Partnering with a Prankster

Partnering with a Prankster

Introducing Olaf Breuning x Apply (Spring 2021)

Stickers are natively collaborative. When placed on an object in our lives, they add energy, color, expression, and personality, with endless possibilities. For Apply, working with brilliant artists expands the creative frontiers of the sticker-verse. As we put together our wishlist of creative partners, we sought those not only ready to trust us to reinterpret their work, but confident that this sort of mixing can result in magic. It’s therefore a dream come true that prankster-artist extraordinaire, Olaf Breuning, was excited to team up.

Though hailing originally from Switzerland, Olaf – like Apply – has deep roots in New York. Take a quick look at his portfolio, and a few things are readily apparent. First, he’s decidedly multidisciplinary, unwilling to be confined to a single medium and eager to translate ideas across them. Second, he’s prolific and always making new work – as if unattached to the significance of any individual piece, knowing that another is always imminently arriving. Finally, he loves mischief. Whether playing with his food until it smiles back at him; setting off colorful smoke bombs to capture their vibrant ephemerality; or putting grimaces on common household goods, he knows the value of surprise & delight in an audience. While an internationally celebrated artist, with pieces in many esteemed venues around the world (The Palais de Tokyo, The Somerset House, and The Herzliya Museum of Contemporary Art, among others), Olaf gave us the keys to his archive, eager to see how we could reimagine past works as stickers, and ultimately, how our customers could bring them into their lives and entirely new contexts.    

The result: four poppy limited-edition sticker sheets, Peek-A-Boo, Sardines, The Hangover, and Brush Up. Each product is made entirely from components sourced from other pieces in Olaf’s portfolio, brought together with our sticker design magic. The prints are individually hand-numbered from a run of 500 units, sold individually and as a set. Each 7” x 7” sheet contains dozens of nested stickers within. As with all Apply stickers, Peel & Reveal a surprise underneath, in this case another striking Breuning piece. 

Without further ado, let’s meet the stickers!

Peek-A-Boothe phrase we had in mind in designing this sheet of stickers. Our key source of imagery: Olaf’s IG account, which is populated with the uncanny faces he finds in his everyday life - Faces in his food, on his napping cat, around the house & in the studio. We were so impressed by the sheer abundance of these faces (er, creatures?) in his life, we thought it’d be fun for our customers to bring them into their own. Who knows, with Olaf’s Peek-A-Boo in hand, faces will start appearing in your own life too?

Sardines: The superheroes of the contemporary art world could each support their own high-budget biopic. Some, such as Frida Kahlo or Jean-Michel Basquiat, have. With Sardines, we pack them tightly together all at once, into the sticker-verse. Each character was initially personified through paint by Olaf who channeled the iconic styles of their namesakes. It’s clear how much fun Olaf had bringing them to life. Now bring them into yours!

The Hangover: Wild nights make for messy mornings, sometimes ending in unexpected places. While depicting the aftermath, The Hangover is a celebration of celebration: the glory & the gorry. Each sticker reflects a “bad” decision, individually tasty, but cumulatively nauseating. Based on Olaf’s One of Those Days, this kiss cut sheet eventually reveals the boss-villain awaiting players of the late-night debauchery game.
Brush Up: A wet paint brush carries potential energy. It can make & destroy with a gesture. Based on Olaf’s half smirking & half smiling characters, Brush Up is an homage to the uncertainty & mystery in the creative process. Peel & discover their potential, four painted faces peeking through the surface - a reference to Andy Warhol’s portraits of Marilyn Monroe. 
Inspired by our childhood love of the wondrous Willy Wonka, four lucky purchasers of the release will find a “golden ticket” (of sorts) nested within. Each is a unique & original piece from Olaf himself, using the stickers from our collaboration. 

No matter which of the Olaf x Apply sheets you choose (even if all of them), know that the ultimate magic isn’t the pictures that are featured, but what you decide to make with them! And there’s no wrong way to do it!

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