I have a lot of motivating factors that keep me going to thrift stores. I go there to buy clothes, materials for mail-art, and various collections of paintings, statues, and bobbleheads. It’s a pattern that has persisted for over twenty years. This addiction was initially fed by the search for records. For a few dollars you could fill in your musical gaps well before every record was available. You could even make a few cents here and there. All of that went haywire when everyone started buying records again. Thrift store records went right into the shops. Now, all used records are $20.00 dollars at the record store and all new ones are at least $30.00. You can get anything, but you pay for it.
|Gorgeous circular record stickers. |
With all of my current record annoyance, my interest in looking at records has gone through the roof in the past couple of weeks. My interest in mail art and records have converged. Not only am I using records to make mail art (post cards, cutting up the records into strips) I’m diving more into the peculiarities of records, namely the stickers. You know those stickers, the ones used in old record stores to move unwanted product? The older the record the better. The more “worked” the sticker the better. The vast majority of these stickers are for pricing, $3.99 etc. Some stickers tell us the record is promotional material. Some tell us about the actual record inside, the singles, the hits, and what not. Some stickers even advertise random concepts about music. A recent one I found was a circular sticker that read, “Music, the gift that keeps on giving.” Looking for these stickers clicks a lot of boxes for me. It gives me pointed reason to go to a thrift store and most importantly it provides me with ephemera I can use in my mail-art. Also, I like searching for things.
|Rectangle label style stickers. |
Anyway, so back to the lecture at hand. When I find a good sticker, one that is unique, colorful, and fixed in time, I take a picture of that sticker. I usually have to brace my arm against the shoddy thrift store racks. I take the picture and then put the record back, no money required, not one cent. A collection that doesn’t anything, who knew that was possible? After collecting a number of these stickers, I edit them on my phone, only minimally. I like to keep the scuffs and imperfections in place. I want them to look their age. I then upload the most interesting ones to an Instagram account creatively called STICKERSONRECORDS. No idea why I did this, just seemed like the right thing to do. Also, in a quick spin through Instagram I didn’t see any similar accounts. Maybe someone else is interested in the backwash of the record industry?
The main goal for the stickers is to have them come back alive, like dinosaurs in amber from the 1993 hit movie, (the same year The Record Bar was purchased) Jurassic Park. I’ve already started this process. I’ve printed off some of the rectangle stickers and put them on envelopes. I’m going to do this with the more visually pleasing circular stickers as soon as the raw materials are delivered to my door. With a lot of organization, and a little work, I can have the most unique record related stickers in all of mail-art. Oh how they will honor me!