Stickem’ Up!

So I think the first time I even noticed sticker art, really noticed it… I mean, had an image stuck in my mind (no pun intended) and thought about it long afterwards, was during the Obey Giant campaign in the early 90’s, which made its way all the way to San Francisco from its origination in Providence, Rhode Island.  I had seen the stickers, stuck everywhere, for years.  It wasn’t until my friend Zak asked me if I knew what they were about, that I realized I had just assumed that “Obey Giant” was the name of a band and that these were promotional stickers for some rock group.  It had never crossed my mind that these might be art, and that the artist might be promoting something different than merchandise or an event…

As everyone now knows, Obey Giant was the creation of Shepard Fairey who achieved mass recognition and mainstream notoriety last year with his indelible incarnation of Barack Obama in red and shades of blue.  We’ve all seen it.  Fairey’s image became the publicly-but-not-politically-endorsed campaign image, and subsequently became the subject of a lawsuit regarding ownership rights of the original photographic portrait of Obama that Shepard used as his basis..  But I digress…

We were talking about stickers.

The Obey Giant stickers paired the word “Obey” with a graphic image of Andre the Giant, in stark black and white.  You can read all about the experiment in phenomenology that Shepard Fairey intended with this campaign, and more that you ever wanted to know about stickers in his essay on Sticker Art.  It begins…

“Sticker’s rule. When I pause to think about it, stickers have changed my life.

And with that sentiment, I leave you with this lovely whimsical sticker, found along the Mandela Parkway bike route, which incidentally, was a great addition to my West Oakland neighborhood…

oaktownart_20090908

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