5 Year Print Market Review 2023


Stik's Walk series shows his long-limbed stickman slightly off-kilter, looking ahead out of the frame. Ironically, the figure doesn't explicitly appear to be walking, but this speaks to Stik's nuanced artistry. The series explores the ephemerality of seeing in motion, evoking the fleeting glance taken in a city in motion.

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Meaning & Analysis

Deceptively simple at first glance, Stik’s Walk series captures how the stick-figure can raise many questions about movement and urban experience. The central motif of the series was first seen at an exhibition of the same name at the Imitate Modern gallery in London, featuring a range of canvas prints, sculptures and lightboxes.

Of the exhibition, STIK has remarked: 'This show is about movement, about moving forwards as a person, as an artist. I wanted to get that feeling of taking a step and being tentative, moving forward cautiously, but trying to think about where I’m going and what I’m taking with me'. The figure in the Walk prints is classic STIK: long-limbed, standing precariously, eyes looking directly to the side.

The irony of the image is perhaps in that the stickman is not obviously walking; there is the merest suggestion of movement. The clearest indication of motion is the steadfast gaze to the left, anticipating the figure’s forward steps. The title of the exhibition and this print series perhaps gestures towards the inherent movement of seeing - the spectator’s fleeting glance at the city in motion.

Not only can the series and exhibition be read as an exploration of one of the most important themes in STIK’s oeuvre, the experience of moving in urban space, but also an exploration of the evolution of the artist’s style through the years: an evolution which has been noted via dialogue with the city. ‘People have seen me through my artistic journey... People comment ‘oh I do my eyes differently’ or ‘the lines are a bit thicker' or ‘my colours have changed’, and it’s nice for people to have witnessed my development as an artist”. STIK’s style has evolved alongside the changing face of the city.

One particularly notable piece from the exhibition is a traffic lightbox with red and green lights, their glass surfaces graffitied with a standing and a moving stickman respectively. This is another instance of STIK taking the street into the art gallery, bringing the vibrancy, instability and harsh materials of the urban exterior into the tightly controlled, comfortable space of an exhibition. The juxtaposition of the ‘stop’ and ‘go’ figures materialises the inherent tension between stasis and movement captured in each of the artist’s stickmen.

10 Facts About Stik's Walk

Walk (blue) by Stik

Walk (blue) © Stik, 2012

1. Stik's walking figures represent the ceaseless movement of the city.

Though Stik's figures are completely stationary, they give the illusion of moving through gesture. Throughout his street art career, Stik has used the city as his canvas, and his iconic figures reflect the continuous movement of urban life.

Deep (teal) by Stik

Deep (teal) © Stik 2011

2. Stik's figures represent the vulnerability of the human condition.

While a lot of Stik's work is characterised by vibrant and cheerful colour, the figures themselves have a melancholic quality. Many of Stik's figures, like those in his Walk series, symbolise the fragility and vulnerability inherent in mankind which can only be diffused with togetherness.

Walk (grey) by Stik

Walk (grey) © Stik, 2012

3. The series is semi-biographical.

In an interview about his Walk exhibition, Stik explained that the show was about "movement and moving forwards as a person and an artist". The exhibition was planned while Stik was homeless, making this message all the more poignant. The series, and the walking figures that populate it, allude to Stik's own striding towards the future.

Walk (red) by Stik

Walk (red) © Stik, 2012

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