Labels: Simona Zappa

By Isaac Mathison-Bowie

Simona Zappas ’15, isn’t out to offend anyone. She just likes to label people, in the most literal sense. For the past two years, she has been working on an ambitious art project: sticking labels with phrases on the people she meets and in the places she goes. Born out of a innocuous party game, her labels have become something much more. “They didn’t start out as an art project… and now they’re almost a security blanket for me when I say they’re art,” Zappas explained. “They take the place of a first im­pression for me, they definitely change the way I interact with the world.” Many Macalester students experience her art firsthand. She’s known for walking up to people and sticking a label on. Her labels can be seen all over campus, on her friends and strangers alike. From the sweaters of Mac students to the bathrooms of the Museum of Modern Art, and every­where in between, Zappas makes her mark by slapping on a label. The sayings on the labels can be raunchy, heartbreak­ing, or completely random. Zappas wants them to be open to interpretation, oftentimes sending a deeper message than first is apparent. “I’ll think of words, and get obsessed with them, and try to think of labels that fit with them. The four words I’ve been most obsessed with lately are touching, devotion, le­gitimacy and patience.” The meanings behind the labels are open to interpretation by their recipients, but they all mean something to the artist herself. Recently, Zappas expanded her project by launching a website, On the website she has posted a smattering of her labels, with phrases ranging from “I feel stupid for saying no” to “One day my sadness will end” to “French kiss my butt”. The few hundred labels on the site represent a sample of the over 6,000 that she has made since she started. She hopes to get her own domain name, and is “asking for one for either Christmas or Hanukkah.” The site also in­cludes a bio and Artist Statement in which Zappas explains the project in her own words. The website is just another step for Zappas, an exten­sion of herself that is as much a lifestyle as it is an art project. “It’s definitely evolved, what they mean to me now. Now I can’t imagine myself without them.” In a world filled with superficial labels, Zappas’ work pokes fun at subjects without criticizing, in a manner that hopes to be funny and provocative. And if she accosts you with a sheet of small white stickers, don’t be shy, because she certainly won’t be. refresh –>