Trevor "Stickman" Stickel specializes in musically based portraits that capture 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 that would thrust him into a different realm of the art world an aptly titled it "Please allow me to introduce myself".
The idea or "mission" behind my art work was to create an artistic tribute to something (music) and to the people (musicians) that have had a tremendous impact on me and basically shaped my world. Historically these tributes have been limited to photos/posters that have adorned the bedroom walls of teenagers and dorm rooms throughout adolescence. I wanted to create a style of art that brings these iconic figures back into our life, and do so in manner that we as adults can display proudly in our homes. When planning a piece I often imagine how the finished piece would look in a contemporary living room, dining room, lounge, etc.
In order to achieve the mission stated above as well as explore my creative and artistic side, the idea of amalgamating different artistic disciplines on the same canvas was born. The concept is to take my portrait realism and juxtapose it with a background that expresses my feeling and emotions of the subject I'm painting. This method also allows me to explore other disciplines of art - many of my backgrounds will include Abstract, Expressionism, Impressionism, Realism, Pop Art, Street Art, Surrealism and quite often a combination of these. This is where I get to enjoy the artistic side of these pieces as well as paying additional homage to some of my favorite visual artists. My work is a true collaboration of music and art where I take a very influential subject matter and combine it with inspiration from artists such as Warhol, Bansky, Basquiat and Pollock to name just a few.
The Hidden Messages and Symbols
In addition to the art itself, I also add (and quite often hide) my trademarked Stickman symbol (stick figure with devil horns) as well as the statement "Devil Inside'. Collectors and people that view my art seem to love the challenge of locating these and I as an artist love coming up with new and interesting ways to incorporate them into the pieces. As for the meaning of the symbols:
- The "Stickman" is derived from my last name (Stickel) and became serendipitous when I started showing my work because a common statement from the viewer was "I can't even draw a stickman". The Stickman has the devil horns for two reasons. First, Rock n' Roll (my primary focus) is generally regarded as the Devils music and second, it references the duality of man (Good vs. Evil). Rock n' Roll often brings out that little devil in all of us.
- The Statement "Devil Inside" also references this Dr. Jekyl and Mr. Hyde type of duality mentioned above. I often feel there is a difference between Stickman the artist and Trevor Stickel the person. When I'm focused on a subject and working on a piece I often get so involved in the subject I find myself emulating them in the way I dress and act. I am similar to a method actor in this regard.
- The Signature on the bottom right corner usually has the Stickman emulating the subject as well - this is usually the case, but not always.
The Title of the pieces is often overlooked but may very well be the most important piece of the puzzle. The paintings themselves are created off the chosen lyric and not the other way around. I look for a lyric that I believe personifies the subject or my feeling toward that subject and from there; begin to create an image and feeling that takes the viewer to that emotional state of mind. My titles are always a lyric from the subject's song but never the title of a song. These titles should actually explain the entire feeling of the piece. If the viewer is a fan of the subject they should almost here 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 of the subject themselves. I encourage the viewer to try this, as it is usually what closes the circle on the experience.