“Re-Writing the Streets” Artist Statement: Psychological Industries (U.S.)

A great artist statement from Psychological Industries arrived this week for the Re-Writing the Streets exhibition.

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Why did you choose Psychological Industries as your sticker name?

Had a vintage Psychology text book on the shelf.  I am a fan of vintage school text books and medical books, big time book fiend.  Have plans to open a Library, already in the works.

Anyway the font on this book made the word look cool to me.  I’m one of those that reads the dictionary and decided long words were cool and technical.  Its an attempt to make the body of work under the name Psychological Industries appear to be put together by some kind of think-tank donating designs to various social causes.

Which we actually do.  We run a fundraising campaign, One Million Buttons for Freedom, and 25%-50% of sales go to the Electronic Frontier Foundation.

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How do you choose images for your work?

Its all about conveying a message or multitude of messages. Im a Designer not an artist so an image is only as good as it is useful to convey a message. Sometimes no image is needed, sometime no text, but its often both.

“Campaigns” from Psychological Industries cover a spectrum of issues from environmental to mental to digital issues.  Women’s Rights is a constant theme, though, and RESPECT is a good example of that.  Its a newer campaign and maybe our best one yet.  A female “Che” postergirl that reveals to the viewer the juxtaposition of irrelevant struggles of the past, with the struggles going on to this day concerning women’s rights.

So yeah, image selection is important.

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Can you describe the history and evolution of your work and/or the process you use?

Being lucky enough to land a job at an old school photography development lab, they had a powerful LAN in the building with the advanced programs like Photoshop 7.  So I got to learn on the best and get into the game early.  Ive been designing and getting stickers printed since 2001 under no name at first but the designs were very similar.

Why make stickers?

Ive seen local artists in my hometown of Austin, Texas, putting up street campaigns for as long as I can remember.  The KAUFMAN LIVES stickers really stand out in my mind as an inspiration [in Austin around 2000-2003].  Ive seen vinyls up in spots that lasted 15 years or more in a campus area.  It seemed like a great way to reach the public and start getting direct feedback.  The designs most well received graduate to second printings and eventually shirts will be made.

All together I must have printed 20,000 stickers so far, maybe more.  Its hard to keep track since I also run Discordia Culture Shop.  Designing and producing stickers for indie bands, non-profits, bellydance troupes, other artists, etc.  One of our client bands, One-Eyed Doll, has won at SXSW more than once.

Who or what has influenced your work?

YUPPIE.[1]  I found this anti-gentrification campaign on the web and the dude got in trouble with his city and disappeared for several years.  All I could recall is that the YUPPIE design was meant to be reproduced by the creator so around 2005 I started printing my own vinyls of the YUPPIE design, after some slight fixes to add color to a simple black and white design.

I have been holding it down for YUPPIE all these years.  Printed postcards and 4 different vinyl printings so far.  Its been one of the most well received designs in the assortment, which is saying something out of the 100+ Psy-Ind designs in print so far.

Is there anything else you’d like to add or any message to share with others?

“The wise do not waver before blame or praise.”  – Dhammapada

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P.S. Stickerkitty didn’t really understand what “irrelevant struggles” above meant, so Psy-Ind elaborated:

The Irrelevant struggles of the past were between despairing forms of Governance mainly Capitalism VS Communism that took place between Nation/States.  With our current Post-Cold War Global Economy this sort of struggle is no longer our concern as a species.  Our current struggles involve racism, sexism, and classism.  All of which are symptomatic of a global society looking for someone to blame instead of coming to grips with the dog eat dog reality foisted on us by this new Global Plutocracy that has every nation state on a race to the bottom.

The RESPECT image doesnt go that deep, it just points to the struggles of the past that Che fought, and reasserts the revolutionary flavor of that image for our current age and specifically the Gender Issues that still persist to this day.


[1] The Yuppie campaigns only remaining presence online is inside the WayBack Machine under http://web.archive.org/web/20020208055232/http://www.yuppietakeover.com/index.php.

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