Introducing the Oliver Payne x Apply Set (Spring 2021)
As a new art-inspired sticker brand, one potential partner immediately caught our eye: Oliver Payne. Originally from the UK and now living in Southern California, Oliver is not only a sticker aficionado, but also a world renowned artist (with notable exhibitions at the 43rd Venice Biennale & the Serpentine Gallery). In two ongoing series of works, Candy Crush Collage and (Japanese Bullet Hell Games), he uses stickers to startling effect: they contrast & harmonize with the underlying image, typically a landscape in the former & a picture of ancient Greek sculpture in the latter. What Oliver demonstrates is that a well placed sticker is a radically efficient gesture, de-skilled & readymade, but nevertheless, cerebral. In so many ways, Oliver’s work embodies the ethos of Apply, which is to elevate this low-brow medium to the status of art.
With this in mind, when we met Oliver, we were surprised to learn that he had never designed his own commercial stickers. A natural opportunity to collaborate quickly evolved. How could we use stickers to tell Oliver’s story, as an artist uniquely at the intersection of video games, skate culture, and punk rock? As someone already steeped in the sticker medium, how could we develop entirely new types of stickers that leverage Apply’s product engineering prowess? How could we welcome people into Oliver’s already sticker-centric creative practice, not just as consumers of his fun work, but as participants in it? These are the stories behind the three products we teamed up to develop. We’re excited to share them with you today!
Package up Oliver’s interests and you end up with TOGETHER, the first sticker in our collaboration. It’s a word he uses to deliberately channel the kind of spiritual unity he hopes to foster with his work. In the midst of a pandemic and heightened levels of political division & antipathy, “together” is also a word that both strikes fear for contributing to the ongoing public health crisis & also longing for a renewed social contract. The word means to share space, be it physical or philosophical. It’s promise is nothing less than sublime, as Oliver suggests in the reveal, “PEACE BE UPON YOU.”
Lifeline is a completely new type of sticker. Each piece of rope can be used individually or joined with another to create more length & cover more ground. The perfectly dressed Double Fisherman’s knot in the middle, connecting yellow & pink ropes is a symbol of extreme trust. Tied correctly, it extends the leash a climber has to explore the natural world. Tied incorrectly, it can result in disaster. Interspersed between the ropes, as if lines of music, lie subtitles, indicating sounds out of frame - sounds Oliver often hears while rock climbing. In a nod to John Cage’s 4’33” of silence, which effectively frames the ambient sounds of an auditorium, Oliver encourages you to peel & place one of his subtitled stickers, which will help alert you to sounds in your own vicinity - very possibly (Laughter), (Children Singing), (Classical Music) or (Birdsong). Peel & reveal a lovely positive affirmation, meant to be repeated ad infinitum.
Carabiner Crush is a version of Oliver’s well known work, Candy Crush Collage. In that series, he places stickers in a grid pattern (4x4 or 4x5) on landscapes taken from found imagery, the result of which he then scans & prints as an edition. These works reference many things, in particular, the organization of icons on the homescreen of a phone. Carabiner Crush levels-up this series, not only as a “finished” picture, but as a sticker that can itself be peeled & used by the consumer. For additional fun, each carabiner has a “secret opening,” a small cut at its mouth, enabling it to appear “clipped” onto things or linked to one another.
As if this wasn’t tempting enough, this collection is limited & hand-numbered in an editions of 500. Scattered throughout, we’ve included 10 “golden tickets” made & signed by Oliver himself. Each is unique and provides a little additional window into the life of our favorite sticker artist. Get one & all, while we have them!