Stik’s street art sale will raise £50,000 for hospital which saved his life
PUBLISHED: 13:13 23 September 2015 | UPDATED: 13:35 23 September 2015
Silk screen prints of a sleeping baby replicating a mural that Stik has painted at Homerton will be sold off tomorrow night, to raise £50,000 for the NHS hospital which he credits with saving his life.
The street artist, who has painted his stick-figure like characters across the globe from New York to Tokyo, spent years living on the streets before he found fame, where he sadly came under attack from thugs on more than one occasion.
“Homerton Hospital is my first port of call and when you are homeless stuff happens, I’ve been rushed to A and E more than once,” he told the Gazette.
“It’s horrible being homeless, you are very vulnerable, Homerton patched me up. Homerton is very important to me.”
Each of the 100 prints costs £500, and the money will go towards the neurological rehabilitation unit’s art room, to help rehabilitate patients with brain injuries, along with art workshops for people with dementia at the elderly care unit.
“I wanted to do something to show the transformative power of art, not just politically but medically as well,” said Stik who gets invites from all over the world to paint his huge murals, many of which offer social comment.
“The money will go towards funding art therapy teachers and buying equipment, of course with the cuts these are the first services to go.
“I believe in the hospital and I believe in keeping it public and not selling it off,” added Stik, referring to The Health and Social Care Act which was introduced by the Conservative and Lib Dem government, which has paved the way for private companies to tender for health services in direct competition with the NHS.
“We have been left holding the baby and we are going to protect it.
“Everyone who is buys a print is donating to the NHS, it’s important to reiterate that this is not a private donation, this is helping the public to generate money for the NHS – but it’s a drop in the ocean and it’s not a viable means to keep the NHS running, the NHS is not going to continue solely on artists generating art work,” said Stik, whose works hang in the homes of musicians Elton John, Bono and Brian May.
Stik, who lived in homeless hostel St Mungo’s in Mare Street and dodged police to put his mark on the city, has always wanted to do something to “give something back” to the hospital.
With the release of his self-titled book last month, which is topping the non fiction book charts at number one, he felt that the time was right to draw enough publicity to the sale. More than 500 people turned up to the book launch in central London last month.
The book documents many of his works over the past decade, from his beginnings painting along the Regent’s Canal and on the Tube network, to his latest figures in New York, Tokyo and Acton in London where he has painted the tallest piece of street art in the UK, standing at 125 feet (38m).
The Homerton mural was not in the book, although it was supposed to be – but the book was a year late already because he wanted to make sure the ones in New York, Norway and Acton were in it.
“It almost killed me,” he said.
“I hadn’t even signed the contract, it was incredibly stressful, it was a year of holding my nerve and saying I need to finish these three – Big Mother was the final piece in the puzzle.”
“It’s very much like an underscore for me now, the end of one chapter and beginning of new chapter - the Homerton piece is the start of the next chapter.
“I’ve gone from reflecting on my own state, I was living in St Mungo’s hostel and the pieces were very much about my loneliness and my struggle but gradually as my life situation improved I was able to reflect on other causes. So I started talking about homelessness in general and the cuts to the NHS and other important social issues that I can now embrace and see because my life is improving.
“I’m not sure where the next chapter is going to take me but I think it’s going to be engaging with society on a deeper level.
“In a way it’s still the same as when I was running out in the night with a spray can and spraying on the wall, it’s sort of like that but on a much bigger level now.”
A Department of Health spokesperson said: “We are investing the additional £8 billion that the NHS has said it needs to implement its own plan for the future.
“We know that the environment is tough but the NHS must deliver its side of the plan, by implementing the sort of cost-control initiatives the government has highlighted recently, like clamping down on staffing agencies and expensive management consultants.”
The sale takes place tomorrow evening from 5pm to 8pm in the Education Centre at the hospital in Homerton Row, Homerton.
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