Stik started painting unofficial, socially conscious murals in his hometown of Hackney, East London in 2001. His simple stick figures wordlessly tell the story of his community and he frequently collaborates with hospitals, charities and homeless organizations. Working from his East London studio, these projects are largely self-funded and he now creates monumental artworks with communities across the world.
PUT YOUR NAME ON BACK OF YOUR PAPER
·Draw with a pencil a stick figure similar to Stik, the artist’s stick figure
·No mouth, hands, or feet
·Use 12×18 Colored Construction Paper. Paint the “Stik” figure white like his work.
·Outline your stick figure when it dries with a BLACK oil pastel / paint or Marker. Yes, you can use hair dryer to dry quicker.
·Put on drying rack
·Clean up paint
I lead with this lesson on Street Art and follow up with a Graffiti lesson using our Character Education words
Stencil Revolution » Artists » Stik Street Artist Biography
Stik Street Artist Biography
“It’s the only thing in my life that I feel this strongly about.”
Stik makes for an odd figure in the world of street art. He creates cunningly simple lines and shapes that echo the nave drawings of children the world over. Yet the work is deceptively frank in appearance and meaning.
The artist’s painted community of stick men, women and children reside throughout London’s streetscape. Each location is carefully considered, and many are regularly revisited and maintained. These seemingly lost and forlorn figures could reflect Stik himself and his experience of homelessness. Perhaps it’s his way of making sure these characters have a home. He has stated, “My pieces are about moving through the cityscape and feeling insecure.”
The great unknown
What is known of Stik’s life would fill a very small piece of a very small wall. The English street artist was born in the mid-1980s. He claims to have always drawn, and that he found graffiti a natural evolution of his creativity. With no formal art education, he learned from other street artists, in particular Doze, Roa, Run and Zomby. Sightings of his signature stick figures in London began in 2002.
He maintains an anonymous persona, shielding his real self behind his image as a quiet and unassuming artist. There is, however, one biographical reference he emphasizes, and that is his period of homelessness. It’s a subject that his words often revisit, a theme that exists beneath the surface of his paintings.
Stik became homeless some time around the year 2000, the circumstances of which remain unexplained. He endured destitution for a period lasting approximately 10 years. He regularly relied on the generosity of friends for a place to stay, sofa-jumping day by day, but he also spent many nights in abandoned buildings. Stik lived through a lot of violence on the streets, and he recalls many times when he felt his life was in danger and he expected to die.
The winter of 2009 proved a turning point for Stik when a drop-in center helped him relocate to St. Mungo’s hostel in Hackney. His life at St. Mungo’s turned into a productive period for his street work. He acknowledges that the pursuit of art gave him the purpose and focus that pulled him of out homelessness.
Stik has kept a low profile as his recognition has increased, both for himself and his work (fans include Elton John, Bono and the Duke of Kent). He volunteers his time to art workshops and often gives back through donations of his work and time.
The artist originally used the name in reference to his drawn characters until people started to call him by it. After a while, the tag just seemed to “stick.”
The art of street art
“Art is free unless you’re selling it.”
Stik’s approach to public spaces is careful and considered. His view is to fit in with the immediate architecture and location, and he’ll never bomb a street or community ” he professes no interest in owning a street. Part of his work ethic includes returning to every painting as often as he can in order to clean it up from dirt and tagging. On more than one occasion, he’s said that he spends more time cleaning graffiti from his graffiti than he does making graffiti.
Stik’s beliefs concerning the nature of graffiti and art reflect a traditional, romantic ideology of the street. “Artistic statements should be free from censorship,” he says. “Sometimes you have to justify a price tag, but you shouldn’t have to justify art itself.”
Stik hasn’t exactly termed contemporary advertising a plague, but he’s by no means a fan. It’s a multi-faceted issue for him, revolving around ideas of art and commercialism. He considers it a matter of rights, a matter of who owns the streets. Balled up in the midst of the debate, he thinks graffiti is essential to urban life. He has talked about graffiti being less about breaking laws and more about changing laws.
“Street art is really an important medium because it’s completely uncensored. It’s an environmental medium. Actually, you are using your environment. You are using the city as your medium. The street art scene is dialogue. It’s more than dialogue; it’s a whole forum for a discussion. And it has feedback. It’s the blueprint that social networking was based on ” writing on your wall.”
About those stick figures
“I’ve been drawing these characters forever.”
Stik quietly confronts his audience with the most unassuming imagery possible. The heads are round. The eyes are dots. Bodies are rectangles and simple lines become arms, hands and legs. An arc here, a lean there, a chosen curve of a line ” this is all he relies upon to convey emotion. “Body language is really like a direct language,” Stik observes. “Transitioning that to lines on a page or on a wall strikes directly to your heart.”
But they’re not merely stick figures. As Stik explains, his characters become a type of emotional shorthand to reflect how he feels. They’re silent and therefore have no mouths, and are meant only to observe. Part of Stik’s artistic principle is a conscious response to work that proclaims “look at me” ” he wants to create art that looks at back its audience.
Stik’s work appears at times so spare and bleak that its character and posture seems to convey a sense of questioning or longing, sometimes even despair. “A lot of my work is loaded with a kind of melancholy,” he admits, “but I do try to put a positive or a light bit of gravitas in it so people can actually relate to it and it feels like something human.”
Stik smiles whenever he talks about his graffiti pulling him out of his homeless nightmare. He’s obviously proud of his accomplishments, and at the same time humbled by the attention and his success. Nonetheless, one question commonly comes at him time and again: how long can you keep doing these characters?
“I think,” Stik grins widely, “there’s enough diversity in stick figures to keep me happy for another 10 years.”
For more detailed directions on this particular lesson by Kyle Maurey please click the links at the start of this post for details and examples.
Value The lightness or darkness of tones or colors. White is the lightest value; black is the darkest. The value halfway between these extremes is called middle gray. Space An element of art by which positive and negative areas are defined or a sense of depth achieved in a work of art .
Kyle, Maclay Upper School Art Teacher taught this lesson last year. See link below: http://2soulsisters.blogspot.com/2016/03/maclays-us-art-with-kyle-maurey-value.html The instructions are located on the Painting Project Rubric in the link above.
Again we have a fabulous Upper School Art Teacher at Maclay. I get to see all of the creative projects they do and so do my middle school kids! This lesson is a great way to teach our high school students about Value. It shows many facets of art.
Lesson Tip: Find a photo, use filters on phone to see how they look. There are many photography apps out now that allow you to manipulate digital photos.
I was most impressed with this lesson as everyone was successful at creating it. It is nice when you work in an environment and your Visual Arts Team’s enthusiasm is contagious to faculty, students and parents. Great job, Kyle and your Upper School students. Cathy, Kaitlyn and I are very lucky to have you on our team.
This canvas was created in the style of Rene Portocarrero by our Maclay Upper School Art Class with Kyle Maurey. Each illustration in the painting is a representation of a landmark in our city of Tallahassee, Florida. I think it turned out just so spectacular that I wanted to blog about it and share it with all of you guys!
Rene Portocarrero Biography. Was born in the neighborhood of El Cerro, Havana, in 1912. Start painting since early age and at 14, starts in San Alejandro. … His work was first exhibited in the Salon de Bellas Artes, in Havana. http://rogallery.com/Portocarrero_Rene/Portocarrero-bio.htm
Was born in the neighborhood of El Cerro, Havana, in 1912. Start painting since early age and at 14, starts in San Alejandro. Having a strong temperament and unable to adapt to this apprenticeship, leaves the institution and starts working on his own. His work was first exhibited in the Salon de Bellas Artes, in Havana. He was a professor at the Paintings and Sculptures Free Studies directed by Abela in 1939. Travels through Haiti, Europe and the US, where he opened an exhibition in the Julian Levy Gallery, in New York, in 1945. He has worked on many murals and ceramics.
His works are among the permanent collections of the Museums of Modern Arts of: Sao Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, New York, San Francisco; National Gallery in Canada; Bellas Artes, Caracas; Milwaukee Art Center; Union Panamericana, Washington; Modern Arts of Paris; Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; Art Museum, Indianapolis; Bellas Artes, Montevideo; Bellas Artes, Buenos Aires; Instituto de Arte Contemporaneo, Lima, Peru; Museo Nacional, Havana.
He has not stopped painting since his childhood and has never planned any of his work. He has no idea of what he will work on, until the brush is about to strike on canvas.
What makes a Rene Portocarrero a Rene Portocarrero? Cuban Artist Patterns City Scenes Collective History Painting Cityscapes Color
Links to Rene Portocarrero https://www.moma.org/artists/8514 https://www.artsy.net/artist/rene-portocarrero http://www.widewalls.ch/artist/rene-portocarrero/ http://www.artnet.com/artists/ren%C3%A9-portocarrero/catedral-a-nx1m3-ibB7JVGrUWSN9L4A2 https://www.artexpertswebsite.com/pages/artists/portocarrero.php
Thanks for dropping by…love how many ways you can use this artist to connect with your community and tie in art history too!
Our Lower School Art Teacher, Cathy Hicks did a fabulous job at teaching Mixed Media to her students. Check out these pieces of art.
She taught mixed media to her students and made them really see how their leaf painting could be brought to a different level instead of just a leaf on a book page. These pieces helped the students to see drawing, painting, and mixed media in one piece of art.
Fall colors were the subject matter. The kids LOVED the final effect instead of it just being a painting. The pieces were matted on warm colors and many used glitter as an added embellishment.
Way to go Cathy, thanks for sharing with me. It is so nice to be a part of a Visual Arts team that is always growing, learning and sharing with each other.
We just recently did a lesson on Sally King Benedict. Have you ever heard of her? If not, click link below to find out more:
We learned about Sally and I then showed my students some of her paintings and gave them her biography. I found that information here:
Sally King Benedict is an abstract artist whose work has quickly caught the eye of critics and collectors alike. Her vibrant and sophisticated work has been featured in various publications across the southeast and has warranted solo shows across the region. She was most recently featured in the August/September issue of Garden & Gun highlighting accomplished southern women. Sally grew up in Atlanta, frequently traveling and attending art openings, exhibits, and design shows, seeking inspiration from the work of both past and contemporary artists. She completed her education at the College of Charleston in 2007. Sally has the ability to create visual texture with a rich, adventurous color palette and expressive linear techniques.
To learn more about the College of Charleston’s Art Department see link
Last year as we were planning for our annual school auction, I had a friend, Morgan, ask me if I had ever seen as of Benedict’s work. I was not familiar with her style but I immediately began to search for information on her starting with Instagram. @sallykingbenedict
Check it out you will be glad you did. It made me want to grab a paint brush and create.
It was interesting the way each student approached this lesson because they are all so unique. We had the same supplies. The same reference resources on Benedict and I am blown away with the finished products. We discussed facial features and using the whole page as well as the elements and principles of art.