Bumper Stickers Art – History and Trends

Who said that a car bumper cannot be used as a medium to showcase some modern art pieces, like stickers? Of course, it can. While this statement remains highly arguable for many art critics and followers of the traditional art, the community of sticker artists accepts it as a self-evident axiom and so does the growing amount of people, ready to turn their cars into galleries on wheels like the ones below:

Short Introduction of the Sticker Art

There are many types of art, which commonly fall out of the traditional concept and conventional understanding of art by the majority of people. The proportion of those, who will hardly mention tattoo, graffiti, poster design and collage in the list of “real” arts, is still significant. However, one of the signs of true art is that it does not require wide public recognition and acceptance. Furthermore, the modern style and pace of life has also a great impact on art evolution and emerging of its new forms. People do not have much time to spend in the galleries today; so artists respond to this by exposing their works on the streets and construction sites, on supermarket walls, subway cars, and on car bumpers too.  Sticker art belongs to such modern forms of art, which may not always be identified as “art”, but which still attract the attention of many people by its simplicity and exactness of the delivered messages.

Sticker art can sometimes attain the form of sticker bombing or sticker tagging – a unique way of delivering messages and images with the help of multiple stickers with the same or similar image displayed to a wide publicity. Actually, sticker art is often referred to a type of street art and graffiti. Stickers may dwell on some important social issues, promote some event or an artist, or just express the attitude of an author towards some political, social, cultural issue or situation. Building walls, road signs, and mail boxes are often chosen to display sticker art, which gives rise to an understandable social indignation with such art, which spoils municipal property and environment. Here are some examples of sticker art “galleries” in busiest cities of the world.

Bumper Stickers History

First appearing in the 1940s, bumper stickers turned into one of the most popular forms of sticker art. Used for multiple purposes – from officially indicating the country, to which a vehicle belongs, to humorous tips and recommendations to other participants of the road traffic. The pioneer in bumper sticker art is believed to be Forest P. Gill, who made bumper stickers more practical and widely spread by replacing wire attachment with the adhesive one. Today, the most popular media for bumper stickers is PVC film of 12 X 3 inches in size. Here are a few examples of bumper stickers.

Country Bumper Stickers and Those Referring to Road Regulations

Political Bumper Stickers

Funny Bumper Stickers

What are the perspectives of bumper stickers in the modern culture? Will they remain at the street art level or evolve into a “full-featured” art? Well, there is hardly a definite answer to this question now. Bumper stickers represent a very versatile form of creative ideas and concepts expression, which lives on its own as long as its amateurs and followers live. Art critics and wide publicity can lead endless discussions, speculating about the artistic value of bumper stickers or their negative environmental impact, though sticker art will still continue to progress and, maybe, it will soon evolve into some absolutely new form of alternative art…

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Mykola Stepanyuk

After trying myself in multiple spheres, I have decided that the bigger part of my soul clearly votes for the humanitarian sciences and art. Thus, following the call of my soul and mind I received the University education and now I am fully involved in multiple web activities. I am deeply interested in the novel web technologies, design, content development and management, optimization and marketing.

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