Son of Man
How long have you been making stickers?
Around six or seven months.
What inspired you to first start producing stickers?
The versatility of stickers is definitely what first attracted me to them. I enjoy working with canvases and various other mediums, but stickers make your work instantly accessible to anyone walking the streets or riding the trains. They are also surprisingly versatile in terms of what you can put onto them. I’m constantly trying new inks, paints or materials and most have held up well outdoors.
What role would you say stickers play within the greater scope of art?
Some stickers are undeniably art, both in technical execution and concept, however I would say that easily half the ones I see do not fall into that category, but I respect those who are solely dedicated to getting their name up in the street and do an incredible job of covering the city in slaps.
For labels I prefer 228’s or for bigger projects I’ll use the blank half sheet UPS labels. For what goes on the labels I’ve used a wide variety of materials. Initially I used Sharpie and chisel tip markers before switching to Copic markers which offer a greater range of colors. Then I moved on to making mixed media stickers using spray adhesive to attach cut outs from VHS covers, zine pages, and spray painted bristol board. I even made four or five using pieces of an antique bible I found at a thrift store. After that I moved on to block printing because of the faster production time for each sticker. I really don’t like doing the same sticker or design over and over so I rarely draw the exact same sticker twice and when block printing I experiment with different prints, colors and backgrounds.
What are some of your favorite places to put up slaps?
Some spots I always try to hit are the inside of postboxes or newspaper boxes because they don’t seem to get buffed as much as other high traffic spots. Really though, I’ll put a sticker just about anywhere it’ll stick, that versatility is the best part about using them.
What is the longest one of your slaps has survived in the wild?
There’s still a few of the first slaps I ever made up around the city so I suppose six or seven months. They don’t resemble my current work though, so I don’t think anyone would associate them with me.
Have you ever had any run-ins with the law due to your stickering?
I’ve had my stickers ripped up by the police when they found them on me, but nothing more than that. Honestly, I’m not sure how people get caught actually putting up stickers because it only takes a second.
What other artists inspire you?
In terms of sticker artists my biggest inspirations is probably Arrex, because he gets up an insane amount and the amount of experimentation he does with both his designs and their creation process is incredible. I draw most of my artistic influence from sources outside of stickers, street art, and graffiti. Lately I’ve been interested in 50’s and 60’s typography and advertisements. Traditional tattoo designs, occult symbolism and overly-conceptual garbage are also some big influences of mine.
If you had to guess, how many stickers have you produced to date?
I’ve probably hand drawn 200 or so and block printed around 600 that printed correctly and ended up turning into cut out stickers. I’ve always kept the misprinted ones though, some are actually more interesting looking, but they almost always lose their readability.
Is stickering about quantity or quality for you?
I believe in a combination of both. When I first started making slaps I would spend hours making them and quickly found I couldn’t make them fast enough to get up as much as I wanted, but I also didn’t want to rush through stickers and put up sloppy artwork. Block printing turned out to be a great solution because one detailed linoleum block can print stickers in only a few minutes.
Do you collect and/or trade slaps with other artists?
I collect stickers of all kinds and about half of my collection has come from trades with other artists. I’m pretty selective when it comes to who I’ll trade with though so I haven’t done it too much lately.
Do you have a message that you are trying to convey with your slaps?
Not really, I make stickers because I enjoy the process of making and putting them up. And there’s no message behind them, I’m just putting my name in the street with everyone else.
I’m definitely happy to say that last year I saw a bunch of stickers and street art in Chicago that went far beyond just drawing a generic character on a 228 or wheat pasting some form of “keep calm, carry on”. Hopefully we’ll see even more of it this year, it really makes the city far more interesting.
What is the best way for people to follow your work?
I update my instagram @__sonofman pretty regularly with new stickers and other artwork.