We’re continuing our series of interviews with global artists involved with ‘Slap It Up Ye!’ Belfast’s 1st sticker/paste-up expo, and today we chat with ‘International Frog Sensation’ Glen the Frog!
Will you introduce yourself?
I’m the artist known as Glen the Frog. I prefer to keep my actual identity anonymous, but I will say that I reside in Rock Hill, South Carolina.
Where did the name Glen the Frog come from?
Glen the Frog was actually a character that was created by Vernon Grant, a 20th century American illustrator. Vernon Grant is most known for his creation of the famous characters Snap, Crackle, & Pop for Rice Krispies. Vernon Grant lived his later years in Rock Hill, South Carolina, and he became well known in the area for his many illustrations.
My use of the character is a loving tribute to the original, while also adding a new dimension to the character. I am increasingly attempting to share uplifting messages and ideas through my work as I continue to make new pieces. Thanks to a fantastic network of sticker artists around the world, Glen the Frog has gone from a locally appreciated illustration to an international street art icon.
The reimagining of an established character follows a similar framework to how many street artists have given new life to existing characters. The most well known example would be Shepard Fairey using Andre the Giant, but the list goes on and on. Contemporary artists such as KAWS, Jeff Koons, Jerkface, and Ron English heavily utilize popular cartoon imagery through their work.
How did you get into sticker art/street art?
I am a long-time appreciator of art throughout the ages, but I find myself to be most inspired by artists who work in the streets. If you look at the most successful artists today that really resonate with the public, they often got their start as a street artist. Banksy, Shepard Fairey, Invader – these are some of the most prevalent artists working internationally today and they are all working in the streets.
From your initial idea, to getting your design on a sticker and onto the streets, how does your process work?
As a sticker artist, I’m always playing with new designs and ideas. At any given time I’ve got several new sticker ideas I’m working on and new messages to tinker with.
The trick is knowing when the idea is worth going to print. Once I’m happy with a design, I’ll get it printed and start slapping them up. I usually start with around 250 stickers of a design, but if it is one I am particularly fond of, I will order thousands at a time.
One of the classic dilemmas you face as a sticker artist developing new work is making sure to balance your new work with your classic or iconic pieces. For me I balance my street work by focusing on my iconic designs, new work, and slapping the work of my friends.
What is the message of your art?
The primary goal of my work is to spread the fruit of the spirit – Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness, and Self-Control.
From following the sticker and trading scene online, collaborations is a really big thing; is there an artist/s you would love to work with?
What is the art scene like in Charlotte, NC? It seems really active!
It’s a great and growing scene. There are so many talented muralists and street artists on the scene! A great way to find them all is to check out the Tough Ass Crew – it’s a collective of over 60 of Charlotte street artists.
Finally, is there anyone you want to shout-out, or anyone we should check out online?
Soon after I got into the sticker game, I got a ton of love and support from Pilgrim F. Pilgrim’s art crosses multiple disciplines from traditional artwork, to sculpture, installations, and sticker art. His work is heavily influenced by great American folk artists like Howard Finster. There is nothing cookie cutter about him and is definitely worth checking out.