Words: Ellen Kenny
Because the biggest problem facing Dublin right now is, indeed, a sticker on a street pole.
55 street poles in Temple Bar have been coated in special paint by Dublin City Council (DCC) to keep them free of stickers. According to DCC, this is a trial to tackle what it describes as the “serious issue” of stickers on public property.
While the council see the stickers as a serious issue, others see them as integral to Dublin’s personality and landscape. Photographer Carl Foran runs @stickerzofdublin on Instagram, and has been vocal about the council’s decision to get rid of Dublin’s “mini masterpieces.”
“[The stickers] scream that Dublin is bursting with creatives and it’s beautiful. It fills the city with joy and it bring so many people together and its shows off so much talent which can be found in every corner.” Carl told District.
“I have not come across one single person within the creative community in Dublin who does not appreciate the stickers seen around Dublin. The only time I have heard negativity is when DCC are scrapping the streets and removing the art from our city.”
Over the summer, DCC scrubbed clean over 240 poles in Temple Bar, Ashton Quay and O’Connell Street after a public domain survey highlighted “a proliferation of labels.”
Following the paint application, DCC have said they will now monitor “the cleanliness of the poles over a two-month period to review the success of the trial and whether it warrants a further roll out.”
Obviously, DCC can undergo a few tasks at once. But describing stickers on street poles as a “serious issue” in Dublin today does show a unique perspective on what to prioritise in modern day Dublin.
“Not only stickers, but the past few years we have seen beautiful street art being painted over and destroyed,” Carl says, “It really upsets me and puts a crack in most locals heart.”
In recent months, DCC planned on bring art collective SUBSET to court for refusing to remove several street murals. DCC also ordered the removal of a front-shop mural created by Dynamo during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Carl is optimistic that the objections brought to DCC will prevent further sticker removal: “Sticker-proof paint can be added on poles, but art will always find a way and will always emerge victorious in the end.”
“I always referred to the stickers around Dublin as ‘mini masterpieces’, tiny artworks around the city that stops you in your tracks. Guerilla marketing that allows businesses to get their brands out there, local artists reaching the public in an interactive way.”
In reaction to DCC’s decision, vintage vinyl shop Boxroom Records have announced that they will be increasing the amount of free stickers offered with every order from their store. Do with that information what you will.
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