Yellow Pavement Robot Mystery: Solved

Posted by Holly Whitfield | October 21st 2014 1020 1

Recently someone asked me about the yellow guys that are stuck on sidewalks downtown. I've always wondered myself, so with the help of the two mightiest knowledge sources in the universe: Google and Jimmy Ogle, I think I've figured it out.

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Photo via philml69 on Instagram

Some people have called them aliens. I've also heard robots and "voodoo guys", because of the blocky style. However you describe them, these yellowish figures you'll find in several crosswalks downtown Memphis are most likely the work of stikman. 

stikman is spelled on purpose with a lowercase "s" and no "c", and is the pseudonym of an artist who has gone all over the country installing these figures for the last several years. The stickman figure is so curious and so common that the Washington Post did a story back in 2008. Also, here's an interview with stikman from StreetArtNYC blog from a few years ago, if you want to learn more.

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This particular stikman is in the crosswalk at Front and Union.

Last year, art blog Wooster Collective published a short post written by the anonymous artist. He explains that he creates a new figure each year, slightly evolved from the previous figure. Judging by the images in that post, it seems like stikman hasn't been to Memphis in a bit: most of his new stikmen are more three-dimensional than the ones I've seen downtown.

The mystery of the yellow guy is as solved as it's going to be: it's stikman, a traveling artist of a secret identity, leaving his mark and instilling wonder and curiosity on Memphis streets. 

stikman, if you're reading this: we dig it. Come back anytime.

If you find any stikmen in Memphis, snap a photo and post it online, tag #ilovememphis and #stikman with the location and I'll add it to the map. Or email me. 


Author: Holly Whitfield

I write about what’s going on with Memphis music, food, arts, events, sports, people, and culture. Memphians love Elvis and barbeque with a passion that must be seen to be believed, but there is so much more to this place.

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  1. Maddie says:

    There is also one at the corner of Morrie Moss Lane and Golf Drive outside of the Brooks Museum! I run by it every morning. 

  2. SJ says:

    HA! Love it Holly! I've seen them all around, very fun!

  3. Joseph Cotrone says:

    Thank you so much Holly. I have been wondering about these myself and then I saw one in NYC this summer.

  4. aparks says:

    There’s one on the street directly in front of the main entry of the Memphis College of Art.

  5. Francisco Leal says:

    Hi Holly. Thanks for the info. It is very useful! I have found Stikman in Colorado, Michigan, Illinois, and DC…and I am going next week to Memphis. I hope they are still there. Have you found more around? Thanks again-  

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