Vital de Frel (1982) working under the pseudonym Stikstok, is a self taught visual artist and painter based in Amsterdam. After making personal black and white illustration work for several years, Stikstok started experimenting with painting in color three years ago, a choice that ultimately led to the development of what has now become his main artistic expression. With his paintings he explores a utopian world, with a parallel standard of ‘western’ beauty. One which carries the traces of the primordial origins of mankind. Together with characters inspired by personal relationships along with people he looks up to, admires and inspire him. His proces is subjective and romantic, working from intuition, emotion and introspection.
The choice to portray mainly black characters has multiple reasons. Foremost, the essence of all mankind stemming back to Africa. The painful racist past and present imperialist, capitalist, white supremacist patriarchy leaves little space to portray black culture with respect and empowerment from a white perspective without only taking to get ahead oneself. Growing up, multi-cultural, black- and hiphop culture has shaped Stikstok the most. He chooses to portray the people he admires and feels a deep connection with, hoping to contribute to a world where there is more empathy, love and care.