Adhesive Street Art: The New Frontier?

Spread the love

Popular wall stickers in Brisbane and Sydney, despite having existed for some time, are emerging as the new frontier of urban street art. One of the most popular street artists who has used stickers as a medium for their art is Cristina Vanko, who uses her sticker art as a form of political protest against the continued use of coal as a fuel despite the potential for human life quality to be severely checked by unmitigated and continuing climate change.
Cristina Vanko placed stickers reading ‘I AM COAL’ on structures and objects in the urban street scape that are dependent on coal derived energy for their existence in order to raise awareness of the problem of anthropogenic climate change, and the scale and radically transformative nature of the social, technological, economic, and political change that will be necessary to prevent human induced climate change from becoming an unmitigated catastrophe for humankind. Cristina Vanko defines her I AM COAL sticker project as a form of ‘engaged art’ which calls upon passers by to engage critically with the urban street scape and consider the transformations that will be necessary to sustain life in to the future.
The use of sticker art as both a form of political expression and aesthetic play, radically democratises both art and the urban street scape by contextualising urban art in a setting where anyone can see it, and this expression can easily be undertaken by the artist, because, unlike aerosol spray paint and other forms of street art and graffiti in the urban street scape, stickers can quickly be applied with little chance of apprehension. Sticker art create a custom wallpaper in Australia for the streets which localises and lends a distinct character to the streets in which it is present.
Closely related to wall decals and urban sticker art is the much older practice of wheat pasting, which was popularised as a form of both art and politics in practice by the Yippies and Abbie Hoffmann in the American counter culture of the nineteen sixties, but which had existed for many decades prior as a form of commercial promotion with items such as posters for travelling circuses, fairs, and other similar events.
Also, in the eighteen nineties, wheat pasting was a popular way of promoting fashionable bars and night clubs in Paris. Wheat pasting refers to the means through which a strong, quick acting adhesive can be made from flour and water and used to adhere posters to walls and other publically viewable surfaces. Thin, cheap paper works best for wheat pasting because it can be dipper quickly in the wheat paste and then applied to a surface sodden with the adhesive paste, resulting in a longer lasting and quicker drying stick. One Australian artist working in this medium is the Melbourne based HAPPY, who works primarily in the streets of Fitzroy.