Stuck-Up Sunday: NTEL – Graffiti Sticker Spotlight

By - Sunday, April 12th, 2015

Stickers can be placed anywhere that is accessible. Many sticker artists use a variety of different label types from United States Postal Service to “Hello My Name Is” and vinyl. There is a much lower risk of apprehension by officials, but sticker bombing is still considered a subcategory of graffiti.

NTEL is an artist known around the world for discovering the gap between Fine Art and Street Art. He is based in the tri-state area and has worked for many venues and galleries. His work was originally influenced by graffiti, involving spray paint, stickers and markers. He eventually evolved his work into other forms of art such as sculpture, installation and posters.

He began writing at the age of 17, and continued to draw in books and practice. He created his own style and a reputation for “NTEL.” He traveled and painted, making a strong foundation with many people. Today NTEL is linked with many crews, and continues to travel around the world.

NTEL was interested in the aspect of graffiti speaking to a younger generation of artists. He also wanted to incorporate his interest and studies of fine art into his graffiti. He incorporates art history, and a representation of the link between fine art and graffiti in his work. Some of his influences have been Picasso, Van Gogh and Robert Rauschenberg.

His stickers are iconic for being bold and ironic. As an artist, his message is one that is personal. 12oz was able to reach out to NTEL personally, to get some inside information about his work and motivations. We spoke on a general level and discussed his materials, inspirations, message and themes with respect to his stickers. 

1) How do you create your stickers? What materials do you use?-

 “Technically, I use anything and everything I can get my hands on.  Free

postage stickers are always a classic, and I am friends with many
different printers and craftsmen, so I get a lot of vinyl and specialty
materials, too.  A lot of these I use for more artsy or Graffiti-type
images like tags, throws, and characters, but the ‘Truisms’ however, only
get put up on one specific type of label.  My mentor, DUTCH (aka The
Flying Dutchman), was kind enough to hook me up with a literal truckload
of these blanks.  There was somewhere around 50 boxes with 12 packs of
250 stickers, in each box.  The minute I saw them, I knew exactly what I
was going to use them for.  Alas… I apologize, but I am unwilling to
disclose exactly what kind of sticker they are, but I will tell you they
are all Original hand-written using Oil-Based Ink and a chisel-tip
delivery system.  It’s been almost 4 years since I got this massive load,
and I average around 3,000 ‘Truism’ or Quote Stickers per year (not
including ‘Graffiti’ stickers), so I’m guessing I have about 40-45 years
worth of quotes to do still, that can all be consistent in size and
quality.  Many don’t know, but I have been putting the quotes up since
approximately 2008, but they always lacked the cohesive typography and
‘feeling’ that the new generation of quotes has.  Almost instantly after
discovering my new formula for words x style x application, the new
quotes were noticed and revered.  I am honored to finally be heard on a
different level (outside of my traditional Graffiti background), and I
love everyone that I have been able to touch.  I am forever grateful to
DUTCH, and would like to thank the World once again!”

2) Where do you get inspiration/ideas –
“I know it sounds kind of vague and maybe a bit cliché, but I seriously am
inspired by everything, and ideas race through my head faster than I can
even comprehend.  Let alone, get them all out, though I still believe and
wish that I will be able to, one day.  I soak up everything around me
while I’m awake.  Many times it’s actually very exhausting… my senses
have hyper-activity disorder, and my memory catalogues every minute and
major moment without discretion.  To be more specific though, I am
inspired by Animals and Nature and Urban Decay, Emotions, Interactions
between People, Dance(rs), Women, Children, Architecture, Language,
Archaeology, Alphabets, Road Trips, different Culture(s) around the
World, and everything in-between.  Many ideas I get from Reading,
Thinking, watching Documentaries and TEDTalks.  Music is great.  I listen
to everything from Snowgoons to Florence +The Machine, to Hank Williams
(I and III), Lead Belly, and Skrillex.  Even eavesdropping while standing
in the queue can produce some intriguing words.  I LOVE taking things out
of context, and playing with meanings, spelling, and grammar, too.  I am
as eclectic mentally and emotionally as I am physically with my style(s),
skills, and interests, so to make this list almost diminishes the true
scope of things.  I like a lot of different stuff, and am always curious
about what I don’t know.  I am inspired by this too, and I have ideas
about things I don’t even know about yet.”

3) What message are you trying to convey to the general public –
 “Generally… I am trying to convey a positive message, or to raise some
sort of awareness, on one subject or another.  Even some of the more
crude or shocking quotes, are truly written with Love and Heart, to
advocate a change for the better.  Utilizing ‘offensive’ words to
increase shock value, will raise emotions faster, and the message is more
likely to stick in the reader’s memory with ease (whether they want it to
or not).  If the reader is able to look at the sticker from all angles,
they may eventually realize the words are for the better.  On the other
hand, some of the quotes are not meant to provoke any deep thought, and
are simply there for a laugh, or a smile, or even a cry… but no matter
what the context, they are all painfully or perfectly Honest.  I say a
lot of things that people won’t say, and draw a lot on personal
experience(s).  I think the World would be a much better place if we all
opened up a bit, and said what we really think, feel, and know.  Some
fear ridicule, some the Government, but mostly I think people fear
themselves, so to open their emotions and ideas up to the Public for
revue can be very hard and maybe even intimidating.  I’ll stop myself,
before I ramble on anymore.  I’m losing my train of thought.”

4) Any repeated themes revolving around your word choices/phrases –
 “Yes, there are many.  Environmental and Political themes run deep, on my
stickers and in real life.  Common themes have come to include; Mother
Nature’s Rights, Human Rights, Love and Peace, Anger and War, Romance,
Medicine, Banking and Financial Institutions, Woman’s Suffrage, Big
Business and Industry, History, Green Design and Lifestyle, Media,
Incarceration and The Justice System, Marijuana and The War on Drugs,
Poverty, Corruption, Globalization, Religion, Graffiti, Alternative
Development and Lifestyle, The Armed Services, Sex, Anarchy and
Subversion.  Quotes often come out as Theories, Solutions, and
Philosophies on these topics.”

Today  graffiti is placed somewhere between art and vandalism. As part of the general public, make a determination for yourself by viewing graffiti and street art up close. View more of NTEL’s work at http://www.abstractnteligent.com.

Feel free to submit recommendations or photos for future installments for Stuck Up Sundays. Who would you like to see featured?

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Comment #1

Chester Copperpot - April 16, 2015

I am a big fan of this dude. He has styles for days. Whether it is straight graff styles, fine art, or some combination of the two. Unlike so many graff artists, NTEL has the frame of reference to make actual fine art, as opposed to a throw on a canvas. He is also a humble person, down to collaborate and help other artists. He did some custom work for my latest zine issue, and that willigness to help is truly an art.

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