Weekend link-o-rama

March 31st, 2012 | By | No Comments »

Overunder in Bridgeport, CA

For me, this week was spent thinking way too much about the digital humanities at Re:Humanities. You may be asking what that is. I’m still not entirely sure, but I think it means using YouTube and Twitter to learn important stuff rather than to watch laughing-baby-related videos and talk about the last hamburger you ate. Still, interesting stuff. Kinda helps justify running a blog. Here’s what I was reading when I was trying not to waste my time on the web:

Photo by Overunder

Category: Art News, Gallery/Museum Shows, Photos, Print Release, Random | Tags: , , , , , , ,

Martha Cooper interview

January 19th, 2012 | By | 1 Comment »

Various artists. Photo by Paris sous les sticks

It almost goes without saying that Martha Cooper has been one of the most important documentarians of graffiti culture for the last few decades. Her urban and hip hop culture photography is iconic. More recently, Martha Cooper has expanded her graffiti documentation to the photography and collection of stickers. Her two latest books, Going Postal and Name Tagging, spotlight sticker art made with postal labels and Hello My Name Is stickers.

On Saturday from 1-3pm, Martha will join sticker fanatic and author of one of my favorite booksDB Burkeman, for a book signing at a sticker exhibition curated by DB. The show, STUCK-UP: A Selected History of Alternative & Pop Culture Told Through Stickers, is at Chicago’s Maxwell Colette Gallery and features stickers from a top-notch roster of artists.

I would gladly hop on the next plane and see this exhibit in person, but that was not an option so instead I asked Martha Cooper a few questions.

Caroline: In your book Name Tagging, you explain how you began appreciating stickers after you bought your first digital camera. What was it about the digital medium that initiated this interest in stickers?

Martha Cooper: Pre-digital, I rarely took my heavy, bulky Nikon out unless I was headed for something specific to shoot.  It cost about 50 cents for film and processing every time I clicked the shutter. So although I had noticed stickers for years, I hadn’t looked at them closely and hadn’t bothered to shoot many.

My first digital camera was a little Olympus that I could easily carry around with me all the time.  It had a very good close-up lens and performed well under low light. Once I had the camera, it didn’t cost any more to keep shooting so I was free to take as many photos as I wanted. Transitioning from analog to digital was a challenge. Shooting stickers was an unstressful way to practice new technology with interesting subject matter.

C: What led to you removing and collecting stickers off the street, rather than just photographing them?

MC: I’ve always been a collector. I like to look at different examples of things. At first after shooting a nice sticker, I printed it and saved it in an album. That began to feel unsatisfactory–I wanted the original. I only shoot and collect hand drawn stickers and this is pretty much the only form of graffiti and street art that can actually be removed from the street. Of course writers have criticized me for this and I know this is a dubious defense, but someday I hope to have a museum sticker exhibit.

Various artists. Photos by Lois Stavsky

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Category: Events, Featured Posts, Interview | Tags: , , ,

Interview with DB Burkeman

January 19th, 2012 | By | 2 Comments »

Shepard Fairey. Photo by RJ Rushmore

In 2010, Rizzoli published the definitive book on stickers and sticker art. That book is Stickers: Stuck-Up Piece of Crap: From Punk Rock to Contemporary Art by DB Burkeman and Monica LoCascio. DB seems to be the ultimate sticker fanatic, and his book tells the history of stickers in a way that only someone completely obsessed could possibly pull off. If you don’t know anything about stickers, you can skim through and get an introduction. If you’re already interested, Stuck-Up Piece of Crap gives a behind-the-scenes look at everything from early graffiti stickers to stickers in the music world to the homes and minds of sticker collectors. Of course, DB has quite a sticker collection himself. A small chunk of DB’s collection will be on display starting tomorrow at Maxwell Colette Gallery in Chicago, alongside a few other sticker-related events (and he and Martha Cooper will be signing books at the gallery on Saturday from 1-3pm). I spoke with DB last week…

RJ: Why do you think you are drawn to stickers?

DB Burkeman: It’s changed over the years for me, but now the simple answer is they are simply tiny portable works of art. That may have a different answer for each person.

RJ: In your collecting habits, do you differentiate between “art stickers” or “graffiti stickers” and stickers intended as advertisements?

DB: Never really thought about that, but I’m less drawn to stickers that are obviously advertisements. I’ve also become more picky since overdoing on the damn things : )

Poke and Gee. Photo by RJ Rushmore

RJ: How many stickers do you have in your collection?

DB: Somewhere between 4000-6000 & growing, much to my family & friends annoyance. It can take a long time to get down the street with me, I keep stopping to check out lampposts etc. Read the rest of this article »

Category: Featured Posts, Interview | Tags: , ,