Archive for the 'Stickerz' Category

Possible sticker show in NYC!

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!”

Rare S.D.S. stickers

After hearing my talk at the CAA conference last week, Fred Lonidier from UCSD sent me four S.D.S. stickers that date back to the late 1960s/early 1970s.  I’ve never seen anything like these before, but found that Kent State in Ohio has a box of S.D.S material in their Special Collections Library described as:

  • “The Students for a Democratic Society (S.D.S.) Papers contain various types of documentation and records which chronicle events precipitating and subsequent to the shooting of four Kent State University students on May 4, 1970, as well as other realia from the period.  Propaganda pamphlets and position statements from S.D.S. and other militant groups, as well as radio and television transcripts are among some of the items collected.  Realia include S.D.S. rally posters, adhesive-backed stickers, and three photographs.”

Here is an anti-Vietnam War sticker that Fred sent.

And this sticker with a quote by Bertolt Brecht seems fitting for the Occupy movement forty years later, doesn’t it?

STUCK UP and “They Live”

My “I’m Sorry (George W. Bush)” sticker is included in an exhibition entitled STUCK UP, A Selected History of Alternative & Pop Culture Told Through Stickers, which opens on January 20, 2012, and runs through March 3, 2012, at Maxwell Collette Gallery in Chicago.  The exhibition, which was curated by DB Burkeman, draws from his extensive personal collection and:

provides an unparalleled opportunity to explore the expanding role that stickers have played in popular culture over the past four decades.  ‘STUCK UP…’ features stickers from Street Art legends (Banksy, Barry McGee, Shepard Fairey, Space Invader, KAWS), and internationally lauded contemporary artists (Andy Warhol, Jenny Holzer, Keith Haring, Damien Hirst, Tom Sachs) shown side by side with anonymous stickers peeled from the streets of NYC.”

The exhibition opened at the Scope Art Fair during Art Basel | Miami Beach in December 2011.  For this project, Burkeman created seven large themed panels, sort of like what I’ve done in sticker exhibitions in the past, but his stickers look like they’re floating in air, which is pretty sweet.  My sticker is on the lower left of this panel, second row up from the bottom:

Aside from this, I watched John Carpenter’s 1988 film They Live yesterday on the recommendation of friends at Peace Paper.  With a more contemporary cast, the film could have been made in the last couple of years with its themes of corporate greed, capitalist consumption, police surveillance, and the role of advertising and the media in controlling human thought.  When the main character in the movie puts on a special pair of sunglasses, he is able to see the truth that alien ghouls run the banks and government and that billboards, magazines, and material objects contain subliminal messages to “OBEY,” “CONSUME,” and “MARRY AND REPRODUCE.”

Shepard Fairey is said to have been influenced by the film for his OBEY Giant propaganda campaign.

Montréal exhibition

A few people have asked to see installation shots of DE VIGUEUR et DE VERVE at Fresh Paint Gallery in Montréal (hello, Oli and Nada!), so here is a set of photographs on my Flickr site and a nice collection from flippybits.  The gallery space there is gorgeous with big windows on three floors facing out on the streets.  So much daylight made it difficult to get good photographs, but I’m going back up on Saturday and will try to take some better ones.  Don’t you like my OWS-style signage?!

I am also stickerkitty.com now having paid the Man for my own domain name.  What a crazy concept….

DE VIGUEUR et DE VERVE! press release

Hatch Kingdom | Stickerkitty

International Sticker Exhibition

DE VIGUEUR et DE VERVE!

Fresh Paint – Peint Frais

Edition III

Hatch Kingdom, the only sticker museum in the world, has collaborated with Catherine Tedford, a.k.a. Stickerkitty, to present an exhibition of street art stickers and photographs from Berlin and New York City, with additional pieces from cities across Europe and North America.  As part of a larger exhibition entitled Edition III, which includes work by contemporary muralists, graffiti artists, photographers, and others, the international sticker exhibition will be on display at Fresh Paint Gallery, Montréal, Québec, from December 2, 2011, through January 29, 2011.

Founded by Oliver Baudach in 2008, Hatch Kingdom began as a small gallery space in Berlin’s alternative Friedrichsain district to serve as a platform for stickers, sticker artists, skateboard fans, and collectors.  An expanded Hatch HQ is now located in central Mitte, with two gallery spaces devoted to Oli’s ever-growing sticker collection, now numbering well over 25,000 stickers, and one gallery for rotating exhibitions by young urban street artists.

Catherine directs St. Lawrence University’s art gallery in Canton, NY, and has been actively collecting stickers since 2003, having now collected over 6,000 original stickers by hand, primarily from Berlin and NYC, with stickers also from Hamburg, Munich, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Cambridge (MA), Ottawa, Toronto, Amsterdam, Budapest, and other cities in western and central Europe.  Part of the collection is being digitized and can be found at SLU’s gallery Web site.  Catherine has presented papers at academic conferences for the College Art Association, the Visual Resources Association, and the International Arts in Society; in 2012, she will present a paper entitled “WTF.  It’s Only a Sticker” at the annual CAA conference in Los Angeles.  Check her Stickerkitty blog for more information.

The exhibition at Fresh Paint also includes six original drawings and collages from “Oversized and Underpriced,” a project initiated by Oliver Baudach in which artworks on oversized sticker printouts are sold at low prices with proceeds to benefit Skateistan, a skateboarding school in Kabul, Afghanistan, for young boys and girls.

In addition to art, music, and tagging stickers, political stickers in the exhibition from Germany and the U.S. focus on anti-authority, anti-capitalism, post-9/11 surveillance measures, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the 2008 US Presidential election, the environment, oil consumption, and the economy.  Examples of these were included in a recent gallery exhibition at St. Lawrence in 2010, which was based in part on a summer research grant from SLU’s Center for International and Intercultural Studies in which three students and an alumnus traveled to Berlin and Munich to study street art.

A beautiful spring day…

… and I spent a good portion of it working on my sticker database.  After weeks of a few sporadic hours here and there to pull everything together, I can now account for about 2,700 individual digital image files for stickers scanned thus far.  The most difficult part in this whole process is finding where the files are located across too many different folders on different servers at SLU.  My fault.  I also have a bad habit of assigning “Final” to whatever documents/projects I’m working on, and if they get revised, I put “FinalFinal.”  Or “FinalFinal-Use this one.”  And “Final-old” on the original finals.  And so on.

To keep all of that straight, I have a running meta-metadata Excel spreadsheet so I know the status and location of image file folders.  Some images are scanned but not loaded into the ContentDM database software.  Some are in iPhoto.  Many stickers still need to be scanned.  And today, as I was driving home from school, I thought, “I wonder if Flickr would be the most effective way to make these stickers available online?”  The Library of Congress uses Flickr, e.g., among many other institutions worldwide.

I also made screen shots of my iPhoto albums and put the .pngs in Dropbox.

I kind of miss the shoebox approach.

Despite the tedium associated with this work, the best part is looking closely at all of the images.  Very closely.  There are endless ways of drawing connections among stickers, some that are obvious and others more poetic.

It’s all good.  Stay tuned.

Proposal accepted

My proposal to give a paper at the international Arts in Society conference in Berlin in May 2011 was accepted.  Here ’tis. Other accepted proposals are here.


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