Close Up: Hatch Kingdom Sticker Museum

History of the collection and museum

Oliver Baudach first started collecting in the early 1980s stickers as a young teenager in a small village called Speyer in southern Germany.  He clearly remembers buying a wallet at the time from Skull Skates and finding “one of the best skull stickers [he had] ever seen.”  He subsequently started collecting stickers related to skateboard culture, streetwear, and punk rock bands like the Misfits and the Ramones.  In the 1990s, after graduating from high school, Oliver worked in streetwear shops where brands would use stickers to promote their new lines.  He also actively collected stickers at concerts and through magazines and catalogues.

Even at an early age, Oliver started to collect two copies of each sticker design, knowing one could be shared to show others or to be put on display, and the other would be saved for a sticker archive.  Hip hop, urban streetwear, and skateboarding were exploding in the United States and parts of Europe during the 1980s and ’90s, and many stickers from this time period are difficult, if not impossible to find today.  Oliver eventually opened his own skateboard shop with a friend, which they ran together for three years.

In 2000, Oliver moved to Berlin, Germany, where he continued to work for urban streetwear and skateboard companies.  His collection grew as he was able to travel to trade shows and acquire some of the best examples of stickers from major worldwide streetwear and skateboard companies. It was also in Berlin where Oliver first started to notice stickers by artists who “tagged” the streets with fanciful designs using a wide range of creative images and texts.  Some artists chose to remain anonymous, while others made up street names, such as CBS (Cowboys Crew), Linda’s Ex, Stromausfall, and Tower.

Oliver’s idea for a museum devoted solely to stickers, the first of its kind in the world, originated in 2007.  In April 2008, the Hatch Kingdom Sticker Museum opened on Dirschauer Strasse in the artsy, alternative Berlin district of Friedrichshain.  There, he divided the exhibition into themes based on skateboard culture, streetwear, and urban artists.

IMG_0404.jpg

In 2012, Hatch Kingdom moved to Mitte in the center of Berlin, though in 2014 when rent became too expensive, the museum returned to Friedrichshain.  Today, Hatch Kingdom, consisting of three galleries totaling 96 square meters, features approximately 4,500 framed stickers, stickers in display cases, and sticker-related books, packs, zines, and other ephemera.

Past financial sponsors for the museum have included Carhartt, Vans, Veltins beer, Iriedaily clothing company, and DeineStadtKlebt printing company.  Currently, Hatch is an independent, non-profit alternative art space.

Rotating exhibitions at Hatch Kingdom

In addition to the stickers on display at the museum, Oliver has organized several benefit exhibitions at Hatch Kingdom.  The first, entitled Oversized and Underpriced, was presented in 2009 and consisted of 50 contemporary international street artists who created drawings, stencils, and silkscreen prints on enlarged “Hello-My-Name-Is” stickers.  Proceeds from the sale of the artworks supported both the museum and the NGO Skateistan, the first skateboarding school for children in Afghanistan.  Subsequent O&U exhibitions followed a similar model, but artists incorporated enlarged Deutsche Post and USPS Label 228 mailing labels as the basis for their designs.  O&U exhibitions have also been presented in Hamburg (2009), Cologne (2010), the Stroke Art Fairs in Munich (2010 and 2012), and at the Superplan Gallery in Berlin (2013).  The most recent Oversized and Underpriced exhibition, entitled Operation Baked Beans, featured 30 original artworks that were designed as labels to fit around 2.5 kg cans of baked beans (2016).

baked beans

Other temporary exhibitions at Hatch Kingdom have included Paper Bullets: 100 Years of Political Stickers from around the World (2014), StickCore (2014), Modern Dopeness (2014), Paper Bullets II (2015), and Street Toons (2015)

Other exhibition projects

Sticker exhibitions organized or co-organized by Oliver have also been featured in galleries and alternative art spaces in Montréal, Canada; Paris, France; Frankfurt, Germany; and Moscow, Russia.  With Catherine Tedford, (St. Lawrence University), Oliver co-curated the traveling exhibition Re-Writing the Streets: The International Language of Stickers, which was presented in the United States at Susquehanna University in Pennsylvania (2015) and at St. Lawrence University in New York (2017).  Future venues in the United States are being confirmed.

In Berlin, Oliver also curated an exhibition of stickers from his collection for Converse Shoes’ CONS Art Space (2014) and an exhibition of stencil art for SO36, one of the city’s most well-known alternative underground clubs (2015).  A selection of Oliver’s collection was featured at the Urban Nation’s Project M11-Radius exhibition in February 2017 and will be featured when Urban Nation opens to the public formally in the fall of 2017.

Significance of the collection

Today, Oliver’s collection numbers close to 30,000 original, unused stickers from around the world.  Rarely a day goes by without him receiving stickers in the mail or being dropped off by artists in person at the museum.  The earliest sticker packs on display date to the late 1970s and feature two complete sets of skateboard-themed stickers from Donruss, a US-based chewing gum company.  Early examples from the 1990s, when streetwear became so popular, include sticker collectibles from the clothing brands Fuct and Freshjive.  Later stickers featured work by illustrators such as Sean Cliver for Supreme and by 9ème Concept, a French art and design collective that produced stickers for Reef, a surfboard and shoe company.  Other highlights feature stickers from Carhartt, Stussy, The Hundreds, Volcom, and Mishka.

Donruss skateboard stickers

Rare, older original stickers from major urban artists include 123 Klan, 14Bolt, Banksy, Buff Monster, D*face, Dave, Dave Kinsey, Ekiem, Evoker, Flying Fortress, KAWS, Jeremy Fish, James Jarvis, London Police, Miss Van, RobotsWillKill, Visual Narcotics, and Zoltron.  Berlin-based highlights include stickers by Haevi, Noel, Ping Pong, Prost, and Tower.  The museum features a large Obey Giant collection dating from the 1990s to present day, including related ephemera, such as the edition of a Turkish lifestyle magazine called Bant.

Flying Fortress

Oliver’s collection is truly global and comprehensive, ranging from an obscure, limited edition sticker by Japanese artist Takako Kimura using Kawaii imagery, for example, to stickers representing any and every idea under the sun, produced by artists from Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, Denmark, Ecuador, England, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Israel, Italy, Mexico, Netherlands, Northern Ireland, Peru, Portugal, Russia, Scotland, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, and the United States.  Quite simply put, Oliver’s unique sticker collection is unparalleled in both depth and breadth.

Additional images from various exhibition projects are available on the Hatch Kingdom flickr site.

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