Trevor “Stickman” Stickel specializes in musically based artwork that captures legendary moments, powerful ideas and raw emotion. His work is described as gritty-yet-fresh, complex-yet-simple.
Graduating from a Jekyll and Hyde influence early in his career, in which he divided his time between family portraits and design work on helmets and Harleys, Trevor had the epiphany to combine both styles while reading According to the Rolling Stones. Two weeks later he finished his first canvas portrait of Mick Jagger, which thrust him into a different realm of the art world. He aptly titled it “Please allow me to introduce myself”.
The idea or "mission" behind Stickman’s artwork is to create an artistic tribute to the music and to the musicians that have had a tremendous impact on him and many others. Historically, these tributes would have been limited to photos/posters that adorned the bedroom walls of teenagers and dorm rooms throughout adolescence. Stickman aims to create a style of art that brings these iconic figures back into our lives, and in a manner that adults can display proudly in their homes.
The concept is to take a realistic portrait and juxtapose it with a background that expresses the feelings and emotions of the subject. This method also allows Stickman to explore other disciplines of art – many of his backgrounds will include abstract, expressionism, impressionism, realism, pop art, street art, surrealism and quite often a combination of these. This is where he gets to enjoy the artistic side of these pieces, while paying additional homage to some of his favorite visual artists.
The Hidden Messages and Symbols
In addition to the art itself, Stickman also adds (and quite often hides) his trademarked Stickman symbol (stick figure with devil horns) and the statement "Devil Inside" to the painting.
- The Stickman symbol is derived from Stickman’s last name (Stickel) and a common phrase he hears from viewers, "I can't even draw a stick man". The horns represent rock and roll (his primary focus), which is generally regarded as the devil’s music, and references the duality of man (good vs. evil).
- The statement "Devil Inside" also references this Jekyll and Hyde type of duality. Stickman often feels there is a difference between Stickman the artist and Trevor Stickel the person. When focused on a subject and working on a piece, he often gets so involved in the subject he finds himself emulating them in the way he dresses and acts, similar to a method actor.
- The signature on the bottom right corner usually shows the Stickman symbol imitating the subject.
The title of each piece is often overlooked but may very well be the most important piece of the puzzle. Stickman looks for a lyric that he believes personifies the subject or his feeling toward that subject and from there, begins to create an image and feeling that takes the viewer to that emotional state of mind. The titles are always a lyric from the subject's song but never the title of a song. If the viewer is a fan of the subject, they should almost hear the lyric or feel the emotion of the lyric when looking at the piece. Knowing the title completes the emotional connection to the painting and usually reveals a personal trait about the subject.