By Paula Osorio
P. Osorio is a skate culture lover and a full-time writer for SHIT®️ Magazine.
After R. Stanton Avery invented self-adhesive labels in 1935 using a device that he invented and built by combining a washing machine motor, a sabre saw and some parts from an old sewing machine. From that invention, stickers made it into our everyday lives and unlocked so many levels of communication. It’s difficult to imagine a time where these guys weren’t around.
A Common Factor
The need to express ourselves through art in a “street environment” is something that skateboarding shares with graffiti, punk, hip-hop, and other “counterculture” manifestations. Something that all these cultures have in common is sticker-art. The power that lies within a few inches of vinyl is crazy. You could tell a story, send a message, make a joke, convey an idea, with just a picture or even a few words. It’s awesome that they can be stuck to just about anything, anywhere. Some of these little treasures are almost treated like collectable artwork.
Many youngsters feel the impulse to dig into skate culture because of the curiosity that the graphics printed on the decks arouses in them. There are some really sick stickers out there and it has become so easy to make stickers these days there are places that will help you design your own. There are also websites where you can design a sticker, have it printed and delivered to your door.
That being said, we can all agree that skate shops are a great place to find new stickers. Mainly, because with a very little budget for both the manufacturer and the buyer, we can cover our SHIT® with art, ideas, jokes and sayings we like and we can let the rest of the world know what we think and how we feel about things.
It’s a Whole Mindset
Choosing carefully and placing a sticker somewhere is much more than just an impulse to decorate, on the contrary, it is a way to show your ideas, thoughts and ideals with others. Stickers help you to tell everyone that you’re part of a community who share cool things and that you’re very proud of it. Sure, some of the stickers are made for advertising, but that’s just a drop in an ocean of possibilities that sticker gives us.
As we said earlier, some people collect stickers and handle them with the delicacy of an ancient relic, but there are also those who see the magic transience in them. Some stickers do well to cover the empty space on the deck and disappear as soon as you grind a couple of rails, others are meant to be in your sketchbook, on your phone, on your laptop etc. but all of them are meant to be a declaration of something. Carry them with you, stick them to things and make a statement.
Before we finish this article, we invite you to please think about those very minimal designs that preach that “skateboarding is not a crime” or say “skate or die”, they’re manifestations of a lifestyle that’s screaming to the world “We’re here and we’re not going anywhere”. After you think about that, you can go and make your own stickers, exchange them with friends, spread your ideas, cover the world and let people know that you’re present right here and right now.
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