October 25th, 2010 by Art Chantry
I love rock stickers. I especially love those really terrible little homemade jobbies that geeks in rock bands design for themselves and then feel compelled to plaster all over rock club bath rooms – and telephone poles and parking meters and walls and cars and anything and everything. It’s like some sort of suburban white boy graffiti. It’s horrible and it’s beautiful.
I remember when the merchants and other whiners in Seattle Proper banned rock posters from telephone poles and walls. It took something like 9 years for it to be overturned as unconstitutional (by some house painter not even related to clubs or bands. He just wanted to hang his advertising on a telephone pole. Where were all the grunge guys who made so much money when the fight began? Huh?) So strange that at the peak of the Seattle “Grunge” scene, the business greedheads really thought it wasn’t fair that those creepy grungers were getting something for free (a cardinal sin in America) and making their lovely telephone poles all messy with their ‘free’ advertsing at the same time. so they lobbied to ban it and also (coincidentally?) marked the end of ‘The Scene’ at almost the same instant. Little did they know that, instead, they would have to deal with a deluge of stickers. Hahahahahaaaa….
99.9% of those stickers are really awful. Some of the band names get pretty cool, but that doesn’t have anything to do with the stickers themselves. They almost uniformly are hard edged squared-off trim, one-color and printed on the home desktop. Awful in the extreme, but when you place thousands of them on a wall and them try to clean them by tearing (or improve them with marking pen graffiti) it becomes a gorgeous texture, a whole new sensory experience. Those civic-minded self-centered seattle business swine thought they were making Seattle a “better place” by removing the “untidy” rock posters, but what they got in return was a perfect underground clandestine onslaught of tatty texture. Again, hahahaha…
However, not all of these stickers are junk. This sticker I post here is by none other than Jaime Hernandez, who (along with his brother) created the “Love and Rockets” comic books. Who were the DAMACHERS? Who knows? They probably broke up within a week of getting the printing bill for this sticker.
It’s actually printed “roll-form.” That process prints full color on self-adhesive non-stick peel-off backing. It’s often used for printing huge runs of labels for commercial bottles, packages, etc. The press itself is this bizarre 1/2-press sort of set up that takes a roll of material in one end and prints and die-cuts the shape and spools a roll of finished stickers on the other. Really cool, shop-built in appearance. Totally different sort of stuff. This sticker was printed by pros, not desktop.
Another friend of mine, the incredible cartoonist/illustrator, Jim Blanchard, began using roll form stickers in his painting. He actually takes reject stickers and builds textures and images out of them on a huge canvass (board, actually) and then comes back over the top to paint in more imagery. The results are quite striking (And he won’t guarantee long term survival. A lot of those gummy glues fail over time). All you failed rock bands out there with a garage full of stickers should send them to Jim. Who knows? Your band may yet get immortalized in a Blanchard original!
Are there any serious collectors of band stickers out there? If so, I applaud you. This is the biggest (HUGE) territory I can think of. And so much of it is such crap. And how do you manage to get the unused stickers? Doesn’t every single one of them get used on decorating urinals? Do you peel them off? How do you collect them? You are maybe the most noble of crap collectors imaginable! More power to you. It’s a huge and noble undertaking of little or no merit. The best.
Have no idea where I got this ‘Damachers’ sticker. Probably snagged it off the counter of a record store somewhere. I kept it because it was by Jaime Hernandez. A friend of mine (Todd Hignite) just finished a wonderful book (on Abrams) called “The art of Jaime Hernandez.” I suggest you run out and snag it right away before it’s gone.
Rummaging through the piles of print with a man who made lots of it.