What kind of medium are stickers?
Stickers are “a type of label: a piece of printed paper, plastic, vinyl, or other material with pressure-sensitive adhesive on one side. They can be used for decoration or functional purposes, depending on the situation.
Stickers can come in many different shapes and sizes and also vary widely in color and design. They often adhere to items such as lunchboxes, paper, lockers, notebooks, walls, cars, windows, and so on.” Wikipedia
They are available in most homes in developed countries and the western world. Children are attracted to them, especially if the image is of a hero or heroine they admire on the internet, movies, etc.,
Many artrooms in schools have them and also kindergartens.
I see a problem with stickers in the art studio and education.
Stickers are a commercial objects. They are an expression of the western industrialized consumer realm. They are available in any shop that children enter. Moreover, they are often close to the counter where the parents pay. The image or design, which is usually related to a popular show, tempts the child. The child then becomes the calculated linkage to his parent’s wallet.
It is a consciously designed and manipulated process in our capitalistic society.
Metaphorically, stickers are like the witch’s seduction sweets house in the Hendzel and Gretel story.
This is a problematic social aspect of stickers, but they also incorporate a challenging issue concerning creativity.
Can stickers be considered material in the art room?
Is it like charcoal, like oil pastels, like plasticine?
What are they?
They are an object designed by an adult. They are complete. They are not open-ended objects.
They do not need the child’s initiative to change and experience with them. It is not like a box of oil pastels that awaits the hands.
But, because they are complete and hold within the fairy’s image or the dragon – they also intimidate children in creating and drawing because they compare. They know they can not paint such a dragon – so they stop. They might glue a few and create a world around the image they chose, but most will compare their drawings to the sticker and be frustrated.
Because stickers are so alluring and tempting, children can become very excited and “bulimic” in the amount they use. They grab and collect and hoard many and glue them “to have a lot.” Planty becomes a purpose, they become aggressive, and they do not share.
You can sense the hunger.
What is it that arises there?
It is like a shopping day in a Mall; it is a consumer’s fantasy.
Some children do use them creatively.
These are those interested in ornamentation, bold colors, and design. These children usually do not care if their pictures look naturalistic or not. They are coloristic or designers of patterns. They will use the stickers as elements in their work and integrate them with all they know. They do not see gaps or feel less about themselves.
So what should we do in the art studio? How can they be used better?
It is essential to understand what they are, when and how a child uses them, and when to keep them away or downplay them. On the other hand, if there are ornamental designer children, this might be an option. I would use geometrical stickers or simple ones and will not use any “Disney” stuff in my space.
Sticker Keywords: complete – a whole, superficial, easy to use, seduction, ornamentation, repetition, design.
17 art mediums are analyzed in depth in The Spirit of Matter