Onbu (pink) shows a figure giving another a piggyback over the Seto River in Japan, inspired by a fragment from Hiroshige’s The Fifty-Three Stations Of The Tokaido Road.
While Stik remarks that ‘I started drawing stick people when I was old enough to pick up a pencil, and I just never really stopped,’ it is also the case that his iconic style was largely inspired by his years spent in Japan. He remarks: ‘I lived in Japan for almost a year in my late teens and picked up this style of drawing, which is closely connected to writing as a shorthand for conveying emotion. It developed from there’.
Onbu is a direct acknowledgement of the Japanese influences behind the stickman, and also one of many depictions of two stickmen in physical contact within Stik’s oeuvre. It is highly reminiscent of Big Mother and Holding Hands, especially in the way in which the figures’ direct their gaze in opposite directions, creating an air of trepidation despite the physical proximity.