next few days? All you have to do is leave a link to Little London Observationist on one of your social media platforms (Twitter, Facebook, your own blog, etc) and send me your name and address and let me know where you shared the link!

Email me at stephanie.sadler.23@gmail.com or get in touch via Facebook.

First 10 to share the link and send their address get the cards. Open worldwide. Have fun!

CONTEST CLOSED! All 10 have been claimed. Stay tuned. There will be another postcard giveaway soon. Feel free to keep promoting the LLO link though! 😉

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Shiny New Stik Street Art

What’s better than catching an artist at work? Alex Ellison was in the right place at the right time (ie – the carpark in Leonard Street/Great Eastern Street) when he spotted Stik on scaffolding painting away a gigantic new figure. Here’s some photos from Alex (who I interviewed here if you missed it):

Stik - in progress

Stik - in progress

Stik - in progress

 

And if you’re looking for more Stik, type in a search on the right. There’s plenty on LLO to find. Also, a three part interview with Stik here.

If you’ve taken a shot of the new Stik without the scaffolding, add it to the Flickr pool please!

London Art Spot: Stik Interview (Part 3)

Stik at work in the studio

Are you enjoying the massive Stik interview?
If you missed part 1 and part 2, head back.
This is the third and final instalment of the Stik conversation.

I just want to give a big thanks to Stik for giving me so much of his time, letting me ask loads of questions and taking me into his studio that so many people take pictures of from the outside. 

Stik is a real inspiration to me, the way he’s managed (like so many of us would love to be able to do) to take his passion and turn it into a career (and not only a career but a career that encourages other people as well). It amazes me that just over three years ago he was homeless and now people like Bono, The Duke of Kent and Antony Gormley have his art on their walls. Makes my head spin. 

And so, the final words from Stik.

Stik
The original studio door pieces. Photo by Gautier Houba.

LLO: How many pieces do you have in the “Walk” exhibition?

Stik: Six big canvases, one sculpture, some traffic lights depending on how many bread and a whole load of prints.

LLO: How long have you been working on these pieces?

Stik: All winter.

LLO: So what’s the price range?

Stik: We haven’t decided that yet. But that’s important. That’s like my inner dialogue shown on the piece on the front of my studio, carrying the painting thinking, “Do I sell it? Do I give it away? Gotta pay the rent. Gotta buy paint…” I’m trying to not cut people out of the equation, but also keep myself in the equation.

Canvas paintings for “Walk”

LLO: You have two studios now?

Stik: Yes, one on Well Street and this one on Pitfield Street which is just for my canvases.

LLO: So far in 2012, what would you say is your favourite piece?

Stik: My favourite piece would be the piece on the front of the studio (see part 1 for photo). That was my most meaningful piece. It was a two stage piece and when the second one came out, my style was different. The heads were smaller, the legs were longer and there’s more expression in the body.

Mare Street Sleeper by Claudie Crommelin

LLO: So since our last interview, in what other ways would you say your style has changed?

Stik: I’ve elongated them. They’re more curvy. Still only five lines, a circle and two dots for eyes. They’re very compound curves. I’ve got some nice long words. Compound curves is when a curve takes more than one turn. I like that. It’s like when you’re singing a certain note, it goes from one note to the next but you can take a meander. I like to have the curve of the shoulder and drawing in of the back, the hip, the thigh coming out, the back of the knee, the calf, the kick of the ankle and the tuck of the foot. That’s all just one line but it’s got like six different bends in it. There’s something really addictive about having that focus.

Painting the dog

LLO: Do you work from photographs or memory?

Stik: Sometimes the memory of a photograph, but I like to work from life, get a gist of people. Then they look at it and say, “Oh my god, it’s me!”

LLO: You should make me a Little London Observationist mascot.

Stik: Yea sure. Yea, I’ll do that.

Stik
Photo: Off Laurel Street, E8, by Alex Ellison

LLO: Tell me about the Dulwich Festival project where you’ve been commissioned to paint graffiti versions of some classical era paintings.

Stik: I’m getting coaching from an art historian, Ingrid. I didn’t go to art school so I didn’t really know about the history of art. The project is with Dulwich Festival but the pieces I’m using to work from are in the Dulwich Picture Gallery. I’m taking six of the classical era paintings, people like Rubens and Gainsborough. I’m studying the originals. I’ll go into the gallery and draw them. Ingrid’s showing me what the people are looking at, what they’re thinking, where they’re going, where they’ve been, what their social status is. It’s really fascinating. It’s all about mannerisms. I’m doing Stik versions of the figures with my usual very simple line drawings and block colour backgrounds. We’re going to take people around on a walk, do a little talk about it as well.

 Photo: Pole Dancer by Claudie Crommelin

LLO: Where did your interest in the project stem from?

Stik: It’s taking the gallery art to the street. I’ve spent the last year taking street art to the galleries. A lot of people don’t ever go to galleries so street art may be a lot of people’s first experience of art. The Picture Gallery was the first national gallery in England. The gallery is for the people. This is bringing it out even further and sharing it amongst the people. Once you get past the layers and age of the old paintings, it’s still just some bloke or woman, just normal people in a baker shop or down the pub. It’s nice to strip away that veneer of classicism that makes it feel like it has nothing to do with us because actually it does. It’s just people, just about humans. I’ll get off my soapbox now. Next question!

LLO: I heard you were sketching on the “front line” of the London Riots.

Stik: Yea! It was pretty real. Pretty real. It was a revolt. They were riots and they were real like the riots in Brixton and other such riots and they can’t be ignored. I wanted to go and document them in a neutral way.

Stik
Photo by Alex Ellison

LLO: What happened to those pieces?
Stik: I turned them into a mural on Clarence Mews in Clapham. It’s a nice little backstreet and I did a piece with kids and flames. Kids and flames. That symbol really epitomizes where kids are at the moment. It’s very volatile. Kids aren’t in a good place today.
LLO: Yea, like we were talking about earlier.
Stik: Ah, yea, I’m sorry. I’ve had three interviews today and can’t remember what I’ve said to you or to somebody else (laughs).
LLO: That’s okay.
Stik: (puts on a lisp) Oh, you’re nothing special, just one of the many (laughs again).
LLO: Thanks Stik. I appreciate it. I’m telling Jayd what you said.
Stik: Hahaha. Listen to me. I’m only joking.
LLO: Well, you’re famous now so it’s to be expected.
Stik: Yea, I’m so famous I can’t keep track of who people are. I’m sorry. Who are you again?
LLO: I see where this is going. Soon you won’t talk to me at all.
Stik: Aw, shut up. Yea, I’ll be like “Oh, I haven’t got the time. I’ll put you through to my PR.” I’ve already done that. I feel like such an asshole doing that. Nah, there’s always time for the Little London Observationist. (grins)

Stik
Photo: Mare Street by Alex Ellison

LLO: Good news. So, you were saying? The riots?
Stik: It was a revolt. It was something really uncanny, really strange. I wanted to document it because I wanted to show it was the thing that happened and there was so much hype around it. This happened here and it was from us. We as a people made this happen. This is my way of engaging, my way of explaining the world to myself. Mainly it has to be perfect for me. Oh, what is that word? Cohesion! There’s another grammatical form of it. Coalesce? Yea, that’s it. It has to coalesce.

(Stik glances back out the window. “Wow! Was that a horse? No, a combination of a bike going by and horse-like music in the caff. Wow, have you seen a psychiatrist lately? No, just horses…”)

LLO: (laughs and rolls eyes) So, you were actually sitting on the street while the riots happened?
Stik: Yea, I was actually there on the “front line” drawing. People asked what I was doing and I said, “I’m drawing a picture of you. Is that alright?” They were like, “Yea, whatever”.

LLO: Did anyone try to steal your pictures?
Stik: No, they just said, “Oh. You. It’s you. Well, that’s alright.”

Canvas pieces for “Walk”

LLO: What happens after “Walk”?
Stik: Then the Dulwich Festival and then I’m going to Paris to paint a wall. I’ve got a mate with some walls. Someone secretive. We do that for each other, street artists. We say, I’ve got a nice wall for you. Won’t work for my stuff but it’s good for you. I always get the verticals, the columns. I try not to get more than one painting on a street as well. It’s self-censorship. I don’t want people to get sick of my stuff. Sometimes I go and change the eyes in different directions so people don’t get bored of it.

LLO: So apart from yourself, who’s the biggest artist on the streets of London right now?
Stik: ROA is brilliant. I like ROA. He’s a mate. Very elusive, but back in town. Also, I like RUN. He’s a good bloke. And I like the people who write their names on trains as well. There’s something quite primal about that. It is a bit naughty though. And I really like Zomby. He’s a mate as well.

LLO: Excellent, thanks Stik. Anything you’d like to add?
Stik: Pinch of salt. And let’s get a hug now. (Hugs!)

The End.

____________________________

WALK – Exhibition Details:
Dates:
 
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
Website: 
http://imitatemodern.com/exhibitions/walk-by-stik/
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 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.
Stik:
“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:
Dates:
 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
Website: http://imitatemodern.com/exhibitions/walk-by-stik/
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.

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