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Sticker Bomb in OKC

This is what I learned: that everybody is talented, original and has something important to say. –Brenda Ueland, 1938

Sticker Bomb on a Utility Box

Sticker Bomb on a Utility Box

Every day, Americans navigate the interesting battleground of messages in cities across the nation. We live in a high context culture that demands extensive street and highway signage. Our highways are full of digital and traditional billboard advertisements. We can’t pass a boulevard without seeing a garage sale sign. Yards boast signs for political candidates. Corporations and organizations aim to create iconic signage on their buildings. People put bumper stickers on their cars. Even some churches have become quite notorious for posting ridiculous messages outside their houses of worship.

Suffice to say, we are constantly bombarded by messages. As a result, companies and organizations struggle more than ever before to capture the attention of consumers, donors, patrons and stakeholders.

Shark and Fish Sticker Bomb on an air hose in Oklahoma City.

Shark and Fish Sticker Bomb on an air hose in Oklahoma City.

Into this cluttered world of watered-down meaning and hyper-agendas comes the sticker bomb, a sub-genre of graffiti or street art. I think it holds the potential, albeit temporary, for trend-setting communication (i.e. guerrilla marketing). The practice involves publicly displaying a message or image using stickers. They are often affixed to utility boxes, traffic signs and phone booths, but I’ve seen entire collages on an abandoned building in Oklahoma City.

Sticker Bomb As A Label

Interestingly, sticker bombers often use labels provided to priority mail customers of the United States Postal Service. They use other materials, too, like name tag stickers and more expensive and less destructive vinyl stickers.

The messages in sticker art vary, and may or may not promote a social or political agenda. I discovered the sticker-bombed utility box in the picture above and to the right last Friday evening. This is located at a gas station on the corner of NW 23rd Street and Western Avenue in Oklahoma City. It’s actually not a utility box, but it looks like one. It’s really a box that houses the compressor for an air hose.

According to Claudia Walde who wrote Sticker City: The Paper Graffiti Generation, the modern graffiti movement began about 45 years ago. Today, it’s taking a fresh new turn with Gen Y via street art. By all accounts, it’s on the rise in cities all across the world. The subculture in Oklahoma City is very small. I don’t know if it’s growing or if I’ve just become more aware of it. I just know I don’t see much, and not much is posted on the Street Art OK Facebook page.

I recently saw the phrase “EAT PIGS” stenciled on a couple of utility boxes several miles apart, but I didn’t have my camera with me and didn’t write down where I saw them.

Have you ever seen a sticker bomb?

Gen X Blog Jennifer Chronicles

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  1. Andi

    As a marketer who is leery of marketing, I love this!

  2. Jennifer James

    @YOGI – I’d love to see some sticker art from T-Town!

    @KARIN – Thanks for that link. How fun! I love his work. So, what is it like living in Paris for four years?? What do you love and miss the most? Have you written about this on your site?

    @GRANBEE I love the concept, too! I hesitated posting “bomber” or “bombing,” but that is what they call it. =0

  3. granbee

    Jen, Thank you for giving us the correct name for this type of graffiti artist: sticker bombers. I love the whole concept and celebrate it with you~

  4. Yogi♪♪♪

    Yep, I’ve seen one although I didn’t know what it was until I read your post just now.

    Just so you know, I haven’t lost interest in graffiti and blogging about it, I’ve temporarily run out of interesting images of graffiti.

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