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Montreal Anarchist Bookfair 2017

I went to the 2017 Montreal Anarchist Bookfair last May to look for stickers after having gone to fairs there for that purpose every year from 2012 to 2015 (but missing the one in 2016). The fairs feature book publishers, primarily, but some of the vendors also sell or give away stickers (or offer them as PWYW – pay what you will). Others participating in the fair usually include such groups as the Beehive Design Collective, Justseeds Artists’ Cooperative, and the Quebec Public Interest Research Group at Concordia. Several presentations, hands-on workshops, and an art exhibition are also part of every bookfair.

Over the last five years, I’ve seen certain themes emerge in terms of the stickers I collected: students’ rights, police brutality, immigration, and gender/sexuality, for example. Those themes were present again this year, but anti-colonialism also emerged as a theme in response to Canada’s celebration of the 375th “anniversary” of Montreal (see the city’s Alive 375 campaign). Here is the introduction to the program for the bookfair:

“The Montreal Anarchist Bookfair organizing collective acknowledges that we are on the traditional territory of the Kanien’kehá:ka. The Kanien’kehá:ka are the keepers of the Eastern Door of the Haudenosaunee Conferederacy. The island called ‘Montreal’ is known as Tiot:ke in the language of the Kanien’kehá:ka, and it has historically been a meeting place for other indigenous nations, including the Algonquin peoples. The Anarchist Bookfair collective believes it’s not enough just to acknowledge the keepers of this land. We encourage everyone participating in the Bookfair to get informed and educated, and to actively resist colonialism and neo-colonialism in the many forms it takes, and in the diversity of forms that resistance can take, too.”

The text above echoes something I heard when I attended the Association of Canadian Archivists annual conference in 2015, during which several panel discussions began with someone saying, [we] “acknowledge this conference is taking place on traditional, unceded territory…”. Actually, as a side note, now that I’m doing research on this topic, I see that Carleton University in Ottawa, Ontario, has a Territory Acknowledgement that states:

“Acknowledging territory shows recognition of and respect for the host nation, the Omàmiwininìwag (Algonquin peoples, in the Algonquin language)…. This acknowledgement appropriately takes place at the commencement of conferences, workshops, public lectures, presentations and other events held on- or off-campus in the National Capital Region, hosted by Carleton University, particularly those pertaining to Indigenous communities, and diversity and inclusion-related events. For speaking engagements taking place outside the National Capital Region, determine which Indigenous territory you are presenting in and make an appropriate acknowledgement for that territory.”

Stickers this year from a group called Anti375 and their statement are shown below:

“This street art project aims to dismantle mainstream nationalist ideologies that feed xenophobia, false victimization of white Francophones and the erasure of the violent settler colonial structures. We are planning a series of anti-celebratory street interventions in response to the government’s call to commemorate the so-called founding of ‘Montreal’ in 1642 and ‘Canada’s’ 150th ‘anniversary.’

We view the 375th ‘anniversary’ as the legitimization of settler colonialism upon the land. The island of Montreal has many names in indigenous languages: Tiotia:ke, Mooniyaang, Moniak, Moriak… At the crossroads of many Indigenous territories like the Kanien’kehá:ka (south shore of St. Lawrence River) and Anishinaabe (north shore of St. Lawrence River), it was historically a strategic location for commerce. It is unceded territory, which means it was never surrendered or signed away in a treaty. It is imperative that we take action against settler colonial violence by acknowledging the experiences of the First Nations and Inuit, and support the return of the land to its original Indigenous caretakers. In addition, ‘Canada 150’ echoes the federal government’s refusal to address land claims, continuation of environmental racism and lack of adequate support for both missing and murdered Indigenous women and 2Spirit folks, as well as, discrimination against Indigenous children.

In light of continuing austerity cutbacks to health and education that are destroying the social fabric, we find it morally unjust to celebrate an ongoing capitalism in ‘Montréal.’ Furthermore, the rise of neo-fascist and Islamophobic nationalist groups in Quebec needs to be challenged. Urban areas in Quebec have seen more far-right stickers appear, and mosques have been vandalized countless times. We believe this visual presence is unacceptable hate speech. We have a responsibility to retaliate with counter-messages that go deeper than the liberal propaganda of multiculturalism of the Trudeau, Couillard and Coderre governments.”

Another sticker, this one from Ni Québec, Ni Canada: collectif anticoloniste:

You can view scanned, uncatalogued stickers from Montreal Anarchist Bookfairs in 2012 (46), 2013 (60), 2014 (45), 2015 (42), and 2017 (59) on flickr in Stickerkitty’s Collection.  Over 160 stickers from 2012-2015 are catalogued in the Street Art Graphics digital archive in Shared Shelf Commons.


Close Up: Hatch Kingdom Sticker Museum

History of the collection and museum

Oliver Baudach is the founder and director of Hatch Kingdom, the world’s first and only museum devoted to stickers. He first started collecting stickers in the early 1980s 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.


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 operates as 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.

Stickers and Political Graphics in the Age of #45

My complacent little bubble world has been turned upside down since the November 2016 U.S. election of #45 POTUS.  As a result, Stickerkitty blogging has been forced to take a back seat to community organizing, weekly conference calls, and desktop sharing technology apps.  In the last six months, I’ve gotten heavily involved in progressive local and regional politics in New York’s Congressional District 21, an area that spans roughly 15,115 square miles across 12 counties in rural northern NY.  NY-21 is the size of a small European country, I learned, about the same size as Switzerland and a bit smaller than the Netherlands.  Unlike other big Congressional districts in the US, however, NY-21’s population is spread evenly over the area with an average of 47 people per square mile.  My own small town of Colton has a population density of six people per square mile, which makes it hard to reach voters, that’s for sure.

There have been protests, marches, and rallies in Canton and Potsdam, NY, since January’s inauguration.  One focused on health care, one on immigration, and one yesterday was held in solidarity with the People’s Climate March in Washington, DC.  Much local effort has focused on holding accountable and unseating Rep. Elise Stefanik (R).  I designed a “Where’s Elise?” poster for the earlier marches using the “Where’s Waldo?” motif to show the Rep.’s lack of appearance and engagement in the district.

whereseliseposter v2-sm

Below: me, John Crowe, Sara Schaff, Ben Landry, and little Iris at the Saranac Lake Winter Carnival, NY, looking for Elise.  We couldn’t find her anywhere.  Feb. 11, 2017.

looking for elise in saranac lake 2-11-17

I also designed my first full-color sticker using the same “missing” concept.


I crowdfunded and raised $400 in two hours on Facebook to pay for 1,000 stickers.  I already gave stickers to the funders, but the rest are now free, so contact me if you’d like some.  Sticker Robot printed the “Where’s Elise?” stickers, the same company that Shepard Fairey used for his iconic Obama HOPE sticker in 2008.  Very high quality!



Someone else put up that sticker in Potsdam, I swear.

A group of us organized a non-partisan “Town Hall” event in Canton with(out) Stefanik on April 15, 2017, while the Rep. was supposed to be working in the district.

town hall ad nctw

Despite the fact that it was the day before Easter, over 100 people showed up and voiced thoughtful questions and concerns.  You can see the YouTube video from the event here.

Here are some anti-Trump stickers and wheatpastes I saw in NYC in February.

A few people also recently pointed out an Instagram resistrump campaign to document anti-Trump stickers.

Soon after the election, I was talking with a (liberal, white male) friend of mine from work, a person whose opinion I value very much.  I was surprised afterwards by how much we varied in our responses.  He said something like, “Nothing has changed for me.  The struggle continues.”  I felt just the opposite.  For me, everything has changed.  I’ve never been so engaged in politics before in my life.  And even though my job is fairly public, I am now much more involved in the broader community.  I have many fine local leaders to work with (namely, Sara Schaff, Ben Landry, Jess Prody, and Matt Manierre).  And many new friends farther afield in NY-21, inc. Sara Carpenter, Emily Martz, Henrietta Jordan, and others.  There are also supporters who wish to remain anonymous.  You know who you are!  Thank you.

Michael Moore is right, “Democracy is not a spectator sport, it’s a participatory event.  If we don’t participate in it, it ceases to be a democracy.”

German stickers and “Street Art Graphics” digital archive update

I spent a few months last winter and spring organizing hundreds (thousands?) of original, unused German political stickers that I’ve gathered since 2013, though some date back 10 or 20 years. Oliver Baudach at Hatch Kingdom, Berlin, who has been my most generous supporter, has given me well over 1,000 German stickers, and seeing his sticker museum convinced me to focus on collecting original, unused stickers whenever possible. I’ve also picked up stickers in Berlin at alternative bookstores, political rallies, May Day gatherings, infoshops, zine fests, and occasionally

Several hundred German stickers also came in recently as gifts, with one donation from an anonymous street artist who visited the Paper Bullets exhibition at Hatch in 2014, and another from a contact at a Berlin squat/infoshop in 2015. One day last April, I laid everything out on one of the gallery floors where I work (1,000 square feet) to check for dupes. The German stickers are now almost fully sorted and archived in notebooks; I plan to scan as many of them as possible in the weeks and months ahead.

I also made a concerted effort this past summer to catalogue German stickers that Oli has given me for the Street Art Graphics digital archive in Shared Shelf Commons. Oli and his frau, Nada Carls, came to St. Lawrence University in June, and in one week we catalogued over 400 stickers. Oli and Nada created metadata for Title, Title-Translation, and Description fields, and I focused on the more straightforward Date, Geographic Location, Source, Language, Filename, and Credit Line fields. In some cases, Oli knew the artists who made the stickers, and Oli and Nada both brought a wealth of expertise to contextualizing the stickers. Their native understanding of German language, artists, culture, and socio-political events and activities added a rich dimension to the cataloguing I am able to do with staff and students at St. Lawrence. Perhaps everyone’s favorite stickers were from Hamburg’s Football Club St. Pauli (FCSP), a very creative, outspoken team. Oli, Nada, and I catalogued 137 FCSP stickers from 2013 that promoted the team and its players, made fun of rival teams, and also commented upon sociopolitical issues, such as racism, sexism, fascism, immigration, German nationalism, and police brutality.

After hearing about Oli and Nada’s visit, Nadine Emmerich, an independent German journalist, wrote a story about the cataloguing project for the second largest German news website called ZDF Heute in an article called Stickers als “demokratischste Kunstform.”


Before Oli and Nada visited, I had started a “metadata cheat sheet” in Word with text that could be cut and pasted into Description fields and Curator’s Notes that share similar information (subjects, political parties, concepts, etc.). Nada suggested we use Google Docs and store it in Drive, and it’s turned out to be quite useful in collaborative projects like this. Here is what we came up with for “Antifaschistische Aktion.” We kept the description relatively short but then elaborated in Curator’s Notes.

Antifaschistische Aktion (Description)

Antifascist message from Antifaschistische Aktion (antifa in Germany), a non-hierarchical, autonomous network of political groups whose goal is to “smash fascism” and other forms of oppression. Image of [fill in blank].

Antifaschistische Aktion (Curator’s Notes)

Antifa members create propaganda (fliers, brochures, stickers) and organize rallies and demonstrations against far right, nationalist, and anti-Semitic activities and events. The original antifa logo of two waving red flags surrounded by a red circle was designed in 1932 by two German graphic artists, Max Kelison and Max Gebhart. At the time, the red flags represented the unity of the Social Democratic Party (SPD) and the Communist Party of Germany (KPD). Since the 1980s, the antifa logo depicts two waving red and black flags surrounded by a red or black circle. The red flag represents socialism and communism, while the black flag represents anarchy, groups joined together against fascism. The flag logo has been modified by various groups to comment upon such issues as sexism, homophobia, racism, environmental degradation, capitalism, etc.

And here is what we came up with for “Heimat.”

Heimat (Description)

Heimat is a specific German term and concept that does not have an English equivalent, but it refers to “home,” “homeland,” and love and affinity toward one’s birthplace and traditions. The concept has varied over time. For some Germans, it connotes childhood, family, landscape, and friends. Others who fear extreme German nationalism and allegiance to a fatherland tend to view Heimat more negatively. For more information, see “Home Meets Heimat” by Alexandra Ludewig at


And this for “Mediaspree.”

Mediaspree (Curator’s Notes)

Mediaspree is a property investment project in Berlin, Germany, that aims to establish telecommunication and media companies along parts of the Spree River and to implement urban renewal projects in largely under- or unused spaces, transforming them to office buildings, lofts, bars, clubs, and hotels. Critics have voiced concern over issues of rapid gentrification and the privatization of public space. In 2013, a 45-meter (148-foot) section of the East Side Gallery was removed for the then-O2 World’s pier for pleasure boats and water-taxis, despite the former Berlin Wall’s protection as a historical monument. Two groups, among others, have formed in opposition. The first, Mediaspree Versenken!, is an initiative that challenges Mediaspree, in particular, and neoliberal urban development policy, in general. The second, Megaspree, whose motto is “Save Your City,” is an open, non-partisan alliance of art and cultural workers, club operators, political groups, open-space citizens, and open-space users that formed in 2009 to protest against the loss of alternative and subcultural spaces in Berlin and the destruction of such spaces by unilateral urban development policies.




A sticker about Emma Goldman from my Street Art Graphics digital archive is featured today on the DPLA Twitter feed!

Screen Shot 2016-06-27 at 12.06.07 PM



Ten new “stickerettes”!

I have acquired ten new I.W.W. stickerettes! They came from a packet with text on the cover that reads “Stickerettes – Silent Agitators – Fifteen Different Designs – Black And Red – Stick ’Um Up!” There is also an image of a black sab cat in a wooden shoe that was likely designed by or borrowed from Ralph Chaplin, whom I’ve written about before. Sorry for the poor screen shot of the envelope; it’s the best I could get.

Screen Shot 2016-06-26 at 6.40.55 PM

I can confirm the dates of these stickerettes, too. The I.W.W. headquarters were located at 1001 West Madison Street in Chicago, the address listed on the envelope, from July 1917 to March 1925.


You can see the new stickerettes on my Flickr site here (scroll down to the bottom). I now have 41 stickerettes in my collection; a few of them are duplicate designs with one printed in black or red and the other printed in both black and red.



The stickerette “Why Be A Soldier? Be A Man, Join The I.W.W. And Fight On The Job For Yourself And Your Class.” is one that undoubtedly got the I.W.W. and union members in trouble with the U.S. government. On September 5, 1917, federal agents raided I.W.W. offices across the country, and 100 union leaders and members were later arrested and charged with sedition under the newly created Espionage Act of 1917 that was enacted a few months beforehand (along with another charge of violating postal laws by mailing out stickerettes and other printed matter).



Dates Confirmed for Early I.W.W. Stickerettes

I can finally confirm dates of some of the earliest I.W.W. stickers in my collection. The August 31, 1918, edition of The Literary Digest ran an article called “Branding the I.W.W.” that features three stickers with the caption, “Typical I.W.W. Propaganda—Stickers Circulated in the Northwest.”


Unfortunately, the article doesn’t say anything about the stickers themselves, but it describes the conviction of 100 I.W.W. members for treason soon after the beginning of World War I and the subsequent passage of the U.S. Espionage Act. The artist and poet Ralph Chaplin, whom I’ve written about in previous posts and for the People’s History Archive, was one of those union members arrested and convicted, and I imagine he created these early stickers, known at the time as “stickerettes” or “silent agitators.”



Other articles in this edition include “Grenades to Suit Everybody,” Germany’s Gigantic War Profits,” and “Why Germany Destroys Art.”




Flickr Photos

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