Street Art and Classical Art meet in Dulwich.
Stik’s art is well known on the streets in East London, and now it will be seen in Dulwich. One of the capital’s most influential street artists has been inspired by the old master paintings in Dulwich Picture Gallery and is bringing them to the streets this month in his own inimitable style so that others can be inspired too.
Everyone can identify with his figures because they are all about human feelings and emotions, love, anger, joy, fear, jealousy, pride, friendship and very often, vulnerability, which we have all experienced.
Stik’s figures are stripped down to the pure essence of a human being. He does not confuse the message with clothes, hair or any props which could imply status or wealth; his people are not individuals who may be beautiful or ugly, old or young, black or white, they are generalised figures packed with feelings that everyone can recognise. His is a universal language that transcends period, gender, education and age.
When Stik visited the old masters in the permanent collection at Dulwich Picture Gallery recently, he did not see Gainsboroughs, Rubens, Poussins or Murillos, he saw a deep friendship between two sisters, a conflict between love and hate, an adult helping a child.
It is this aspect of the old master paintings that he has reinterpreted in his own style, and amazingly, without the help of costume or background, tone or colour, they are instantly recognisable. In fact perhaps you learn a little more about the picture than when, impressed by the artist, you marvel at the brush strokes, the perspective and the nuanced chiaroscuro, but miss the essence.
It is not easily done. His simple lines create a very subtle body language. And for facial expression there are only eyes. Mouths are hugely helpful in expressing feeling, but Stik seems to manage without them.
A child clings to its mother’s hip for safety and security, and from that vantage point has the courage to watch passersby. The mother looks in another direction, secure in the knowledge that she is protecting her child so can continue on her way.
Stik is now taking classical art out of the museums where it is revered and guarded and can be off putting to ordinary people. He is demystifying it and making it accessible to all.
These interpretations of old masters will be seen around Dulwich in May as part of the Dulwich Festival. A reproduction of the Dulwich Picture Gallery original will be found near the street work, with directions as to where to find Stik’s original inspiration.
Stik’s Dulwich works will bridge the gap between street art and classical art to the benefit of both genres.
Stik and Ingrid Beazley will be leading a walk around his Dulwich pieces on Saturday 19 May at 2.30pm starting at Push Studios, Blackwater Court, Blackwater Street and ending at Dulwich Picture Gallery. More info on the Dulwich Festival website.
Due to popular demand there is a possibility of another walk on Sunday 20 May. Keep an eye on the DF website.
Evening Standard Article – Cult Graffiti artist Stik swaps a life on the streets for starry client list
Street Art London – Interview with Stik
‘Walk’ - Stik’s sell out show at Imitate Modern – everything sold out within 5 minutes of the doors opening and many pieces can be found on eBay selling for up to five times its original value.