If you’ve used a urinal in Reno sometime in the last few months—especially at a bar—there’s a good chance you’ve encountered a sticker featuring a high-contrast picture of Donald Trump, eyes scrunched, mouth asnarl, accompanied by the caption “Please pee on me,” in a cheerful font.
These stickers were designed by Ingrid Staats, a Brooklyn-based artist, and produced and printed here in Reno at Sticker Guy, the locally owned company that’s been producing vinyl stickers for nearly a quarter-century (“Stick it to me,” feature story, March 7, 2013).
“Trump is a really easy target,” wrote Staats in an email interview. “I ordered the stickers right before I left the country for a couple of weeks. I was in Norway, and, of course, everyone was asking us how we felt about Trump. It’s embarrassing, just like it was embarrassing when Bush was president, and all that people whom I met abroad could talk about was how stupid he was. ”
When David Bruce, the manager of Sticker Guy, saw the design he was inspired and reminded of something he noticed in restrooms during a trip to the Netherlands.
“In the urinals, there’s a little tiny fly, and if you piss on the fly, you don’t get any splash back because the Dutch are all wicked smart about design and making things efficient,” he said. “Most people don’t know that our stickers are totally waterproof. So I thought we should print extras and stick them up on as many urinals as we can.”
He pointed out that the stickers are easily removable, so they don’t cause any property damage. They’re also durable, weather-resistant and able to be repeatedly blasted with a steady stream of hot fluid.
Staats ordered the original design about a year ago, and Bruce began printing up extras shortly thereafter, using leftover space on print sheets, and giving them away to regular customers, friends and anyone who asks. Staats said she had no problem with her design being given away for free.
“I think protest graphics should be freely distributed,” she wrote. “I’m definitely not trying to take credit for it or profit from it.”
Bruce also made a sheet titled “Urinal application instructions”: “1. Dry urinal with paper towel. Don’t wet your fingers. 2. Peel stickers and stick only on dry area. Don’t use fingers to apply. Use the waxy part of the sticker liner to seal. 3. Piss away on the fucking turd that is Trump.”
Staats she said hadn’t originally intended the stickers for use in urinals.
“My idea was to put them at the base of lampposts and such, so that people’s dogs would pee on them,” she wrote. “Not being male-bodied, the urinal idea didn’t really cross my mind. … It wasn’t my original intention, but I’m really happy that a guy got the ball rolling on putting them in urinals!”
Of course, at least 51 percent of the population never use urinals.
“I’ve spoken to girls about this, and I’ve figured out a way to apply them to toilet bowls,” Bruce said. “But it’s a hassle because you have to flush the water, turn off the valve, dry off the area, and then … if you’re sitting down, then it needs to be reversed so his face is pointing at their crotch.”
Bruce said that Trump’s pomposity is what makes him such an appealing target. He’s printed a few thousand of the stickers, including extra large ones and Spanish language versions. And they’re free to anyone who asks—although there’s not an official channel for requests.
“If you see me, and you want some, I’ll give them to you,” he said.