North London's angry & witty protest stickers: a gallery of lamp-post art
December 17, 2021 5:12 AM   Subscribe

Great selection. On the one hand I agree with the collector's decision not to showcase the many fascist/anti-vax/racist stickers that are in the same areas, but I think this also gives a bit of a skewed impression of the politics of most sticker makers. My own area (south London) is besieged by anti-vax and anti-government stickers (usually the same sticker), though occasionally there are pro-BLM and pro-trans rights ones as well. When I lived in Tottenham I would regularly see stickers from European fascist/ultra/football hooligan groups slapped up on the walls and over advertising in the underground stations, probably intended to piss off fans going to see Spurs play.

Pro tip: if you're removing a fascist sticker, use your keys or a sharp metal object rather than your fingers to scrape it off. Occasionally the stickers will have razorblades underneath them.
posted by fight or flight at 5:58 AM on December 17, 2021 [8 favorites]

Cool! An interesting example of how something which seems ephemeral, messy and inconsequential in everyday life suddenly feels like art when well organised, curated and noticed.
posted by penguin pie at 6:49 AM on December 17, 2021

Fight or Flight: I've seen all the kinds of stickers you mention in my own walks too - principally the Covid denier ones - but wanted to avoid the danger of spreading their message to even a single extra reader. I'm glad to say that lefty stickers well outnumber the facist or racist ones in both the north London boroughs where I spend my time. I often see anti-racist stickers and posters here which have been attacked with great venom by the people who disagree with them, though. Even a mild reminder that we could all be a bit kinder to refugees can trigger this very angry response.
posted by Paul Slade at 7:38 AM on December 17, 2021 [5 favorites]

Welp. I messed up posting from Projects. Here is the rest of the post from Paul Slade:
I've been out photographing the street art of my North London neighbourhood again. This time, it's the wide range of angry, witty and often very creative protest stickers adorning every lamp-post and traffic sign round here. Targets of the 50+ stickers in my online gallery include climate change, male violence, NHS austerity, Brexit and increased police powers. Others I've chosen aren't protest stickers at all, but earn a place anyway simply because they made me laugh.

This is the third London Street Art gallery I've posted in the past couple of years. The previous two covered BLM art and pandemic art respectively.

I think of these little camera safaris as the city equivalent of a nature diary, noting the small details and seasonal changes that catch my eye on each daily walk. It adds a whole new level of interest to what would otherwise have become some very over-familiar and boring routes by now. I'd be fascinated to see what a similar approach can turn up in other Mefites' home towns.
posted by zennie at 7:46 AM on December 17, 2021 [2 favorites]

It's good to carry a black mop marker to blot out bad stickers without risking your fingers. You can also get big stinky black wedge permanent markers from the dollar store if you don't want to seek out an art supply shop, but you'll need a few more passes for good coverage.
posted by seanmpuckett at 7:57 AM on December 17, 2021 [2 favorites]

I really liked the Coronavirus street art--thank you, Paul Slade!
posted by MonkeyToes at 9:41 AM on December 17, 2021

I started taking photos of street stickers in DC around a decade ago, and now have hundreds of them - it's definitely easy to get obsessive about it.
posted by ryanshepard at 11:14 AM on December 17, 2021

Can we see some of them please, ryanshepard?
posted by Paul Slade at 11:43 AM on December 17, 2021

Wish we had those biohazard stickers for Trump over here. On our way to 1M dead because of that trash and his cult. Seattle needs to seriously up its street art game.
posted by They sucked his brains out! at 12:44 PM on December 17, 2021 [3 favorites]

Paul Slade, we probably passed each other on some of our lockdown walks around North London. Here's some of the street art and graffiti I saw:

Changed Priorities Ahead
Curfew: Social Cleansing
I miss GOOD times
Fck Boris
Maintain Anti-Social Distance

And another one of the vox pop posters (I see you found one too).
posted by verstegan at 3:33 PM on December 17, 2021 [1 favorite]

Plenty of anti fascist and lefty stickers around Walthamstow, definitely outnumbering the fash/anti-vax stuff though there is some of that about.
posted by knapah at 3:46 PM on December 17, 2021

Paul Slade, we probably passed each other on some of our lockdown walks around North London

Yep, we probably did - some of the neighbourhoods and artists you've captured there definitely ring a bell with me. I love the way someone's carefully mimicked a real street sign for that Changed Priorities one!

It's good to know I'm not the only one who's become fascinated by collecting this stuff. The fact that it lives out there in the big, messy, physical world rather than online is a big part of the appeal for me.
posted by Paul Slade at 8:11 PM on December 17, 2021 [3 favorites]

I used to take photos of these stickers too - at times they are examples of such great creativity! For quite a while I was also posting them to a Tumblr page (until I locked myself out 🤦‍♂️).
posted by eddieddieddie at 12:48 PM on December 30, 2021

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