Archive Page 2

Competing Narratives

Two small paper stickers found along the same NYC block this morning:

The captain of chaos sticker on the top gets a big “NO.”


The sticker on the bottom is from a #WalkAway” campaign, created by “former liberal” Brandon Straka.  According to Wikipedia, “The campaign’s stated goal was to ‘[encourage] others to walk away from the divisive left, but also [take] back the narrative from the liberal media about what it means to be a conservative in America.’ As of November 2018, the video had over 400,000 views on YouTube and 1 million on Facebook.” As of today, the video had 440K views on YouTube and 2.6M views on Facebook (I’m purposefully not linking to the videos).

Doing this particular research lately feels like going down another rabbit hole, but if you want to learn more about the #WalkAway sticker, check out this article by Abby Ohlheiser from The Washington Post, “The #WalkAway meme is what happens when everything is viral and nothing matters” (July 2, 2018). Strange times here in the USA.

NYC and Brooklyn political stickers, January 2019

A sampling:

Karla Ann Coté is a photojournalist and videographer who documents protest movements, among other subjects. She was at the Women’s Unity Rally in Foley Square in NYC on Saturday, January 19th.


After seeing a “white power” sticker in Potsdam, NY, recently, I found another weird sticker in Brooklyn that states “Q-Anon Is Real” or, with what looks like a Jewish Star of David on the lower left, more likely “Q-Anon Israel.” “Q,” like “Pepe the Frog” in the Potsdam sticker, is also linked to U.S. President Donald Trump. I remember seeing pictures of people at Trump rallies wearing “Q” T-shirts and holding “Q” signs.


According to The Washington Post, “Q” is “a government agent with top security clearance, waging war against the so-called deep state in service to the 45th president. ‘Q’ feeds disciples, or ‘bakers,’ scraps of intelligence, or ‘bread crumbs,’ that they scramble to bake into an understanding of the ‘storm’ — the community’s term, drawn from Trump’s cryptic reference last year to ‘the calm before the storm’ — for the president’s final conquest over elites, globalists and deep-state saboteurs.” Yipes!

The number 11:11 must signify something, but Wikipedia only states that numerologists and New Age philosophies believe that seeing the two numbers indicates “chance or coincidence and is an example of synchronicity.” Others say it signals “a spirit presence.” I’ve done a few different Google searches using “11:11” + “Israel,” “Judaism,” “Jews,” and “conspiracy” but I can’t figure out how the words and numbers in this sticker make sense.

For more information about “Q,” visit:

Stanley-Becker, Isaac. ‘We are Q’: A deranged conspiracy cult leaps from the Internet to the crowd at Trump’s ‘MAGA’ tour. The Washington Post, 1 August 2018.

Sommer, Will. What Is QAnon? The Craziest Theory of the Trump Era, Explained. Daily Beast, 6 July 2018.

“White Power” Stickers in Potsdam, NY

Last weekend, I found four copies of a “white power” sticker stuck on street poles and signs in a small town called Potsdam near where I live and work (a place that gets few stickers, if any). Potsdam and Canton, ten miles down the road, are both college towns in rural, northern New York with four universities and several thousands of students. Canton is the St. Lawrence County seat. Our closest big city is Ottawa, the capital of Canada. I call this part of the state purple after NY Congressional District 21 voted twice for Barack Obama in the U.S. Presidential elections in 2008 and 2012. The “North Country,” as it’s called, like other rural parts of the country, shifted to red in 2016 and voted for Donald Trump.


I recognized the “Pepe the Frog” image on the right fairly quickly (thanks, social media!), but the other two cartoon figures were new to me. I posted a photo of the sticker on Facebook and received several links to articles that have helped me make sense of the images (see bibliography below), as well as suggestions for follow-up. Two of the four stickers had already been defaced when my posse partner Bill and I found them. We defaced a third one by scratching it off with a car key and removed the fourth sticker intact.

After prompts from people in the community, I decided to contact the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) and report what happened under the organization’s category of “witnessing a hate incident.” A staff member called me back to ask where exactly the stickers had been placed. He also said I should report the incident to the local authorities as suspicious activity involving the defacing of public property. He indicated that it would be useful to track the stickers geographically across the state to see if others show up.

According to the ADL’s extensive Hate on Display Hate Symbols Database, “Pepe the Frog is a popular Internet meme used in a variety of contexts. In recent years, it has also been appropriated by white supremacists, particularly those from the ‘alt right,’ who use it in racist, anti-Semitic or other hateful contexts.” A website called Know Your Meme (KYM) also has a long list of examples of the original and early uses of Pepe the Frog as an Internet phenomenon and the more current appropriation of the cartoon image by right-wing groups to send hateful messages.

In the past few years, Pepe has been linked directly to Donald Trump (and to the French nationalist politician Marine Le Pen) on websites and platforms such as 4chan, Reddit, and Twitter. The KYM website states, for example, that “On October 13th, 2015, Donald Trump tweeted an illustration of Pepe as himself standing at a podium with the President of the United States Seal. Within 16 months, the post gathered upwards of 11,000 likes and 8,100 retweets.” In January 2016, Russia’s London-based embassy tweeted the news of British Prime Minister Theresa May’s meeting with President-elect Trump with a Smug Pepe meme.

In the fall of 2016, after Hillary Clinton called Trump supporters “deplorables,” Donald Trump, Jr., posted an image of “The Deplorables” on Instagram. The image plays off Sylvester Stallone’s action movie The Expendables and depicts (with the help of Photoshop) Trump’s sons, Trump, Sr., and other Republican politicians Mike Pence, Ben Carson, Rudy Giuliani, and Chris Christie, as well as the conspiracy theorist Alex Jones and Breitbart commentator Milo Yiannopoulos, both of whom were banned from Twitter for inciting hateful rhetoric. Pepe the Frog is also depicted on the image (with Trump’s hair!).

screen shot 2019-01-07 at 2.15.01 pm

Neither “Kek” nor “Pek” featured on the sticker are listed in the ADL database, but the ADL staff member said that the organization would update the list at some point and add the two cartoon figures. I can’t figure out what “77” on the sticker means, though the two numbers add up to 14. The ADL database states that “14” is “numerical shorthand for a popular white supremacist slogan known as the ‘14 Words’: ‘We must secure the existence of our people and a future for white children.’” (“88” is another example of a number symbol that stands for “HH” or “Heil Hitler.”)

I’m not going to go into a rabbit hole to make sense of Kek and Pek right now, but check out the articles by Quincy Frey and Jay Hathaway listed below and The Cult of Kek online. I did learn that “Kek” is 4chan slang for laughter or amusement, however, and “Pek” is the purple pigeon or as Nazis call it “trash dove.”

One last thing. I did a Google image search of the sticker and found that Amazon sells them online ($19.95 for 20). Yipes!

In 2018, activists declared July 17 as #PrimeDayofAction, a protest that coincides with Amazon’s “Prime Day” on July 16. It turns out that Amazon and other similar companies are being criticized for selling and profiting off of hateful racist and fascist merchandise. A 30-page report, called Delivering Hate: How Amazon’s Platforms are Used to Spread White Supremacy, Anti-Semitism, and Islamophobia, and How Amazon can Stop It, was created by the Partnership for Working Families and the Action Center on Race & the Economy, and states:

“This report is a contribution to a growing body of work identifying Amazon and other technology companies’ ties to hate organizations. We are indebted to the ongoing work of the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) to track hate organizations at Amazon and throughout our society. Color of Change has been tracking hate groups’ use of payment service providers and Amazon as a selling platform. You can see its work at SumOfUs has been calling on Amazon to stop advertising on Breitbart News after many other major companies have done so. You can learn more at

To identify hate symbols, this report relies on the ADL’s Hate Symbols Database. To identify hate groups and leaders in hate movements, including publishers and record labels, it relies on the Hate Map project of the SPLC. To identify racist bands making hate music, this report relies on ‘Music, Money and Hate,’ a 2014 report from the SPLC.”

I will write to Amazon and ask them to remove the alt-right stickers from their website. Stay tuned!

Selected Bibliography

Beran, Dale. 4chan: The Skeleton Key to the Rise of Trump. HuffPost, 20 February 2017.

Couts, Andrew. Clinton campaign releases official statement of Pepe meme. The Daily Dot, 13 September 2016.

Frey, Quincy. Right Wing Dove Squad: How Trash Doves Became the Symbol of the Alt Right. Medium, 13 February 2107.

Gonzalez, Catherine Lizette. Activists Demand Amazon Stop Selling White Supremacist Merchandise. Color Lines, 17 July 2018.

Hathaway, Jay. A meme war is raging over the future of Trash Dove. The Daily Dot, 15 February 2017.

 Neiwert, David. Is that an OK sign? A white power symbol? Or just a right-wing troll?. Southern Poverty Law Center, 18 September 2018.

Neiwert, David. What the Kek: Explaining the Alt-Right ‘Deity’ Behind their “Meme Magic”. Southern Poverty Law Center, 08 May 2017.

Nuzzi, Olivia. How Pepe the Frog Became a Nazi Trump Supporter and Alt-Right Symbol. The Daily Beast, 26 May 2016.

Stickerkitty is baaaack!

Hola! Stickerkitty is baaack (yay!) after working for the past 15 months as a senior volunteer for NY-21 Congressional candidate Tedra Cobb. Tedra, a Democrat, didn’t win in November, but the experience was powerful in terms of grassroots community building—something that is sorely needed in the United States right now. Tedra ran an honest, clean campaign, but the numbers in this rural northern NY district favored Republicans by something like 40,000 votes. Aside from Tedra herself, who is incredible, one of the most remarkable aspects of her campaign was her base of 2,000 volunteers who carried petitions, hosted house parties and fundraisers, knocked on doors, made phone calls, wrote letters, etc. It was wonderful to be a part of it all, and Tedra created a very solid foundation for another run in 2020 to #BeatStefanik.


Throughout Tedra’s campaign, I managed to achieve a few sticky successes in 2018, too. In February, I co-presented an illustrated paper with Melissa Proietti (one of the main organizers of the annual Under Pressure graffiti festival in Montréal) at a conference there called Power of the Arts National Forum: The Arts as a Tool for Peace. A short essay entitled “Silent Agitators: Early Stickerettes from the Industrial Workers of the World” was published in Josh MacPhee’s Signal 06: A Journal of International Political Graphics & Culture (PM Press, 2018). Two short essays on US stickerettes and German St. Pauli Football Club stickers will also be published in DB Burkeman’s Stickers 2 (Rizzoli, 2019). DB’s first Stickers: Stuck-Up Piece of Crap: From Punk Rock to Contemporary Art (Rizzoli, 2010) was in some ways the book I wanted to write, but he beat me to it!

St. Lawrence University (SLU) also received an additional Consortium Development grant from the U.S. Council of Independent Colleges, as follows:

Executive summary

As a member of the U.S. Council of Independent Colleges Consortium on Digital Resources for Teaching and Research since 2015, St. Lawrence University received an additional Consortium Development Grant to further develop the Street Art Graphics digital image collection in JSTOR Forum (formerly Shared Shelf). The grant will extend a multi-year collaboration between SLU gallery director Catherine Tedford and Hatch Kingdom Sticker Museum director/curator Oliver Baudach by bringing Baudach to the SLU campus in the spring of 2019 to add 322 street art stickers by female artists to the Street Art Graphics digital image collection.

In addition, the collection’s use in teaching undergraduates will be promoted through a “SLU Faculty Fellow” that will develop a model for course-based writing assignments. The grant will also support independent research and writing for the People’s History Archive, a group blog initiated by the gallery and SLU’s Global Studies department.

The Street Art Graphics digital archive is a unique resource; no other digital archive in the world features street art stickers or stickers by female artists, who are vastly under-represented anywhere, in such depth and breadth.

Stickers in the classroom: GER 103 – Politische Plakate und Aufkleber* in Deutschland

In the fall of 2017, I worked with a German professor at SLU, Brook Henkel, on a writing assignment for students in his Intermediate German 103 course. In preparation, I had scanned all of the political stickers that Oliver Baudach had given me in 2017 in order to keep the content as current as possible.  (Oli, the founder and director of Hatch Kingdom, is my primary source for political stickers in Germany.)

This writing assignment was different than the assignments I did with Marina Llorente in 2012 and 2014 (+ Part I – annotating images) that focused on political stickers from Spain.  This time, I had the students read two short essays on the Street Art Graphics digital archive and on Hatch Kingdom. Brook took the lead on the assignment, however, and said I could post the English version of it here on Stickerkitty:

Brook Henkel assignment: Politische Plakate und Aufkleber* in Deutschland

On Friday, December 1, in class, we will be meeting with the Director of the Brush Art Gallery Cathy Tedford to study her collection of German political stickers. Our goal for this class will be for each student to identify three stickers of interest that have a similar political theme (anti-fascism, feminism, gay rights, anti-racism, environmentalism, economics, migration, refugees, specific political figures, etc.). Based on your common interests with others in the class, you will begin working in pairs to discuss, translate, interpret, and analyze your chosen images.

Due next Friday, December 8, will be your fourth and final essay, which will describe the cultural and historical context for your selected images along with a close analysis of one of the political stickers. Your essay should have a three paragraph format:

  • (1) Introduction of the political, historical, and/or cultural context in Germany referred to by the stickers (Here, you might need to do a little research online. When describing past events and conditions in Germany, pay attention to the proper verb tenses of “Imperfekt/Präteritum” and “Plusquamperfekt” and use each of the following conjunctions at least once: “als”, “nachdem”, “bevor”.)
  • (2) Introduction and close formal analysis of one of the images (see reverse side for a guide to writing about images in German)
  • (3) A discussion of all 3 images in general and commentary on their collective message and strategy as visually striking combinations of text and image.

Note: when you’ve completed either a full first draft or are working to polish a final draft, you are free to visit the German Writing Center in the Language Resource Center on the second floor of Carnegie Hall, Sundays through Thursdays 8:00-10:00 pm. An advanced student in German will be there to read your complete draft and help you identify and correct any grammatical or stylistic mistakes.

* das Plakat(e) = a poster adhering to outdoor surfaces for advertising, art, protest, etc.

der Aufkleber = an adhesive sticker or label, also used in political street art.

Aufsatz 4 - Bildanalyse


Two of the students’ essays are featured below (with a third to follow soon).

Corinne Jacobsen, SLU ’18

Die Antifa ist eine kurze Form der Antifaschistischen Aktion. Sie ist eine politische Gruppe in Deutschland, die gegen Faschismus ist. Als die Nazis in den 1930er mächtig wurden, hatte die Antifa gegen es angefangen. Nachdem die Naziunterdrückung im Zweiten Weltkrieg geendet hatte, wurde die Antifa in Deutschland mehr beliebt. Bevor die Bewegung in den 1980er um die Besetzthäuser in Westberlin ausbreitete, hatte die Antifa mit Sozialismus und Kommunismus identifiziert. Die Antifa hat sich verändert, und heute ist es mehr radikal. Sie ist noch immer gegen Faschismus, aber heftiger. Berlin ist nicht die einzige Stadt mit Anitfa Gruppen. Mehre Gruppen bildeten nach den 1980er in anderen Städten auch. Kürzlich blockierte die Antifa Gruppen die Nazistreffen in einigen Deutschstädten. Das Logo der Antifa hat zwei Fahnen, eine Rote und eine Schwarze, in einem schwarzen Kreis.

Mein Hauptbild hat eine Faust, dass den Hakenkreuz (Swastika) schlägt. Es ist ein kühnes Bild, weil die Grafik klar und groß ist. Die Primärfarben sind rot und weiß. Rot ist wichtig, weil es das Auge zieht. Es hat wenige Wörter, aber die Nachricht ist stärker mit wenigeren Wörtern, weil es kühner und einfacher zu verstehen ist. Die Wörter “Gegen Nazis” und die Faust sind in einem Rechteck, weil das eine Nachricht ist. Darunter ist ein kleines Rechteck nur mit den Wörtern “Antifa Area” und einem kleinen Stern. Der Stern trennt die Wörter. Die Rechtecke machen das Bild kraftvoller, weil sie scharfe Ecken haben. Die Rechtecke machen das Bild kraftvoller, weil sie scharfe Ecken haben. Die Kreise haben keine Ecken, also sind sie weich. Insgesamt ist das Design minimalistisch.


Alle drei Bilder sind gegen Faschismus, aber nur zwei Bilder haben mit Antifa zu tun. Das andere Antifa Bild hat das Logo der Antifa, und Männer tragen schwarze Gesichtsmasken in einer Gasse mit Graffiti. Die Männer sind fertig für Aktion. Ich finde es zu aggressiv. Ich mag es nicht. Der Text ist zu lang und die Nachricht ist imperativ.


Das letzte Bild ist mehr fröhlich. Ich denke, dass es Spaß macht, weil es eine positive Nachricht ist, “Love Music, Hate Fascism.” Jeder mag Musik, warum nicht? Aber es ist auf Englisch, damit vielleicht mehre Leute es verstehen können. Und wieder ist das Design minimalistisch mit nur zwei Farben, schwarz und weiß.


Abigail Von Recklinghausen, SLU ’19

In Deutschland gibt es überall politische Aufkleber. Die Gruppe „Kein Bock auf Nazis“ will das Wort verbreiten, dass Nazis schlecht sind. Als die Gruppe im Jahr 2006 gegründet wurde, war es ihr Ziel, Menschen zu informieren. Bevor es Kein Bock auf Nazis gab, hatten sich andere Anti-Nazi-Gruppen gebildet. Kein Bock auf Nazis ist gegen die AFD, eine extrem rechte politische Party. Die Gruppe hält ständig Proteste, unter anderem gestern in Hannover. Nachdem Kein Bock Auf Nazis einen Nazi-Aufkleber gesehen hatten, legten sie ihren Aufkleber über Nazi-Aufkleber. Auf ihrer Webseite sagen sie, „Die einfachste Möglichkeit etwas gegen Neonazis in Deiner Gegend zu unternehmen, ist es ihren Mist zu entfernen. Wo immer die Rechten Propaganda verkleben heißt es für uns, Abreißen oder besser gleich mit Stickern überkleben.“

Der Aufkleber, den ich mag, ist ein Aufkleber der über Nazi-Propaganda gelegt wird. Es ist groß und ein Rechteck. Der Aufkleber hat drei Farben: schwarz, weiß und rosa. Der Aufkleber ist hauptsächlich Text. Der Hintergrund ist schwarz mit einem großen rosa „X“. Der Text darüber liest sich „hier wurde ein Nazisticker überklebt!“. In der rechten unteren Ecke ist der Ausdruck „mach mit!“ und der Link zur Website der Gruppe. Zusätzlich auf der linken Seite ist das Bild einer Faust, die das Nazi-Symbol trifft. Die Botschaft des Aufklebers ist anderen zu erzählen, dass ein Naziaufkleber dort war, aber es wird nicht angenommen. Dieser Aufkleber bedeckt den Naziaufkleber und entfernt die hasserfüllte Mitteilung von der rechten Party. Die Farben sind fett und auffällig. Die Bewegung ist beliebt bei Jugendgruppen, die gegen Nazis sind. Der Aufkleber sagt seine Anti-Nazis Mitteilung und macht einen Punkt für Leute, um zu wissen, dass ein Naziaufkleber verdeckt wurde, verglichen mit einem anderen politischen Parteiaufkleber.


Es gibt andere Aufkleber, die die gleiche Mitteilung wie die Aufkleber Kein Bock auf Nazis teilen. Andere Aufkleber sind nicht so fett und hell wie die Kein Bock auf Nazis Aufkleber, aber sie machten Nazi-Bilder unsichtbar. Die Aufkleber haben oft viel Text. Die Aufkleber sind direkt und auf den Punkt bezogen auf ihre Botschaft, dass sie gegen Nazis sind. Die Aufkleber sind auch groß genug, um die darunterliegenden Nazi-Aufkleber abzudecken. Die Gruppen, die diese Anti-Nazi-Aufkleber benutzen, sind junge Leute, die friedliche Wege finden, Nazi-Propaganda zu entfernen, an die sie nicht glauben. Wenn ich in Deutschland leben würde, würde ich die Leute hinter diesen Aufklebern unterstützen.


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 (Berlin, Germany), 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 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.



Flickr Photos

January 2020
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