"WAKE UP!," reads one of the stickers plastered among a sea of others at last April's STUCK Adhesive Show at the Hangar Gallery. Although the black-on-white sticker is one of the least eccentric in the bunch, it forces the onlooker to pay attention. Which is something Vivian Azalia wants people to start doing, because Miami's sticker movement is growing and the quick stick, mass distribution art form has a lot to say.
This Saturday, STUCK is introducing a new wave of sticker artists that range from local to international and they want the public to join in and slap a few pieces up with them.
The first STUCK show, which brought in almost 300 participants, started as a silly conversation between Azalia and her boss at the Hangar. "We were laughing and talking about a bunch of grown-ups sitting around making stickers," Azalia, the show's curator, said of the first event. Disappointed with the way Miami's sticker artists were being commoditized in certain instances where their stickers were being sold without their permission after they submitted hundreds of stickers to up-and-coming local sticker events, she partnered with graffiti artist USVSTHEBUFF to showcase local artists in a positive environment dedicated to art for art's sake. "The whole purpose of the event is not to buy or sell anyone's stickers, but to trade with them and meet different artists," she said.
More than 4,000 stickers and five countries took part in the event that drew in people from all age groups. Guests ranging from age 12 to 60 dropped by to make stickers, paste them up, and trade. For its latest event, the response is just as enthusiastic. Multiple artists have already mailed in their stickers; each submitting anywhere from 20 to 250. "We dedicate it to Miami sticker people, it's not just during Basel. People come from all over the world to come see and put up stickers. It's a mixture of a whole bunch," Azalia said.
Azalia's own passion for sticker bombing began after stumbling upon an article in Life Magazine about Mary Cumming, an obscure artist from the '60s, whose artistic credibility was challenged throughout her life. "She was working for a man, like a secretary, and he told her, 'Your art work is great, but no one is going to respect it,' so he offered to claim it as his own. But as the years went on, more women artists became respected, so she came out and announced it was her ideas and work and no one believed her. So it wasn't until after he died did people believe her," Azalia said. She has printed more than 4,000 stickers of Cumming, her personal inspiration for female empowerment.
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She invites all local sticker enthusiasts to find their own form of empowerment through adhesive art culture this Saturday. Guests can expect to see work from artists such as Buddha Funk (Miami), Arive (Miami), Atomik (Miami), Synapse (New York), Web (California), Gem the Alien (New Mexico), and Infoe (Miami).
DJ G Morelli will supply the music and Munchie Culture will provide the, well, munchies. Come out and make some stickers or bring ready made ones. There are no rules, just diversify the adhesive selection -- vinyl, tags and hand styles (but try to keep them to a minimum), block letters, bubble letters, pieces, and hollows.