- Words by Kristy Calabro
STIK With It, Things Will Get Better
What do you get when you add together 6 lines plus 2 dots? It’s the fastest way to create the human form, on the streets, without getting caught. STIK realized this when he first started painting around the London borough of Hackney. The figures, first represented his struggles when he was homeless and how hard it was to find shelter. STIK lived in abandoned buildings and squatted with political activists. With the help of his friends and mentor, he was able to get back on his feet and on his way to becoming a full time artist. STIK was so moved by this support, that the community became an important theme in his work.
“Social change seems to be the only function of art” - STIK
STIK’s figures, added a certain quality to the streets and humanized many of the structures they appeared on. They spoke on behalf of the community and would bring awareness to many social issues like gentrification, the government and the housing crisis in the UK. STIK donates to many causes and works with hospitals, charities and homeless centers. He also offers grants to local LGBTQ organizations.
People will relate to STIK’s pieces, no matter what part of the world he puts them in. Whether they’re found in Japan, Norway or New York City, these figures are speaking a universal language that cross all cultures and all barriers.
STIK has an affinity to the Lower East Side of Manhattan because it reminds him of London’s East End. The new, 7 story mural at the corner of Delancey and Allen Street sits adjacent to the Tenement Museum. It coincides with an exhibition at Fat Free Art Gallery, (who also sponsored the mural) that will showcase STIK’s working drawings and artwork. Part of the STIK exhibition will be a charity fundraiser for the Tenement Museum. Proceeds of the mural poster sales will benefit the museum’s Shared Journeys program, that provides English language workshops to immigrants and immerses them into this ever evolving neighborhood, where they will learn the history and culture of the Lower East Side.
STIK describes the mural as - “A timid giant peering out from behind a column, hoping to make his home in the big new city.” The message of this particular figure, is solidarity with the immigrants of this NYC community. Allen Street is unofficially known as “Avenue of the Immigrants” for its rich cultural history and diverse community of Chinese, Italian, Polish and Jewish immigrants.
You could say that the Lower East Side has it’s own rags to riches story just like STIK. It’s appropriate that his artwork is being showcased here, at Fat Free Art Gallery.
The mural is self-funded by STIK and Fat Free Art gallery through the exhibition
Public Opening: June 29th 6PM-10PM
FAT FREE ART 102 Allen Street, NYC 10002 212-343-8333