Stickers offer a window into the Jackson Hole community and culture.
By JH magazine staff // Photography by bradly j. boner
“I THINK ONCE someone puts a sticker somewhere, it is just an invitation to put more there,” says graphic designer Walt Gerald, whose stickers celebrating the Teton County Library can be found around the valley (one is shown above). The biggest sticker repository in the valley might be the grain silo at the Snake River Brewery. The brewery has had this silo, which holds 60,000 pounds of Idaho-grown grain and is refilled about once a month, for twenty-six years. But it wasn’t until twelve years ago, when it was moved from the back of the facility to its current location at the entrance to the Snake River Brewpub, that stickerers really noticed it. “People just started putting stickers on it, and we thought it was generally funny, so we never bothered to do anything about it,” says Luke Bauer, a former brewpub waiter and currently the brewing company’s sales and marketing director.
Darrell Miller, whose production company Storm Show Studios has produced twenty full-length feature ski films, says he has been making Storm Show stickers and also stickers with the names of each of the movies the studio has done, since he founded Storm Show in 1999. He says he remembers putting a Storm Show sticker on the electrical box near the Mangy Moose about fifteen years ago. “Back then there were only about ten stickers on it,” he says. “It’s funny to see how it’s been wallpapered over. Who knows how many layers the sticker I put there fifteen years ago is now under?”
So why the electrical box by the Mangy Moose and not the one on Cache Street in downtown Jackson? “Location is key,” Miller says. “If you’re trying to get your message or brand to a particular group like, say, tourists or skiers, that electrical box at the Moose is the place. Hundreds of people probably walk by it everyday.” Miller says the giant microwave panel on the bootpack up Mount Glory on Teton Pass would be another great spot to get the attention of skiers and snowboarders. “That’s a cool spot, but I don’t think I’ve ever stuck anything there,” he says.
LOCAL STICKER LINGO
Local outdoor-industry veteran Sam Petri is not involved with stickers himself, but, he says, “I probably pay attention to them more than most people. My favorites are the ones that are simply the black stickers with the white writing—the homemade ones with no design and a phrase that is some sort of inside joke.” Jackson Hole has no shortage of these types of stickers. Here we’ve deciphered some of the ones you might find out in the wild.
HIS NAME IS ANGUS
During a run for the U.S. Senate in 2013, Liz Cheney, daughter of former Vice President Dick Cheney, fumed at the then-editor-in-chief of the Jackson Hole News&Guide, Angus Thuermer, after he reported in the newspaper that Cheney had paid a fine for purchasing a resident fishing license even though she didn’t meet its requirement of having lived in the state for at least a year. At a campaign event, Cheney singled out Thuermer—“His name is Angus,” she told the crowd—and accused him of bias.
NO ONE CARES THAT YOU TELE
Aimed at telemark skiers who talk too much about the fact that they are telemark skiers. Side Note: Shortly after this sticker appeared, a subsequent sticker surfaced bearing a full-body silhouette of Michael Jackson on telemark skis, one heel cocked upward in his famous Moonwalk pose, alongside the caption, “Michael Cares.”
CHENEY SKIS IN JEANS
This dates back to the early 2000s when Dick Cheney, a resident of Jackson Hole, was Vice President of the United States. “Skiing in jeans” is a derisive joke in the ski community—essentially people who don’t have a clue are said to ski in jeans, so the sticker was a political dig of sorts.
DICK STOUT GOT ME OFF
Stout is a long-time Jackson Hole criminal defense attorney who is known for representing clients charged with DUI.
BRO BRAH BLAH BLAH
A dig at the vernacular of ski bums.
Sorry, we’ve got no idea who Rob is. “I’m not cool enough to know who Rob is,” Petri says. “I always see these and go, ‘Who’s Rob?’ I’d love to know, but it’s also fun not to.”
STICKERS AS ART
Jacksonite Jen Reddy’s stickers have their roots in her art. “Stickers are a way for me to put my artwork out there,” she says. “They are more accessible to more people than an original painting.” For example, the twenty-four-by-thirty-six-inch watercolor she did of a skier straight-lining through powder on a sunny day and casting a prominent shadow can only be in one place. She liked this painting so much though, and thought that it would resonate with others, so she turned it into a two-by-two-inch sticker and handed it out to people in lift lines at Jackson Hole Mountain Resort. “Stickers give artists the ability to widely share their work,” she says. Walt Gerald, a freelance graphic designer whose “Came for the Mountains, Stayed for the Library” series of stickers that support the Teton County Library are ubiquitous around the valley, says that he has a whole box of stickers of his own design and by others that he has no plans to stick anywhere. “I keep them as these little pieces of art,” he says.
“It is a thrill to see my stickers out there,” says Reddy, who estimates she has done about forty sticker designs in the last several years and usually prints one hundred at a time. Look for her “Sisters of Shred,” shown on pg. 83, and “Give Warm Fuzzies” stickers. The ideas for both came to her while in a lift line. About the latter she says, “It’s a reminder we can all be warm and comforting to each other, kind of like your favorite beanie.” “Sisters of Shred” started off as a painting. “Then I thought it would be perfect on a water bottle or skis,” Reddy says.
If you think the Snake River Brewery’s grain silo has an impressive amount of stickers, know that there is actually a Guinness World Record for the world’s largest sticker ball. The current holder of this title is a ball of more than 200,000 stickers that weighs more than 230 pounds and lives in Longmont, Colorado. Created to coincide with the first-ever National Sticker Day, the ball was started by the StickerGiant labels company and was originally named Sticker Giant, SG for short. Recognizing that such a superlative sticker ball deserved a more imaginative name, the company renamed it Saul after the Saul Goodman character—initials were SG—in the AMC show Breaking Bad. If you’re around Longmont, you can arrange to visit StickerGiant’s world headquarters; Saul lives in the lobby and visitors are encouraged to add stickers to it.
The artist often credited with creating the first piece of art that was a sticker is Shepard Fairey. The summer of 1989, when he had just finished his freshman year at the Rhode Island School of Design, a picture of professional wrestler Andre the Giant caught Fairey’s attention. He did a simple, stylized stencil based on the image, adding “Andre the Giant Has a Posse” and the wrestler’s height (7’4”) and weight (520 pounds), and had it printed as a sticker. He gave it out to his “posse” of fellow skateboarders, never imagining it would be anything more than an inside joke. But, as Charleston magazine reported in a profile of Fairey, who grew up in the historic South Carolina city, that summer he became “increasingly intrigued by the evocative power of a mysterious, ambiguous image—simultaneously sinister and goofy—placed randomly and anonymously in the public sphere, with no apparent agenda.” And so he began plastering Providence, Rhode Island, where RISD is located, with his Andre stickers, and also mailed them to friends around the world. Fairey eventually tweaked the design, making it sleeker, removing Andre the Giant’s name, and editing the text to “Obey” or “Obey Giant.” Fairey estimates that, between 1989 and 1996, he had millions of these stickers printed. “Obey Giant” isn’t Fairey’s most famous sticker though; that honor goes to the sticker made from his 2008 Hope portrait of Barack Obama. (This design wasn’t originally created as a sticker, but as a poster. But it was very quickly stickerized.) JH