Obey: Peel & Stick
This is a crazy story!!
Read it & be inspired to vandalize:
“Dave and Holly Combs are wonderful people as well as the founders of PEEL Zine. They took the risk of following their artistic passion and have paid the price of losing their home. I created this print with and for them to raise money to help with their huge debt. PEEL has helped to support and grow the street art community and I believe they deserve to have the favor returned. Profits from this print go to help the Combs family. Please help out”.
“Nearly eight years ago a sticker changed my life forever. My wife Holly and I had traveled to Ground Zero NYC to assist with the 9/11 recovery effort. Amongst the noise of a city in turmoil an unassuming little sticker kept popping up declaring that “André the Giant has a Posse.” My curiosity was piqued and investigation ensued. I was both delighted and amazed to learn that I had unknowingly participated in a kind of social experiment in Phenomenology. The stickers had challenged the way I viewed public space and led me to question many long-held ideas about what art could be. That raw, unexpected, anonymous encounter stuck with me and powerfully impressed upon me the efficacy of street art using the medium of the sticker.
Shepard’s work inspired Holly and me to start our own propaganda campaign to “ban comic sans” and soon after to document street art in our own DIY fanzine, PEEL. Over the course of eight issues and about five years the zine grew from 200 black-and-white, ½-size copies to 20,000 full-color, full-size glossy copies distributed worldwide. We eventually started an online store, GORILLAmART.com, to sell sticker packs and zines related to street art. After a while we also opened a gallery in Indianapolis dedicated to showing the work of street artists, Alias Gallery which lasted for about a year. We also worked with a publisher to produce the book PEEL: The Art of the Sticker which collects highlights from the first eight issues. Through our work we were directly involved in the production and/or distribution of about one and half million stickers.
In all of this work, we were unable to turn a profit, but rather incurred a large amount of personal financial debt secured by our home as collateral. About the time of the economic downturn we were unable to continue paying on all the loans we had taken out to pursue our dream and as a result lost our home in bankruptcy. Though it’s been difficult we have no regrets and it’s been an incredible ride.
Holly is now teaching street art in public schools through her Street Styles workshops. We are both are grateful to everyone who has been involved with and supported PEEL in some way or another from fans to street artists. We are especially grateful to Shepard for both inspiring us to embark on this incredible journey of doing PEEL Magazine and for now helping us get back on our feet with this print. – Dave Combs