Contemporary Print Market Report

Big Issue

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Critical Review

Released as a collection of posters, Stik’s ambitious 2013 project The Big Issue, aimed to transform London’s Big Issue sellers into art dealers. The 75,000 prints could only be found in editions of the magazine, released on March 11th 2013. The magazine, bought by vendors for £1.25 per copy and sold for £2.50, was founded as an initiative to provide opportunities for the homeless community.

Describing the figure in the print as ‘just standing, looking’, Stik describes restarting work on the print due to dissatisfaction with a lack of ‘balance’ in his original composition. The print depicts a stickman standing squarely, arms dangling, looking forlornly down to the right. The project was funded by an advertising company that failed to gain Stik’s permission before using his work in a campaign. Together with removing the advert, they agreed to fund the poster project.

Stik intended to give back to the homeless community with this series of posters. The artist was himself homeless in 2011 and has stated that his stick men were influenced by this turbulent experience, reflecting the status of the homeless in their presence in the streets yet invisibility in society: 'Being homeless is one of the most debilitating things that can happen to an individual. All the support systems rely on you having a home. My stick figures don’t have mouths, they are silent, but people see them. Most homeless people are invisible as well as silent. The Big Issue gives them a voice and I hope this collaboration reminds people that the people selling The Big Issue are trying really hard to help themselves and to get out there and speak to them.'