Name: Underestimated Gentleman
Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
How long have you been making stickers? I’ve been doing ABIDE for a year and a half, but have only started doing stickers the last 2 months.
What inspired you to first start producing stickers? I did wheatpasting for quite a while before turning to stickers because of their ease. For wheatpasting there’s so much you have to plan out: the place, time, material, paste making, etc. But with a sticker it’s just so much easier peeling one off and sticking it just about anywhere.
What role do stickers play within the greater scope of art? Stickers are very unique because they are essentially a public medium. Anything bigger like street art or a wheatpaste often has a message to convey to people passing by, but a sticker can simply be an inside joke amongst friends that turns out to look great on a cityscape.
Materials: I chose to make my own stickers because I believe that all retailers are overpricing the costs to make stickers, hell I wouldn’t pay $2 for my own stickers if I can make my own. Basically what I do is I buy a sticker sheet from Staples and a bottle of all purpose glue, print out a couple sticker sheets and glue them to the sticker sheets so that the design is on top and sticky surface on the bottom by spreading the glue with a sponge across the page. Then I stack a bunch of heavy paperweights (textbooks are the best) on all of these sheets and leave them to dry for the night. By the time I wake up I’ve got 5-10 sheets worth of stickers waiting to be cut out. There are plenty of imperfections but the process has worked so far so why not continue?
What are some of your favorite places to put up slaps? Favourite places to put them up would probably be schools. Right now I’m lucky enough to have access to one nearby and so I exploit that to the utmost of my potential. Paste them in urinals, on lockers, backstage of the auditorium, etc. Little places where people tend to make a landmark for themselves so that the stickers get maximum attention. But when I’m out in the city my best bet is on a street sign or a coin operated news stand. What’s the longest one of your slaps has survived in the wild? One of my stickers has lasted a month or so I think, I pass by it every morning and it’s reassuring seeing it up every day. One of my wheatpastes however has lasted a year’s worth of wear and tear at this point, still clinging on.
Have you had any run-ins with the law due to your stickering? Luckily I haven’t had any issues with the law while doing my posts, I’ve had the occasional stare and whatnot but nothing serious.
What other artists inspire you? As stereotypical as it may sound my inspirations would have to be Banksy and Shepard Fairey for creating OBEY. Banksy because if it’s one thing he’s taught me it’s to just get out there and keep posting until you get results. He makes a deliberate point to make sure that artists fuck up over and over again and use their hairbrained ideas they came up with at 3AM and post them in the streets. Which is exactly what I decided to do as soon as I watched “Exit Through the Giftshop”.
Have you ever had a funny or unusual experience stickering? I haven’t done stickering long enough to have any funny experiences except every time that I see remains from one of my stickers because someone tore them off I laugh. It seems strange to me that someone would go out of their way to target my stickers and nobody else’s, I’m not really worried though because I have other people posting my stickers for me around the city at the moment. How many stickers have you produced to date? I think at this point I’ve roughly produced 200 stickers if not more, of those 200 I’ve posted about 3/4 of them. Which reminds me, I have to go and cut out some more sheets when I get the chance.
Is it about quantity or quality? To me stickering/posting anything is all about making a memory. If I’m on my way to some event then I post a sticker, if I’m having a great day then I post one, or if I’m having a shit one I still post. Really I try to post whenever it’s convenient for me to do so. Wheatpasting is different because there’s a lot of organization that goes into it which creates more memories because as you’re there on your knees plastering your work on the wall the adrenaline is still pumping because a cop car can come around the corner at any given point. Stickering is more relaxed and so I treated like that, wheatpasting in the winter isn’t really optimal either.
Do you collect stickers and/or trade with other artists? No but I’ve heard of sticker exchanged and honestly I’d love to be a part of one sometime, it’s a great way to distribute your work I’d imagine. Do you have a message you are trying to convey with your slaps? I guess my whole point is just to extend the inside joke that it all started with. “If OBEY can be big then why not ABIDE?” It all started with that really, and so that being said all I’m trying to do is just make people do a double take and think “Hmm that’s similar to OBEY….” and whatever it is that follows that. At this point it’s for my own enjoyment, trying to find some great spots where it won’t get taken down but is visible at the same time.
What is the best way to follow your work? The best way for people to reach me is on this page: https://www.facebook.com/UnderestimatedGentleman All of my new slaps/pastes get posted onto there so all people have to do is like the page and visit it every once in a while. Shouts: Shoutout to Banksy I guess, if he’ll even see this. Thanks man, you’ve been an inspiration to countless people and what you’re doing doesn’t fall on deaf ears so keep at it! I can’t wait to see what you come up with next.
Name: Underestimated Gentleman