These are the only current tangible signs of my “Working Wizard” art project. Eventually, it's going to be an entire car with the usual detritus of modern life strewn about. You know, like anybody's messy car. Except that the parking stickers in the window are for Hogwarts and Unseen University and Miskatonic University. The magazine in the back seat is Wands&Staves Quarterly or the like. There's a shopping bag from the Bazaar at Deva, well, except they aren't likely to actually have shopping bags, but you get the idea.
But first came the parking stickers, which I installed in the window of my Jeep Wrangler and (with the collusion of the art show staff) parked outside the big glass wall of the art show at the 2001 Westercon (I think that was the debut.)
More than one person asked me how they could get their hands on the parking stickers. When the third person, a good friend of mine, said that, I said "But that's not the point! They're just part of the whole artistic statement!"
"Yea, I know, and it's really cool. But I also want the parking stickers!" So I bowed to the horrible pressures of commercialism, and allowed the pristine beauty of my artistic statement to be warped and deformed by crass commerce. 'Cause it's not like my art isn't already pretty warped and deformed, after all.
The original stickers included Unseen University, Hogwarts, and Wolfram & Hart. I also had Miskatonic University stickers, but their design didn't change from year to year, so look at them in a more recent vintage, below. The W&H sticker shown here is for my own personal use. All others have had 1 year expiration dates. Ha ha.
So this was the first year I make stickers to sell. I sell them as prints; each sticker actually has its own unique serial number, every one different. I made 10 of each design, plus a few artist's proofs. For ConJose, I did the Unseen University, Miskatonic University, and Wolfram & Hart designs I'd already one, with just a subtle change to Unseen University. I completely redesigned the Hogwarts sticker because my first one was just too fancy. Parking stickers are very dull, drab objects in general. Brand new was the one for Transylvania Polygnostic, as seen in the pages of Girl Genius. I took the time to get Phil & Kaja's permission for these. I didn't have to, since these are unquestionably parody works; I am gleefully poking fun at the various intellectual properties and whatnot. But they're friends, so it only seemed polite.
The stickers, somewhat to my surprise, were a smash hit and I sold out almost every one, even having to break into my display frame in order to sell the last ones out of the case.
At Toronto, I started an ongoing theme. Unseen University, Miskatonic University, and Hogwarts return, but with a different color background, and for the school year following the ConJose stickers. If somebody had started with the Unseen U sticker at ConJose, for example, and bought UU at each subsequent WorldCon, then in 2005 they'd have a full 4-year set of stickers in their window, which shows that they might have graduated, I guess. Wolfram & Hart returns, this time for the Toronto branch.
This year's new designs were for (my personal favorite) Muppet Labs, and the sticker that I happen to think looks the coolest of all, the LexCorp Research Facility. The products listed on the Muppet Labs sticker are actual (in a sense) products from the original show.
I don't know if anybody is actually collecting sets of stickers year to year, but I feel obligated to not skip a year, and besides, Unseen University, Miskatonic University, Hogwarts and Wolfram & Hart are the most popular.
Muppet Labs and Lexcorp were much less popular, so I didn't do them again, instead coming up with stickers for Pokey Oakes Elementary and the Jinxian Gym. There's not even a fictional place by this name, but I saw a real gymnasium's sticker in a window, and was inspired.
Since Noreascon's Writer Guest of Honor was Terry Pratchett, I figured the UU stickers would be exceptionally popular, and I didn't want people to be bummed if they sold out too fast, so I created a special one-time-only sticker for the Unseen University Homecoming Weekend. But this year was a lousy year for art sales, and although I did a total of 40 Homecoming Stickers, I only sold 10. The regular UU stickers didn't sell out until Sunday, and other series weren't much better. I still have some left!
There were two! big conventions this year, so I decided to show at both. Instead of just making 20 of each, I doubled the number of designs, and split them between the two conventions. Hogwarts, Unseen, and Miskatonic are the same as last year, just updated years and different colors. There's a Wolfram & Hart for both Glasgow and Seattle.
Making a return engagement is Muppet Labs. The Muppet Show was actually shot in London, so I thought Labs' stickers might be more dear to the heart of the Brits than the Yanks. Of course, there's also only five of them per convention, as with the other designs, so I thought that ought to help. Well, all the Glasgow Wolfram&Harts went there, and vice versa, but other than that, it's just five at each show. Muppet Labs did turn out to be the most popular, representing almost 25% of the abysmally small 13 out of 50 stickers sold in Glasgow.
That leaves four new designs for this year. First, since everybody's crazy about Harry, there's another Harry Potter related one, this time for the Minstry of Magic. Because I like doing stickers for higher education best, I've added one for University of California, Sunnydale. I'm especially pleased with how real this one looks. Also for the higher education theme is Star Fleet Academy, and rounding out the batch is a different sort of educational institution, Xavier's School for Gifted Youngsters, also known as "X-Men Academy." Sales at CascadiaCon were even worse: only 11 stickers sold.
Decided not to attend this year for various reasons, and given the poor sales the year before, didn't make any parking stickers, either.
We did go to this WorldCon, but the art show's print sales policy meant I'd have to pay a dollar per sticker whether I sold that sticker or not. With '05 sales as weak as they were, and assuming that Japanese buyers were much less likely to be able to read them, nor own a car on which to put them, I didn't make any this year either.
At last, it was time to do some new parking stickers, and this year, I had access to an entirely new technology for making them. Instead of using ink-jet-printable window film available at an office supply store, I could print them using a special ink-jet printer directly onto "static cling film." The result is far more lightfast than all the previous versions, and easier to remove and reposition.
New subjects this year included Oceanic Airlines (from Lost, in fact, the first eight digits of the serial number are the ASCII values for the letters L O S T), Stark Industries (from Iron Man, in particular, the recently released movie), and Springfield Nuclear Power Plant. Plus, in a bit of a departure from the norm, I did a special sticker designed to go a broom handle (or bicycle frame), declaring the object so labeled to be a "Nimbus 3001" from the Nimbus Broom Company.
Despite the three-year hiatus, sales in Denver were still a bit disappointing. I was extremely busy before this convention finishing my work for the Hugo Award Bases, so I decided to just offer designs from previous years that I still had left, instead of trying to make new ones for this con. That turned out to be a good decision. Even just getting the old stickers properly displayed and available was fairly challenging and time-consuming, so I'm glad I didn't try anything more ambitious. I'll definitely have a whole new line ready for Reno in 2011, though.
As mentioned above, recent years have seen a drop in sales, so I still have a few of the more current stickers in stock. Since I'm a bit lazy, I can't guarantee that the following list is accurate, but I'll try to keep it reasonably up to date. I'm offering my current backstock of stickers at $12 each plus $3 shipping and handling per order.
Please remember that most of these were limited series that are long out of print.