A university project aimed at creating collaborative street art through the use of geometric, illusion-creating stickers.
LARA GALEA Creative Technologist Tessels is a project developed from a set of playing cards, Tesselate, designed to be collaborative, evolving and mind-bending. The cards were circular in shape, made of a clear plastic and each featured one of three 3D optical illusion inspired images. By having minimal rules attached to them, except for the aim to create a form by arranging them together, they strayed from the typical “game” cards everyone else designed and encouraged free-play. I was struck with an idea to turn the cards in to stickers early on in the card design process. When arranged, the form created by the cards reminded me of Wildtstyle 3D street art, with it’s bright colouring and the block-shaped style. I’m really interested in developing work aimed at encouraging play, so the natural implications of stickers sits well with my project. Stickers tend to bring people back to their childhood by encouraging personal expression, play and through representing a sort of reward. Receiving a sticker is less about the sticker itself, and more about all the possible places you could attach it to. Stickers also seem to hold a sort of brand; commonly used in advertising and labelling. They permanently attach an identity and personality to things. I considered the implications of aiming the stickers at a street-art environment. Graffiti can be a controversial topic. Some people hate it, some love it. It’s mainly thought of as tagging and is normally received negatively, especially in Kiwi culture. By New Zealand law, if created without permission, it’s strictly illegal and considered vandilisation. On the other hand, murals are basically encouraged by the government (if permission to use the mural space is granted) . They create a sort of community pride, encourage creative expression and give personality to a space. To me, street art falls somewhere between the two, encouraging public artwork, but generally being created in an “underground” community. The associations of street art and stickers seem to run parallel to each other in a lot of ways. After considering all of this, “Tessels” were born. I wanted to keep the core design elements of our cards, as they were already well polished, but alter them to suit their new sticker environment, hence the new name “Tessel”. I imagine people referring to the “sticker art” made by them as Tessels.