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Graffiti Stickers Used For Good At UGLY Gallery

Artwork on postal stickers are featured at UGLY Gallery. (Courtesy of UGLY Gallery)

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NEW BEDFORD, Mass. — “Slaps” are usually a notorious form of graffiti, with artists taking advantage of stickers distributed free at post offices to prepare tags in advance to slap on stop signs, lamp posts, subway cars and so on.

“It’s only through the last year that we’ve noticed how giant—it’s still underground—how giant the [sticker] scene is. They’ll put some art on a postal sticker and then put them up wherever. There’s also a giant trading scene,” says David Guadalupe, who co-founded UGLY (U Gotta Love Yourself) Gallery with Jeremiah Hernandez in 2011. They showcase work inspired by street art and “Lowbrow” pop culture.

And in gallery’s new “USPS- U Send Postal Stickers” show (246 Union St., New Bedford, through July 3), sticker artists are, ahem, using their powers for good.

“It’s only through the last year that we’ve noticed how giant—it’s still underground—how giant the [sticker] scene is," says UGLY Gallery's David Guadalupe (Courtesy of UGLY Gallery)

“It’s only through the last year that we’ve noticed how giant—it’s still underground—how giant the [sticker] scene is,” says UGLY Gallery’s David Guadalupe (Courtesy of UGLY Gallery)

“This show came about kind of last minute,” Hernandez says. 3rd Eye Unlimited—a New Bedford nonprofit that aims to empower youth through hip-hop, dancing, song writing, video production, and events planning—“is strapped financially by the nonprofit pool shrinking, the economy, donors falling off. They were in need of some immediate cash influx.”

So UGLY Gallery put out a call for original art done on U.S. Postal Service stickers—with proceeds to help raise money for 3rd Eye.            Some 750 stickers have arrived, they say, from about 50 artists from as far away as Germany, Australia, Louisiana, Nevada and Boston.

“It ranges from graffiti to fine art,” Guadalupe says. “We got a submission of 12 stickers stuck together to make a watercolor portrait.”

Prices range from $3 to a few hundred dollars, the Ugly folks say. “This is a real grass roots community that’s putting up for a great organization,” Hernandez says.

“This is almost like the federal government paying back,” Guadalupe quips about this use of postal stickers.

“We’re reallocating funds,” Hernandez adds.

“Thank you, Uncle Sam,” Guadalupe says.