Sticker fiends can tag some unexpected locations: in alleyways, on billboards, even airplanes. English artist Jon Burgerman cites that last place as his most unusual bombing location. He recalls, “The sticker survived the flight but its legs were missing.” While he leaves the tagging to others these days, Burgerman credits his foray into stickers with jump-starting his career. “A lot of my early success came from my stickers which helped establish my work, leading to professional commissions and the opportunity to exhibit my art,” he says.
Since his early sticker days, Burgerman has branched out to include a wide variety of mediums and products. While he still produces stickers, his repertoire also includes customized skateboards, designer toys like the Burgertown Heroes collection, and color-your-own wallpaper which was exhibited at Britain’s Hay Festival. Provide the medium and he will decorate it. Originally from the UK’s Midlands, he now lives and works in Nottingham. As a child, he remembers drawing with family as his first artistic exposure. He recalls, “I would draw with my mom in our spare room before my brother was born. I drew an orange tree with pastels on blue sugar paper.” After graduating from university with a degree in fine art, he built his career online by showcasing his work on the Internet. Since then, word of mouth and a strong fan based helped the commissions roll in. Citing a laundry list of influences, he draws inspiration everywhere, from Barry McGee and Phil Frost to Cy Twombly and Picasso. He also extracts ideas from his surroundings. He says, “I’m inspired by so many things: street art, stickers, dirt, tissues, art, graphics, design, and listening to lots of music.” Over the years, his style has morphed and changed because, he adds, “I want to improve and develop. Also, I get bored easily.” His daily routine consists of “Work, eat, and snooze,” he says, adding, “I don’t think you ever really ‘turn off’ as an artist.” Although he sometimes works alone, he collaborates with other members of his “crew,” art collective Black Convoy, on a regular basis. While the specifics of his career plans are hazy, Burgerman insists, “I just want to maintain a career and keep working. That's all I really want to do and it's the only thing I'm 100% certain of.” However, he does dream of an interesting collaboration someday. According to his website, Burgerman says, “I think I’d like to work with a baker and design a series of character cakes and buns. People could buy them, look at them, get bored of them and then eat them. No waste and full bellies before bedtime. It’d be perfect!” Confections are perhaps the one medium he’s not yet tried. Although the scene may change over time, he believes that street art will remain a constant presence in daily like. “Perhaps new technologies will be utilised by some artists,” he predicts, “but there will always be paint and stickers.” All images courtesy of Jon Burgerman. For more information, see his website or Flickr.
Thanks so much, Jon! I'll be over on your side of the pond in about a week now! If anyone wants a post of their own, now's the time to do it! E-mail me or hit me up on MySpace for the details. Also, I'm packing my suitcase full of stickers to pass around, so let me know if you want yours included in the stash. Have a delightful weekend and I'll see you all back here on Monday.