Before the 1980s, graffiti was primarily dominated by spray paint, and markers. Graffiti writers used these mediums to make their marks on city streets, freeways and subway cars. But as the graffiti movement evolved, a new form of “getting up” emerged: stickers. This transformation has had a profound impact on graffiti culture and how we understand it today.
Graffiti has been a part of human history for thousands of years, but it wasn't until the 20th century in the 1960s that it started gaining widespread attention as an urban art form. Around the late 1980s, stickers slowly began to emerge as a new medium for graffiti writers. Stickers are smaller, portable, and can be created and applied quickly, reducing the risk of being caught.
One of the most iconic stickers in graffiti is the United States Postal Service (USPS) Priority Mail label. In the 1990s, graffiti writers discovered that these labels, available for free at post offices, were the perfect canvas. Writers began to customize these labels tags, throwies and pieces, and soon, USPS Priority Mail stickers became synonymous with the sticker graffiti movement.
Today, stickers have become a widespread and integral part of graffiti culture. Most writers have embraced the medium, creating everything from simple font designs, to hand-drawn work to intricate pieces. Sticker graffiti can be found in cities across the globe, adorning street signs, utility boxes, and countless other surfaces.
The sticker graffiti movement has also given rise to a thriving subculture, with artists trading and collecting stickers from around the world. Social media platforms and online forums have further expanded the reach of sticker graffiti, allowing writers to share their work and connect with like-minded individuals.