(Street) Art Appreciation

I live in a city known for its traffic. Because of this, I usually walk or use public transportation. During my wanderings, I often see interesting pieces of public art and street art.

One piece of street art caught my fancy in 2011: it was a little robot man – made from what looked like the same shiny yellow material as highway stripes  – who was stuck on to the street in a crosswalk stripe. He looked so forlorn, stuck there like he was smashed by a passing car. I finished crossing the street, then waited for another WALK signal so I could go back into the crosswalk to take a photo.  I posted the photo to Flickr and captioned it “Flat Dude.”

stikman street art in philadelphia
Stikman in a crosswalk near Philadelphia’s 30th Street Station

Since that time, I have seen more little guys like him, mostly in the DC area. But after I saw one in Philadelphia in 2015, I realized he might be more than a local phenomenon. I have been watching for him everywhere I visit, ever since.

Recently I crossed a street near the National Gallery of Art where I usually expect to see Stikman. I was sad to find that they recently resurfaced the road, so he’s no longer there. In order to do my part to keep his memory alive, I decided to write this blog post.

It turned out that I’m a little late to the party. This particular street artist and his art are both called Stikman, and the latter has been around for over 20 years. The artist who makes him started in 1992 in New York’s East Village. He creates more than just flat Stikman art; there are also 3D versions made from “metal, wood, cloth and plastic objects.” (I hope I get to see one of those some day!)

Next time you’re walking around your city, make sure to keep an eye on the ground. You may see something there that will make you smile. It may just be Stikman!

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