There is a chance I might be able to show stickers from my collection at an artists’ collective gallery in NYC next February-March 2013! I can’t say where exactly yet until the artists in the group confirm the idea, but the director of the gallery is very positive. I met with him on Wednesday, and we spent over an hour talking through different ways to approach the project in ways that would be a good fit with the well-known street artists in the collective (inc. Faust and others). Brian, the director, suggested we show individual stickers on the wall rather than stickers in thematic groups. I like the idea a lot. It would put the focus on stickers as individual works of art and creative expression. We also talked about emphasizing the D-I-Y aspects of stickers to show one-of-a-kind handmade stickers (drawings, paintings, silkscreens, Xeroxes), as well as commercially printed vinyl stickers. I think of D-I-Y in this context as often using free or cheap materials (US postal stickers, “Hello, my name is” stickers, etc.) and creating idiosyncratic mysterious messages with image and/or text, but even vinyl stickers can carry a D-I-Y attitude. Here are two little magical D-I-Y stickers, in vinyl on the left and hand-drawn on the right:
One of my favorite books on D-I-Y is Notes from Underground: Zines and the Politics of Alternative Culture by Stephen Duncombe. Most everything that the author describes about zines pertains directly to stickers, too, in my opinion. Primarily, both zines and stickers offer an alternative to commercial culture and consumer capitalism (how apt that I’m writing today on Black Friday, ugh….). I’ll write more about zines and stickers in a later post.
Since I didn’t have to go to work today, I went through hundreds of stickers in my collection looking for any possible themes, genres, etc., for the show in NYC. It was really fun and a nice change of scenery since I’ve spent so much of the last couple of years focusing on political stickers. Here is some preliminary info I sent to Brian:
- U.S. Postal stickers – I have about 75 that are hand-drawn, hand-painted, silkscreened, and a few Xeroxed. From the strange to the wonderful! I also have a bunch from Germany, too, which I’ll go through later. Some German ones are done by well-known taggers such as Tower, Nest, and Ed Crew.
- Animals and insects (35+): taggers – birds, cats, rabbits, lions, fox, mouse, zebra, panda, wolf, penguin, bugs, roaches, and bees.
- Skull and crossbones (36+): taggers and advertising – tattoo salons, bands, hair salons, punks.
- Portraits – hand-drawn and vinyl (50+) – mostly unknown faces – taggers; humanoid animal/human figures. These are some of the most creative stickers, I think. Really individual styles.
- More well-known street/sticker artists (30+): Faile, Matt Siren, Gary Baseman, Serkos, 20 mg, Skarekroe, London Police, Evoker, Bäst, Toaster, Bishop 203.
And finally, here is a hand-drawn postal sticker that states, “Twerps! Area Riot! Rap Music Godz Ate Thier Oats!”