This print’s image originates in a mural painted by Stik on a building on East 9th Street and Avenue A in New York City in collaboration with the Dorian Grey Gallery.
The original mural is located on the edge of Tompkins Square park, a site with a history of protest to which Liberty alludes. The 10-acre park (the only one on the Lower East Side at the time) provided a place of respite for local workers in the 1800s. To protest the absence of unemployment aid, hundreds of workers from throughout the city congregated in the park in 1874. Later, In 1967, police assaulted peaceful demonstrators opposing heightened policing of public meetings in the park.
The way in which Liberty pays tribute to a place of respite for marginalised groups parallels how the artist envisions the street as a secure home for his stick figures: “I wanted to keep him safe. I’ve always been drawing living things, and I didn’t want them to stay on paper. I feel they are safer on the streets. And it is also my signal to the world that I exist – somewhat in the vein of a graffiti artist. The street is like a theatre. When I get up there, I join the dialog. My art becomes my voice.”