Olympia’s Growing Culture of Vandalism with Stickers

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Olympia’s Growing Culture of Vandalism with Stickers

Max Hesse-Morgan

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By: Max Hesse-Morgan

Sticker graffiti is a growing subculture of graffiti, that replaces traditional tagging with pens and spray paint with  printed or hand drawn stickers. This trend is growing now in Olympia Washington as an expressive, yet illegal artistic medium, with many new artists becoming active in the area.

The act of putting up stickers has been around for close to thirty years, being heavily influenced by graffiti, but has expanded far from its original origins becoming a media for all forms of art.

“I’ve always been inspired by graffiti art, but also art in general,” says artist/graffiti writer ‘Amend One,’ an Olympia local who started out as a graffiti writer in the late nineties. “Stickers are a good way to show many types of art, I still base mine on my love for graff. I’ll always do both but I focus on stickers now.”

“It allows me to be creative,” says another local artist who goes by the name ‘Ecto 27,’ an Olympia transplant who moved here from Portland earlier this year. “It’s a past time at home, you know just doodling and drawing, and cutting stencils, and the whole process. It’s a lot of fun, there are portions of it that are doing something that for most definitions you shouldn’t be doing. Getting away with it, and the adrenaline rush while you’re in places you shouldn’t be,” he says about his motives for doing stickers and other street art.

“Getting up is fun and it’s cool when you catch people wondering who you are, but art means the world to me, and stickers, graffiti, and street art are some of the purest forms of art for me,” says Amend.

Sticker culture is growing in Olympia as Ecto says, “I’ve definitely seen an uptick in sticker making. It’s become a lot easier for a lot of people[…] but it’s like anything, the more you see it, the more people recreate it. There’s a lot of people imitating what they see out there,”

“I would say that up here, tagging is more common, but down in Portland, stickers are the most common.,” adds Ecto’s fiance ‘Pluss.’

While Olympia is a much smaller city compared to Portland and Seattle, the Pacific Northwest’s hubs for street art and graffiti. “For the size of the town, it’s definitely happening here[…]it’s less out here but it’s still a healthy amount. I don’t feel like I’m the only one doing it,” says Ecto.

“I think there’s a good sticker game in Oly,” says Amend. “there’s a lot of dope stuff in town, and bathrooms downtown are almost as sick as some in Seattle.”

“The sticker world is taking on a world of its own more excpected than graffiti. It’s gonna be interesting to see it expand and grow, I’ve already met people all around the world just through our connection in stickers,” Amend gives as his final words.

Ecto, Pluss, and Amend’s work can be seen downtown and and across Olympia stuck to stop signs, bike racks, and whatever they could get a sticker on. Sticker culture is growing now and it will only get bigger as the city grows.

On Instagram:

Ecto27: @Ecto_27

Pluss: @Pluss.Street

Amend One: @_Amend_One_