Visual Arts

5 Favorite Things From Sticker Phiends 6 in Tempe

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See also: Sticker Phiends 6 in Photos

Considered to be as much a component of street art as graffiti and stencil work, the sticky installations of adhesive art are a different sort of beast than their paint-splattered cousins while occupying the same sort of legal gray area. Not only can it be done practically anywhere and everywhere (including spaces where tagging isn't possible), it's quicker to slap up and has a lower barrier for those potential artists interested in pursuing the form. And certain types of sticker art can be tougher to remove.

Adhesive art is practiced in cities around the globe and been celebrated and showcased in many a gallery and art space, including here in the Valley via Sticker Phiends. Launched by onetime local artist Mike "Mad One" Neely back in 2008, the popular event featured an impressive amalgamation of works that's included sticker and adhesive art in its many forms, as well as other media of the street and urban sort.

After a two-year break that was due to Mad One's relocation to Portland in 2012, Sticker Phiends made a welcome return to the Valley this past Saturday at Cartel Coffee Lab in Tempe for its sixth edition. Jackalope Ranch was in attendance and got to scope out the multitude of stickers and the other creative efforts on display and compiled a rundown of a few things in particular that we dug.

The Stickers

The namesake art form of the event was most definitely in abundance at Cartel on Saturday. A long table next to the DJ booth (where co-organizer Sike was working the ones and twos all evening) was covered with piles of free samples for attendees to sift through while local sticker artists like Xray Voltron traded and sold their works in the coffee lab's seating area.

And then there were the two eight-foor-square sticker walls, which featured the works of more than 100 different artists from throughout world, including Portland's Voxx Romana, Slick-Dissizit from L.A., and Mad One himself. He estimates that it took him upwards of 24 hours to curate and create both pieces and admits to being "fascinated" by all the sticker art that was submitted from around the world.

"Every year this happens, the international presence gets stronger, which I love. There are submissions from Australia, Tokyo...basically everywhere," Mad One says. "I don't look it as a collection of big names anymore, I'm looking at how much everybody from all these different places and elements and what they do in life wants to be involved."

He's also impressed by the quality of the stickers that are being sent his way.

"As this goes on, I'm not looking at the quantity of submissions, I'm looking at the quality of art that's being submitted," Mad One says, "and it's getting stronger and better and more advanced every year, whether it be the way they make 'em, the way they design 'em, or the materials used to make a sticker. So that's what I like to see."

The Art Work

Art of a non-adhesive nature was also a big part of Sticker Phiends 6, as more than three-dozen prints and paintings adorned the walls of Cartel Coffee Lab. Works were submitted by a number of the same artists that contributed their stickers to the show, the most prominent of which is the esteemed Shepard Fairey, who offered up several pieces utilizing his signature theme of "OBEY."

Other notable names from around the U.S. that had works on display included famed L.A. stencil artist Murdock, muralist/street artist Codak, and east coast graphic designer Evoker One. Local creatives also has a presence at the event, ranging from Blunt Club founder Adam "Dumperfoo" Dumper to the enigmatic Tempe-based creative known as Disposable Hero.

"There were some heavy-hitter names that sent in art work to be part," Mad One says. "I just think it adds a whole different element to the show."

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Benjamin Leatherman is a staff writer at Phoenix New Times. He covers local nightlife, music, culture, geekery, and fringe pursuits.