The Post-it War


Written by Tshepo Mokoena
Photos and illustrations by Scott Reston, David Alvarez, You Shimada
21 Sunday 21st August 2011

And so it all began. Using characters from games like Donkey Kong and Mario Brothers, the bank employees responded with their own works of art. Blank Post-it notes stuck onto the windows in carefully arranged mosaics soon became a focal point of fun for the people working in both companies. Here we can see a nice piece of socially relevant art, courtesy of this Nyan Cat meme rendering. What better way to say 'bring the heat' than provoking your rivals with a rainbow-pooping cat? None, we say. None.

This recent war got us thinking about the other innovative ways people have used Post-Its for art, and how the desk-based work place often seems to be the right spot for that creativity to blossom. Something about the enclosed space, abundance of office supplies and potentially stifled creative outlets just brings out the best in potential Post-it artists, huh? Take for example this giant Elvis portrait created by designer Charlie Mangin. He decided to spruce up the wall of one of his office conference rooms, and ended up on the David Letterman show for his handiwork. Not bad for a bit of down-time during a late night at the office, is it?

University student David Alvarez sat on a similar line between really hard work and really effective procrastination with his portraits of different icons. His Ray Charles piece pictured here came to him when he was messing about with Photoshop and visual manipulations of photographs. Blowing pixels up to several times their size on-screen got him thinking about taking the effect to a physical medium: in came the Post-its. With the right eye, they're a great way to display a bigger picture. The only problem? Getting them to stay up long enough in an exhibition, apparently. Alvarez started off painstakingly replacing each note as and when it fell off the wall naturally, but we can now happily report he's resorted to the odd slick of glue to keep his pieces together.

Mosaics aren't the only way to get Post-its more involved in the artistic process than initial brainstorming, though. A recent ad campaign in Sao Paulo for the Galeria Melissa mixed mosaic work with stop motion video to create this rather epic installation. About 350,000 Post-its were used in total, and each carefully moved and re-arranged to make the moving graphics you can see in this video. People may ask, 'why?', but for the people involved in a 3D installation like this one below, it's more about 'why the hell not?'.

You Shimada of Tato Architects recently collaborated with Kyoto University art and design students to make this intricately folded and monolithic Post-it structure. Sticking the Post-its to each other like building blocks can make walls as well as patterned swirls that only display their own awesomeness when viewed from above. With over 30,000 Post-its used, the installation at Gallery Artzone urged viewers to leave their impressions of the piece on other Post-its, and slap those onto the gallery walls. I'm pretty sure they weren't expected to slip a Post-it off the structure itself, but a part of me thinks someone sneaky enough must have tried.


What's been your best Post-it creation? Or are you inspired to give it a go now? Let us know in the comments below.

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