Making Meaning

Making Meaning

Introducing the Jeffrey Gibson x Apply Set (Fall 2021)

Stickers and the fine art world haven’t spent a lot of time together. While kindred spirits like Oliver Payne have integrated them into their creative practice to much fanfare, they’re more typically associated with commercial or “low brow” imagery and distributed or placed without consideration. The latter is about pushing the realms of possibility of beauty, process, and often our humanity. 

So - when one of our creative heroes, Jeffrey Gibson, posted an image this summer of a sticker he’d designed, our hearts fluttered with excitement. We reached out immediately, and in a call, we had a handshake. 

Jeffrey is as much a poet as he is a visual artist. His palette pierces with color, but his words sink even deeper - at once deeply personal & widely relatable. His subject is identity, both his own as a queer Choctaw-Cherokee American and also our own as a community - how we relate to one another. Jeffrey’s world isn’t beholden to a medium. In fact, it thrives at the intersection of many (ex: painting, sculpture, performance, prose, textiles, etc), pushing each to defy expectations. 

A MacArthur “Genius” Fellow, represented by A+ global galleries, with works in the permanent collections of The Whitney, SFMOMA, Crystal Bridges, MFA Boston, and the Smithsonian, he’s easily one of the most important American artists living today. Stickers - to him - introduced new creative & aesthetic opportunities. With trust, we partnered to explore them, following three themes woven throughout Jeffrey’s broader portfolio, into three limited edition 7” x 7” eponymous sticker sheets: LOVE, FAITH, and POWER. His goal: “an aesthetic that had not arrived yet.”

LOVE is a special sticker sheet composed of samples of this powerful word found throughout Jeffrey’s work. From his iconic beaded punching bags to his geometric text paintings and sewn dolls, this sticker sheet encompasses the many instantiations of this word in his work. Use these stickers with pride or give one to someone special in your life. 

FAITH is a sticker sheet dedicated to makers. Whether you’re a craftsman working in a traditional material such as glass or metal, or you’re a writer or even a musician, making something well requires not only training, but a certain, hard to describe confidence in the unknown, unrealized work. Jeffrey calls this a matter of “faith.” The faith needed to make something new.

POWER is a sticker sheet with positive energy. Inspired by Jeffrey’s print in the Reveal (POWER!, POWER!, POWER!) declaring the power of every color, we wanted to create a sticker sheet to advocate for those who need the most support. Help the art be more than a metaphor. Find the power in anyone, regardless of identity.

Take one look at Jeffrey’s work, and you can tell he is an artist with purpose. He believes that art can change things. He cares both about the communities from which he comes and also the broader communities in which he and they participate. In this spirit, he suggested we channel the profits from our product collaboration to a worthy & aligned cause. In particular, he tipped us off to the incredible work of The Soul of Nations, a group focused on fostering creative talent from indigenous peoples. Proudly, Jeffrey will be donating all of the proceeds from our project in support of their efforts, with Apply matching the contribution.

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