Monday, 31 August 2015

The true mystery of the world is the visible, not the invisible

not-actually-Stik, actual Cerne Abbas Giant, not-actually-MyDogSighs obviously

Everybody graffitis sometime.  Maybe it's just on a post-it note while you're on the phone, Maybe down the side of a magazine.  Then it's a small step to adding a moustache and an eye patch to that photo of a model.  You start to make your mark.  The moustache and eye patch could be viewed as
1. a bored doodle
2. wilful damage
3. a critique of capitalist society, sexism and the fall of the Roman Empire.

Same is true on the street.  The intention of the graffiti artist may have been 
1. absent minded
2. wilful damage, demonstrating a disconnect from mainstream society and the need to reclaim his/her environment
3. an attempt to provide social commentary and even improve the locale, 

Former-homeless-person now published-author Stik has spoken about feeling invisible and the creation of the Stik people was his way of showing "I'm here!"  Before long the Stik people became part of the community, at the same time reflecting back.

At one level the 125 ft high Big Mother and Child on the Charles Hocking house (left) is simply something that brightens up the area.  At the same time the Mother is looking sadly at the change all around and the Child just looks scared.  The area is being redeveloped, homes are being cleared, communities are being uprooted. Charles Hocking is being demolished next year.  The new homes will be unaffordable for those who currently live in the area.

And the planes flying over every 20 seconds to Heathrow Airport provide the best viewing platform.  So, for many travellers their first sight of London will be a giant sad parent and scared child.  Or is it the last sight on leaving?  Either way Stik is no longer invisible.

Stik has also said that one of his inspirations has been the chalk hill figures in the south of England. Figures like the Cerne Abbas giant at the top of the page, the Long Man of Wilmington and the Uffington White Horse.

We have no way of knowing for certain the purpose behind these chalk figures.  They may have been to commemorate a battle won or a leader who died.  Maybe a commissioned piece of art  like the Angel of the North.  There may have been a prehistoric Andrew Gormley.  And a committee headed by Nicholas Serota and Charles Saatchi.  Maybe a non-commissioned work like a Stik.  Or maybe it was just the tribe saying WE ARE HERE.

Stik people are much loved.  Here's the moment when three Street Art tours of Shoreditch met in front of a Stik.

And here's more more Stiks.  Just because.

 Stik's former studio, currently being converted to apartments

Another Shoreditch building being demolished - but it looks like they're preserving Stik's wall.

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