The picture above is of a page of an album of postage stamps (1 of 3) that was given to me by my grandpa. He had corresponded widely with people from all over the world from the 30's through the 50's and collected the postage stamps from the numerous letters he'd receive. Because I showed interest, he passed those collections down to me. As a child I was fascinated with the idea that these tiny images circulated the globe in a way that I could only dream of. They were little windows for me of far off places and exciting, meaningful adventures.
In addition to the far off places they represented to me, postage stamps also were aesthetically appealing to me. Because of their small size they represent an interesting artistic challenge: how to make something that communicates monetary value and an idea or narrative while still being aesthetically appealing, i.e., most stamps must be practically (indicating paid postage), ideologically (communicating the subject matter of the stamp), and aesthetically effective while being less than one square inch in size.
To accomplish this now has been made much easier by extremely high resolution full-color printing techniques that have opened postage stamps up to containing just about any image, but have robbed stamps of their relatively unique aesthetic style. Before the advent of high resolution full-color printing during what I like to think of as the classic age of postage stamp design, stamp designers had to rely on striking colors, bold lines, and intricate monochromatic engraving to accomplish the goal of the stamp. It is this set of design parameters that have produced images that have influenced my style and have provided the materials to include in my collages.
I will always include some elements of postage stamps in much of my work, a future challenge is to design postage stamps of my own. That will be an aesthetic challenge I look forward to, but for now I will continue to utilize the combination of nostalgia and bold color and line that the classically designed postage stamp provides.