Not knowing anything about name tags, I found this book much more interesting and informative than expected. The artists who use this medium --- they tag stick-on "Hello! My Name Is ..." labels and then slap them up in public places --- have thought much about their purpose, message, technique, and style, and that comes through clearly in the interviews. Most say name tags offer a means to create art unhurriedly in studio and to post it around the city quickly and easily, with little risk of getting caught. They also allow an artist to get his or her name "up" in many more locales than graffiti does. Some even use labels in other languages --- "Hola! Mi Nombre Es ..." --- to push the form into different cultures.
With its hundreds of photos of examples, this small book succeeds in making visible what is invisible to most of us, and once you finish reading, you'll see name tags everywhere --- and smile.
Ms. Cooper interviews eleven vandals who mark their territory like a dog, using stolen stickers with their names on them instead of squirts of urine.
The best way to honor the artistic ethos of those profiled in the book is to steal the book from a store, or to order it from Amazon, cover it in unrelated stickers with your name on it and return it for a full refund. It doesn't matter that the author, publisher, and merchant are harmed by doing so. After all, it's art, right?
Vexation at the subjects aside, the book does a fine job showing examples of the form. The interviews are brief and superficial, but that is quite appropriate given the ephemeral nature of the "art" and the perpetrators.