Prints by street artist Stik meant as gift for Hackney residents 'stolen and sold online'

Anthony France
·2-min read
Stik via Metropolitan Police
Stik via Metropolitan Police

Thousands of prints by street artist Stik and intended as a gift for the people of Hackney have been stolen and sold online, police said today.

The prints, a 50cm x 50cm poster of his 2016 work “Holding Hands”, feature two stick figures holding hands.

Stik, 41, whose fans include Sir Elton John, Bono and Brian May, had intended for every household in his borough to have a copy as a gift to either keep or sell following lockdown.

His studio had worked with Hackney Council to arrange the print and distribution of 100,000 copies via the council-issued Hackney Today newspaper and they were delivered to the distributor on September 19.

However, a large number of residents did not receive theirs. The graffiti artist’s studio noticed large batches being sold online. The thefts were reported to police who began an investigation.

Stik at the launch of his 4-metre-high bronze sculpture
Stik at the launch of his 4-metre-high bronze sculpture

Hackney-based Stik, whose work has fetched over £150,000 at auction, said: “These artworks were intended as a gift to the people of Hackney. Any which are returned will be re-distributed to those who missed out.”

Detective Constable James Readman, of the Metropolitan Police, said: “The artist began this project as a gift to the people of Hackney and paid a substantial amount of money out of his own pocket to meet the cost of printing.

“While some residents happily received theirs, many thousands of others were left very disappointed. We are working with the artist, and Hackney Council, to identify what was happened.

“It appears at this stage that somewhere along the supply and distribution chain, boxes containing thousands of copies of the print have been taken without permission and sold on.

“I urge anyone who has information as to the whereabouts of large quantities of the missing prints to make contact with us, so that we can right this wrong and help ensure they end up with the people that were intended to receive them.”

Hackney Council said: “Stik’s posters were intended as a gift for Hackney’s residents after months of huge uncertainty and challenge.

A large number of the prints - in teal, blue, red, orange and yellow - are still missing
A large number of the prints - in teal, blue, red, orange and yellow - are still missing

“It is therefore disappointing to learn that an individual or group of individuals has chosen to steal them for personal gain.

“This has left residents who missed out upset and we are grateful to Stik and to everyone who has worked hard on the delivery of these posters and will do all we can to have them returned.”

Around 1,000 prints, bought by unsuspecting fans, have been returned after they learned that the way they had bought them was not in the spirit the artist intended.

A large number - printed in teal, blue, red, orange and yellow - are still missing.

Anyone with information is asked to call police on 101, quoting ref CRIS 4626404/20.

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