Most of the sticker collectors I know take pride in their collections because they have some sort of personal connection to the individual stickers. The interest is not the stickers themselves, so much as how these collectors obtained them. For Martha Cooper, it means using a secret recipe to weaken the adhesive and collect stickers that were put up illegally on the street. For some collectors, it means going to art shows with a black book and bumping into the right people. For others, like Philadelphia’s family-like network of sticker artists, it means trading stickers between artists to save or frequently to collaborate. For these people, a book of printed stickers lacks the intrinsic value that comes with compiling a collection through unique experiences.
My favorite book (of any book, not just my street art books) is DB Burkeman’s Stickers: Stuck-Up Piece of Crap because it is an encyclopedia of sticker styles and artists. However, when Laurence King Publishing sent me a copy of one of their latest publications, Stickerbomb Monsters, the immediate dissatisfaction I felt forced me to reflect on what exactly makes a sticker collection special. Stickerbomb Monsters is a book of 250 monster-themed stickers designed by a number of current illustrators, street artists, and cartoonists such as Numskull, Sheryo, Iain Burke and others. To an experiential/sentimental sticker collector, this sort of thing might be similar to a printed autograph book. To be fair, there are people who would appreciate that, and to those people, you can purchase Stickerbomb Monsters here.
If you are a sticker collector, does aesthetic take priority over sentiment, or is your collection based off your personal relationships with the stickers?
Photos courtesy of Laurence King Publishing