Stik (Hackney, East-London, 1979) is a British street artist whose private life is still unknown.
All that is known about him is that for years he lived in homeless shelters and that is a self-taught artist. Stik began his career in his early twenties, when he started painting unofficial socially conscious murals on the side walls of buildings in his hometown of Hackney in 2001.
Stik: works and techniques
Stik’s style is simple and his stylised little men come to life by assembling basic figures such as dots, lines and circles. In his works, Stik uses an essential palette of black and white, sometimes accompanied by garish solid colours applied flatly. Despite their simplicity, his works carry strong messages. They are always designed with the community in mind and convey the artist’s stance on the social causes Stik believes in and fights for: homelessness, solidarity, the rights of the LGBTQ+ community, the promotion of art and the destruction of social housing. One of the best known and best loved murals of Stik, Big Mother, has become a symbol of protest against the destruction of social housing. Painted in 2014 on the south side of the Charles Hocking House social housing tower, Big Mother, at 38.2 metres high, was the tallest mural in Britain. In this work, Stik depicts a mother and child gazing sadly at the west London skyline. The mural was demolished, but Stik allowed the locals to save part of it, auctioning it off so they could benefit from the proceeds. The work by Stik Holding Hands is one of his most important and iconic subjects: two stylised little men facing in opposite directions holding hands as a sign of universal love and solidarity.
Stik: charity and solidarity
Given his personal experience as a homeless person, Stik has repeatedly stated that he feels indebted to the community that, especially at the beginning of his career, supported him and allowed him to become what he is today. For this reason, each of his works is conceived as a donation to the community. Proof of this is the fact that the street artist Stik has on several occasions entrusted his works to famous auction houses such as Christies and Sotheby’s so that the proceeds could be donated to charity. Another example dates back to 2018, when a rare sculpture made by the artist at his behest was auctioned by Christies to help the homeless theatre company Cardboard Citizens and fund local theatre projects.
Stik: walls and collaborations
Stik’s works have been featured in important collaborations including with Amnesty International and the Reclaim the Streets collective. Today, his walls can be seen in Europe, America and Asia and his artworks are increasingly a rarity and coveted by collectors.