Street Art has something ‘BIG’ to say

The streets are the world’s biggest art gallery, communicating to the community in an everyday setting. Big Issue Vendors do just the same, visibly working in the community, vying for customer attention and challenging perceptions of homeless people as they seek to work their way out of homelessness.

On the week beginning Monday March the 11th, Big Issue vendors will become the unique distributors of an exclusive series of posters by the world renowned street artist, Stik. The posters will only be available in the Big Issue magazine for 1 week. There are 4 different versions to collect and, to get hold of them, the public will need to find a vendor and buy their magazine; the starting point of change for vendors country wide.

There is also an exclusive new Stik graffiti mural in one of our offices, symbolizing hope and inspiration to the vending community.

There is a big difference between ‘homeless people’ and ‘people who are homeless’. This project challenges the notion that the ‘homeless’ are invisible in the most practical of ways. The prints are in 4 different colours, some rarer than others. This collaboration reminds us that Big Issue vendors are diverse, are micro-entrepreneurs and, for the week, are art dealers with something very special to offer with their magazines’.

Big Issue vendors seek to help themselves and the Big Issue Foundation helps them with their journey, wherever it may take them.

Stephen Robertson, CEO of the Big Issue Foundation, said:  “When we were approached by the artist with the offer to work with us and fund a unique project we were intrigued and then incredibly excited. This is both a terrifically generous act from someone who himself was recently homeless, as well as a powerful artistic statement’. We will be holding a Sleep Out in Bristol on the 19th of April and a London Sleep Out on the 26th of April, to help raise funds for our work with vendors and raise awareness of homelessness issues in these hard times. We hope this project will help us recruit a new generation of readers and fundraisers.

The project was designed, funded and delivered by the East London Street Artist, Stik. He made headlines by going from being homeless to having sell-out West End show within a year.  East London is a world centre for Street Art, which is the visual arts’ most cutting edge trend. Stik is one of its key figures, and his much sought after works form a significant component of both the underground and mainstream Street Art scenes.  Stik spent many years homeless, creating murals and working on the streets. He knows the city from the inside, and manages to reach seemingly superhuman locations to paint his highly stylized pieces. Deceptively simple, with just six lines each and dots for eyes, they are packed with subtle form and emotions, showing an extraordinary ability to reflect human psychology and diversity. His work is owned by Elton John and is part of the Victoria and Albert print collection. He works with groups as diverse as Amnesty International, The British Council, and the NHS. His studio work sells globally, and he regularly paints large street pieces around the world. 

Email a picture of all four posters (red, orange, blue and yellow) to stikcompetition@bigissue.com, detailing where you bought your four magazines and your name and address details.  The winner will receive a non-folded red poster signed by Stik himself.

#bigstikissue – please help spray the word!