"Stamps" - Artist Statement

This series of four entailed the creation of postage stamps. I used to have a nice little collection of old stamps dating from the early 1900's up through the 70s and 80s. Most of them were foreign. Why? Foreign stamps were often more creative than American stamps of the comparative time period. So, I had that background to work off of, not that I really used any as inspiration, but it was a place to start.

Next, I took a look around my workroom and picked a few things to feature. My lava lamp, my gumball machine, my housemate, and some of the interesting knick knacks that populate my work area. I then went ahead and took some photographs outside of the street to serve as backgrounds of the first two stamps featuring the lava lamp and gumball machine.

The lava lamp I wanted to appear as if it was surrounded by a mystical sort of aura, but that didn't turn out quite like I had hoped. With the gumball machine, I tried flames, so basically, I turned it into a flaming gumball machine. The boarder around the lava lamp wasn't anything special, so I went ahead and did something more with the gumball machine stamp boarder. That looked closer to a traditional postage stamp, but it still wasn't really believable.

Next, I took the photo of my housemate, put it in grayscale and reduced the detail. Then I created the "frame". This "frame" is reminiscent of American postage stamps of the 40s and 50s that depicted the Presidents and other famous figures of history. Under the picture I put the caption "college student," which is meant to poke fun at labeling and generic terms. I thought it rather amusing.

As for the snail mail stamp, I was really stretching for ideas on that one. I finally got the idea from a scorpion paperweight I had on my desk (yes, there is a real scorpion inside the paperweight). I thought of what little creatures I could use with an interesting punch line and came up with a snail. So, I drew it in illustrator, created a frame for the stamp, and you can see pretty much how it turned out. It's a little hard to see in the lower resolution I have up, but the value of the stamp is 2 and a half U.S. cents.

None of these stamps really achieved a realistic feel to them, but it was an interesting exercise nonetheless. If you're interested, here are some of the stamps I used for inspiration:

~ Adam Deutschmann, December 2005