At a glance, the stickers that plaster street poles, stop signs and fire hydrants on nearly every block in Portland might look like urban detritus. But "slap-tagging" has become a platform for DIY artists around the world. And we're one of its major hubs.
"Portland is quite remarkable in the level and quality of our stickers," Tiffany Conklin, co-director of the Portland Street Art Alliance, told Street Roots in 2017.
We spoke to a handful of artists behind the city's most recognizable sticker tags and asked them to describe what they do and why they do it.
Why stickers? Putting art in a gallery is very limiting. I love catching people off guard when they are in the supermarket grabbing a can of food, or reaching for a poop bag at the park.
What's your style? My work is based off a single skull photo I took in London over 12 years ago. A brain tumor many years ago sparked this morbid curiosity and I've been exploring it ever since.
Why stickers? I love being able to give my art to the world, however lame it may be.
What's your style? I tend to bounce around a lot. I was making a lot of stuff based on hand-painted and mid-century signs. Right now it's movies and the idea of finding the separation between the art and the artist.
Why stickers? Stickers are like art that can go anywhere. I like to make the mundane more interesting and inject a message of love.
What's your style? Bold, colorful, and iconic—playful yet evocative.
Why stickers? My motto has always been, "Art for the people." And it's fun to have art tucked away in random places out in the world.
How do you describe your style? My character comes from a long time obsession with Wes Anderson—Richie Tenenbaum is the character I felt the most connected to. He's sad and always looking for love in all the wrong places, but still has style.