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Rob Hitzig's Bumper Stickers Aim to Open Minds


Published December 4, 2019 at 10:00 a.m.

Rob Hitzig's latest bumper sticker - COURTESY PHOTO
  • Courtesy Photo
  • Rob Hitzig's latest bumper sticker

Montpelier artist Rob Hitzig has been making bumper stickers since 2013. Not the kind that announce a motorist's preference for president, that there's a "baby on board," or that "My other car is a broom." No, his stickers are patterns of vibrant colors, lacking any text or obvious import.

Hitzig, 55, has frequently exhibited his polished and painted wood sculptures around Vermont and beyond, and has been honored in South End Art Hop juried exhibitions. His aesthetic is decidedly abstract, which carries over into his bumper stickers.

He releases new sticker designs — an average of nine per year — in small batches; the newest sticker, his 50th, came in an edition of 25. He gives them away to anyone who wants one and promises — on the honor system — to put it on their vehicle. His ultimate, lofty goal is to give away 300 million.

  • Courtesy Of Samara Anderson
  • Rob Hitzig

"There are 330 million residents in this country, and I figure if I can give stickers to 90 percent of them, that would be good," Hitzig says.

What about those who don't have cars — children, people in prison?

"Well, kids under 12 probably have bicycles," he suggests. "There are people in prison who will get out of prison. And prisoners for life could, I don't know, put one on their bed?"

It's hard to tell whether he's kidding.

Either way, Hitzig's primary goal "is not to change minds but to open minds," he writes in a recent email.

Though he gives away first-time stickers — and even covers postage and tax — Hitzig charges $10 per sticker for second requests. Over the past three years, he says, he's brought in slightly more money than he's spent on this venture. A company in Chicago produces his stickers — "high quality in small batches," he notes.

When designing new stickers, Hitzig says, he thinks about "colors and shapes that are a little bit odd and confusing. I hope it causes reflection or thought.

"I don't consider them 'good design,'" he continues. "I just want people to think, What is that? What does it mean? People are often surprised that it has no meaning. And if it doesn't make sense, it leads to questions. It's doing what art does, but in an unexpected place."

The original print version of this article was headlined "Bumper Crop"

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