Feelings Boi is a reflection of both myself and my ongoing struggles with mental health. Where those two meet is never exactly the same though. Sometimes Feelings Boi is about self expression, things I’m personally struggling with in the moment. Other days its a about the stigma attached to mental health. So I guess its really about mental health.
I started making stickers and putting them up with I was around 14-15. But Feelings Boi didn’t start until much, much, later.
It started in the winter of 2017 when I was REALLY depressed. Like I might do something really dangerous to myself depressed. I felt very alone even though I was surrounded friends and family.
I would put of posters and stickers at bus stops I waited at often or on my route to the grocery store. places like that.
It was honestly just for me, Feelings Boi was my little friend and ally where ever I went. Maybe thats why I have such a hard time defining Feelings Boi, because he was created as an emotional comfort for myself, that gave him a sort of life of his own.
Stickers give me greater control of my image. They let me add more detail and spend way more time fine tuning my designs. That allows me to get my point across in a much clearer, and direct way.
I really love more traditntal graffiti practices also though. Graffiti has very much informed the way I draw and design. But the reality of doing graffiti means I have to greatly simplify my work.
I think of stickers as like the bread and butter of Feelings Boi. Of course a diet of just bread and butter would be boring, but its the foundation for a lot of other things.
Put up a sticker a day and you’ll keep the sadness that threatens to consume your life at bay.
What I like so much about graffiti, stickers or street art is that you are not going to make money from doing it. Or rather you aren’t going to make a lot of money or build a career out of it easily. Of course you can find exceptions to that but most people doing stickers know thats not. Most people I find do it out of a love of it an not out a a drive to become famous of wealthy. There aren’t a lot of creative sub cultures that have the kind of energy or genuine love for making cool stuff.
If you consider painting as art than you have to consider graffiti as art. If you consider graffiti art than you have to consider stickers as art.
How you get up or present your art to your audience isn’t important to me. The painting itself isn’t the art its the idea it expresses that is the art.
Personally I don’t like galleries or museum as a venue to see art as much as I like seeing art as I walk down the street. There is a really personal and intimate relationship when you find art you connect with on the street. Its like discovering something for yourself as opposed to someone finding it for you and showing it to you.
I honestly don’t travel much, so I guess the farthest I’ve gone putting up stickers was in Saskatawan Canada. I do have friends though putting my stuff up if more exotic places though, like in Manchester. I honestly kinda want to keep Feelings Boi a Toronto thing though. I grew up here so I have a bias to the city I guess.
A lot of sticker artists have characters, myself included. Don’t rush to find your character. Play around for a while before you commit to one.
Just start putting sticker up, allow yourself to grow or for your ideas to change as you get the hang of things. You don’t have to come out of the gate with a fully released character or identity as an artist.
Lately I’ve been really influence by Jelling Style. Its a Scandinavian art style from the 10th century that often weaves the limbs of animals into more abstract shapes and designs. I see a lot of common design elements between Jelling Style and graffiti. I’m a big history buff and I always love referencing historical art styles in my work.
As far as more modern artists go, I’m influenced by Blek, Ben Eine, Seen and Grom, and Gary Taxali.
Toronto artists like Hey Apathy and Anser where the biggest influence on Feelings Boi though. I grew up in love with their work. When I was 12 my Mom bought me a little painting from Hey Apathy and I think that one painting really changed the way I drew and change the kind of art I wanted to make.
I love BentoGhoul. He’s a really nice guy and incredibly talented. He’s defiantly an example of a sticker artist who really does this out of a love for it and not for some anterior motive. He’s also really encouraging and supportive to other artists. We need more people like BentoGhoul in the world.