'Sticker superstar' Mr Wim talks to us

We have been looking forward to meeting Mr Wim, aka the 'Godfather of the sticker movement and street art' for a while .  We manage to catch up with him just before he jets off to Fuji Rock Festival (he and Gordon of Subway Gallery are the event's 'decorators') to talk to us about his playful 'Flemish tribal' art, and his famous shiny stickers (La Bouche can't get enough of them!)..

So is it true you went from the Army to being an Artist?

Yes, it’s true I was in the army. I had to, it was compulsory but I drew before then, and so after was like ‘yeah okay now I can get on with being an artist’.. . But the army was absolutely an interesting thing, I don’t regret  it

Really, why?

Well being out in the nature in the middle of winter.  We were taught how to jump out of planes, we travelled, it was brilliant.  We didn’t fight but we were the part of the army that were trained to.


Above: Mr Wim's stage at Mutate Britain

And now you’re a sticker superstar!

Well, I don’t  know everyone's seen the stickers, I could be. I’ve always made stickers and since I made a round sticker it has never stopped!  It is ten years old and I am having fun everyday with this sticker – it must be highly addictive or something.

And are they the equivalent of a tag?

Yeah in a way, it is the light, the reflective quality. It is like a magpie bird but with humans, the shiny thing.  It’s a more sociable tag  and of course you can stick it on people. So it is a social game. Everywhere you go with it there are no barriers - not for age, gender, yeah they are little activators.

What’s the best place you have stuck one?

A few places. Policemen are funny, people who don’t like to be stickered too.

What’s the general concept behind art?

I like it to be beautiful and for everybody.

 

I get an Azteccy vibe from your art..?

It’s half that and half myself, it’s quite Moiri too. I call it Flemish native and tribal.. I don’t like the word too much but it is like a tribal design as a Flemish native. In the way Moires do it.. I started drawing like this when young before I saw these designs..

Maybe you Aztec in past life…

Yeah, it’s like it’s on your body. You absorb stuff and then it comes out in other ways.

And you do street art and murals too?

Yes in a way street art.. it’s a bit boring, I won’t talk about it..

I like the silence of my studio and the intensity of being alone. Street art is another game and it’s a good balance between the two. I am interested in tattooing as well and Lego. I like murals because it is like you can’t take them with you. Buying art is like showing your wealth in a way. With a mural you can’t take it away, it is like a tattoo on a wall. And it is a public thing as well, street art and Muralism, it all crosses. 

Above Mr Wim's body art

You often work with Subway Gallery, is this an ongoing partnership?

Gordon and I are friends and I particularly like Subway Gallery and the way has Gordon done it.  I’m going to do the other kiosk and I’d like to do the interior. With Subway, It’s not just the kiosk that's the gallery, it’s the whole subway area.

Where are you taking your art and stickers next?

Intergalactic, yeah, space. I can only look forward. I am going to do Playtime too, a bar in Islington. And Fuji Rock Festival and I want to finish my Lego towers too (he nods towards the mini white skyscraper in the corner of the room with colorful futuristic lights beaming from the windows). My fantasy architecture. LB!

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