How to Get Your Stickers on Australian TV Shows – Interview with Biafra Inc.

June 23, 2011 by · 2 Comments 

Nicademus Art and Framing

In your own words, who is Biafra Inc.?

Biafra Inc. is an artist, and in a way a movement too. I used to do a beauty in the streets campaign with Edie Sedgwick, but I realized that people thought it was more of a fan club than a message; so, I’ve started a new campaign that I think is a narrative and more direct.

How did your nickname come about?

I got my nickname from Jello Biafra of the band Dead Kennedys. I added the Inc. to the end later when I started thinking about corporate branding and how it would be weird if corporations started naming themselves after horribly tragic situations that have happened. I think its got a bit of shock value for people that know the history.

What is your message/purpose/goal?

My purpose is to get a message out. The new series I’m working on is about all of the problems that are going to fall on my generation to solve. So, I’m making it into a big comic story where these problems engulf the characters. With the Edie Sedgwick campaign I was trying to put this tragically beautiful woman all over as a commentary on graffiti and street art and how its often labeled at trash or ugly. The problem with using celebrity/iconic figures is that people end up turning it into a fan club and it loses the message.

Why is Edie Sedgwick the face of Biafra Inc.?

I used Edie because I was really interested in her at the time and I thought she was the perfect icon to use to represent the tragic beauty idea I was working with. Her story was a perfect mix of tragic and sad covered by total beauty and I thought it was interesting to put that on the streets.

Biafra Inc. is best exemplified by what song?

Feed the Children (Book of Lies) – Leftöver Crack

How did you get introduced to guerrilla or sticker art?

I started stenciling on my skateboard 8 years ago. And then found out I could make things other than skateboard logos a few years after and from that point on it was on. I got into stickers in 2006 as sort of a side project from stenciling but it quickly became a large part of my life.

What is the street scene like where you are? What makes it different or unique from places like NYC and Berlin? Is it developing or is it thriving?

The Minneapolis scene is different from a lot of scenes just because of the size, its primarily a graffiti scene and pretty much everyone in that scene knows each other, the street art scene is fairly lacking compared to say L.A. or N.Y. but it’s growing. The nice thing about Minneapolis is that it’s a great city for art and the people there appreciate art.

Who are some of your favorite (sticker) artists and why?

455er- Combo Master, nobody does combos like him.
14Bolt- There’s nothing better than a pack from him, his vinyl’s are on point.
Evoker- Great style
UWP & Ticky- Some of the greatest hand-drawns ever.

What is your favorite part of being a sticker artist?

I like that it doesn’t have the stigma that a can of paint, you can climb a pole and put up a sticker in broad daylight and not have people bat an eyelid. It’s a lot harder to do that with paint. I also like that stickers can look like they’re supposed to be in a spot that a tag would stand out in.

What is your least favorite part of being a sticker artist?

Sometimes trading can suck, the scene has gone downhill since when I started. A lot of people want to trade 228s that they just scribbled on and expect some gems back. That’s not how trading works, but people try to get away with it and it sucks.

How do you afford to print stickers? How do you support it?

By selling art and shirts. (Biafra Inc.’s online shop)

NEW SHIRT!

Does your approach differ when you are designing tees instead of stickers?

Not really, I like to keep it simple and its usually a central image kind of like a sticker that I can place anywhere on a shirt.

What project are you most proud of?

I’m proudest of my “Suburbia” wall on the side of 94 in Minneapolis. I’m also very proud of what I accomplished with the Edie stuff, but I’m excited to be onto something fresh.

Have you ever thought of giving it up?

I don’t think I’ve ever felt like giving it up, but there are times where you sort of feel like it’s not accomplishing anything. But that feeling is quickly solved with a grip of a few hundred stickers and a long walk, it’s a good way to clear your head.

If you were not designed stickers, what would you be doing?

Well stenciling is a large part of my life, I don’t really know what else I’d be doing, music probably. I love creating things.

If you could go back in time and talk to yourself what would you say?

You have no idea what you’re in store for.

Your iconic sticker is all over the world, even on Australia TV shows! Any secret tips on how others can do the same?

Haha, yeah community, community, community! It kind of goes for anything you do in life, getting involved in a community with similar interests is crucial. The community will help you out in ways that you can’t imagine. In my case it was getting hooked up with the Stencil Revolution and Peel forums. You end up meeting people from all over and it can take you places you cant imagine.

Neighbours

What is on the horizon? What can we keep our eyes out for?

Giant stencils, big collaborations, lots of spray paint and of course more stickers! Stay Tuned!

minneapolis

Thanks for the interview, Biafra Inc.!   If you like Biafra Inc. and what he is doing, follow him on Flicker and Facebook now.

Comments

2 Responses to “How to Get Your Stickers on Australian TV Shows – Interview with Biafra Inc.”
  1. Tom Echolt says:

    Great interview! Ive always wondered what this guy was about.

  2. Gretta says:

    Excellent interview!

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