Guide to Stamps, Official and Unofficial


Download 304.22 Kb.
Date conversion04.01.2017
Size304.22 Kb.
  1   2   3   4   5
A Semi-Comprehensive Guide to Stamps, Official and Unofficial

Table of Contents
A. Artistamps
1. definition of artistamp
2. Artistamp Artists

Ray Johnson

Bruce Greenville

Anna Banana

Steve Smith

Crackerjack Kid

Vittore Baroni

John Held Jr.

Gugielmo Cavellini

James Felter

Robert Watts

Karl Schwesig

Robert Indiana

F.T. Martinetti

Yves Klein

Joel Smith

3. History of Stamp Art
4. Books
5. Essay by Peter Frank, “Postal Modernism: Artists’ Stamps and Stamp Images”

B. Official Postage Stamps
6. Glossary of philatelic terms
7. The history of postage stamps
8. Types of Stamps
9. Types of printing methods
10. Material of stamps
11. Shape of stamps
12. Dead countries
13. Crash covers and interrupted mail
14. Stamps as Propaganda, Operation Cornflake
15. Conversation with Martin Morck
16. Miscellaneous links
Artistamp refers to a postage stamp-like art form. The artistamp is intended to be a miniature artwork and is not affiliated with official postage stamps.


      • Ray Johnson: obituary

      • Bruce Greenville


      • Anna Banana: now has company from which one can commission stamps to be made:
        • In the 70’s created zines dedicated to mail art, samples are reproduced in the mail art anthology at Avery Library, Columbia University.

      • Steve Smith

      • Crackerjack kid



        • Networker Telenetlink 1995 Welch's Telenetlink originated in 1991 when it emerged as the first effort to link the mail art and email art communities on the internet. Welch generated and distributed the first email art lists over the internet at the 1991 Sao Paulo Biennial and is continuing this list with his Email art Directory. Readers interested in learning about the role of online email art networkers can reach Chuck Welch at the following address:, snailmail, 19 Indian Hills Dr. Circle Pines, MN 55014, phone 612-785-9669

        • Gallery of artistamps from his website:

      • Vittore Baroni

      • John Held Jr.


      • (International Union of Mail-Artists): i

Artist info

  • Artists stamps:

Also the Monograph we received from Cavellini archive:

Cavellini 1914.2014 1993

  • Story of Cavellini’s life…very much a part of the art scene of the seventies though considered himself a “drop out.” Whenever he made something- he would always burn his negatives and then incorporate these ashes into another piece.

  • Influenced by Klein’s peintures de feu

  • Begins his self-historicizing project and writes his own manifesto.

  • Created large posters that advertised exhibition of his work. But little do the visitors know the exhibition would be that one sign.

  • Cavellini’s attitude about irony and self-historicization is a bit of a pitfall, as whenever he talks about the two he was always winking. And then in his own portraits he would wink then again…is he making fun of himself, or of those self- historicized figures who he impersonates…the irony is a bit confusing.

  • Also was a notorious collector, turned own home into a gallery located in Brescia, Italy to show the work of his colleagues.

  • Inlaid wood postage stamps include tributes to Morandi, Miró, and Picasso

  • Known mainly as a postage stamp artist/mail artist because of the sheer amount of correspondences he had, during which he would send free materials to the recipient. He had over 15,000 correspondents;

    • One of his most famous pieces, the coat on which he wrote his biography…this practice of writing pervaded other areas/artworks. Cavellini often wrote( his biography) on other people. Also there was clothing made that his followers would also wear.


    • Perhaps more of an outsider artist? Fringe artist

  • James Felter, organizer of the first ever curated major stamp exhibition, entitled Artists’ Stamps and Stamp images

    • aka Jas Felter?



  • Tricia Van eck, Lynn Warren—curators of the STAMP! show at MCA....310-280-2660

  • Fluxus Post Kit 7

  • Stamp! show put on by MCA



  • Robert Watts:
    • Watt's postage stamp sheets have had a continuing life since his death in 1988. In 1993, the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota, organized the exhibition, In the Spirit of Fluxus, which subsequently traveled both nationally (The Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; The Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago; the Wexner Center for the Visual Arts, Columbus, Ohio; and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art) and internationally (Fundació Antoni Tápies, Barcelona, Spain). A popular feature of the exhibition was the dispensing of Watts' postage stamps from a modified U. S. Government postage stamp machine. In addition the Walker Art Center produced a sheet of stamps compiled from Safepost/K.U.K Feldpost/Jockpost (1961 and 1962), Yamflug/5 Post 5, Fluxpost/17-17, and Commemorative FBI Most Wanted. The sheet was sold throughout the duration of the touring exhibition. fro,:

    • The stamp sheet is copyrighted 1993 by the Robert Watts Studio Archive:

      • Robert Watts Studio Archive. 107 W 28th St, #3 New York, 10001 Phone: 212-564-5477.


    • Mail Art and the Internet

      • Dissertation of Honoria Madelyn Starbuck, Ph.D. candidate, University of Texas, Austin


      • Works of fiction (literature) affiliated with artistamps

        • Going Postal(fantasy book):

Karl Schwesig



by Jas, 1989

Single gummed, perforated artistamp; 5.4 x 6cm.

From the full sheet (21.7 x 28cm) of 4 different artistamps, signed, numbered a/p

This artistamp is one of twenty-five reproducing the artistamp images created by the German artist, Karl Schwesig (1898-1955). Schwesig drew his stamp images in coloured ink on the left-over perforated bank margins of an actual postage stamp sheet while imprisoned in Gurs, a large internment camp in unoccupied Vichy France.

They are dated 1941.(

Robert Indiana

F.T. Martinetti


by Yves Klein, 1959

(re-issue by StampArt Gallery, 1996)

Single artistamp, 5.1 x 4cm.

Klein overpainted regular postage stamps with his unique 'Klein Blue' color. These were then attached to invitations for his exhibition La vide (The Void), an empty gallery in Paris in 1959. The painted stamps were then cancelled and delivered by the French Post Office causing a scandale française. From

Abstract Blue / Elvont kék 1965 | ⊕

Ocean liner / Óceánjáró 1966

Joel Smith Commemorative Stamp / Joel Smith emlékbélyeg 1974

Joel Smith Letter / Joel Smith levél 1984 from

Joel Smith (USA)

Sample of YAMFLUG / 5 POST 5, 1964

Robert WATTS (USA) from

FLUXPOST 17-17, 1965, Robert Watts


INTRODUCTION (taken from

Reproduced from the travelling exhibition catalogue

Artists' Stamps and Stamp Images

1974 - 1984

published by

The Simon Fraser Gallery

Simon Fraser University

Burnaby, British Columbia, CANADA

with the assistance of a grant from

The Canada Council, 1976

reprinted in

Correspondence ART

Editors: Michael Crane & Mary Stofflet

Contemporary Arts Press, San Francisco, 1984

“The word "stamp" as used in this exhibit refers to what might be termed the pseudo-postage stamp; that is, an alternate stamp opposed to the normal government publications designed for use in the official or government postal services of the world. Indeed, several "artists' stamps" (as opposed to postage stamps) were issued during government postal strikes. Examples are the Blue Stamp by Yves Klein of France and the stamps of Allen Jones of England. Others appear so much like postage stamps that they have traveled through the official services, mostly undetected (such as the 10c U. S. Air Mail by an anonymous American artist), and, I might add, often without the knowledge of the artist. One such stamp, US XX by William Farley, was affixed to an envelope mailed by a friend of Farley's to his mother in Phoenix, Arizona. The envelope was delivered by the U. S. Secret Service. The ensuing investigation led to Farley, and he was requested to turn over all remaining copies of the stamp to the Secret Service. He did. His purpose, however, was not to fool the U. S. Government (in Canada it is called stealing from the Queen), but to make a particular artist's statement which only could be made by an "artist's stamp".

Many artists, like Carl Douset in Canada and Dieter Rot in Germany, have produced Stamp Art as a part of a collection or folio of different works. Others, such as Robert Fried in the United States and Christopher Pratt and Harry Savage in Canada have produced a series of fine print stamp images. A few artists, for example, Donald Evans in the Netherlands and Joel Smith in the United States, have created stamp or "postal" paintings.
Donald Evans makes his stamps for a personal fantasy world. He began in 1957. May Wilson in New York makes her stamps to affix to her hand-sprayed cards. They are, then, not an end or statement in themselves, but personal art material to be used with other material to create something else. There are probably as many reasons why "artists' stamps" have been created as there are artists who have created them. But the Curator, and the public, is often more concerned with the objects than with the reasons, and though the reasons differ, the objects do represent a growing international medium of artistic expression.

The "history" of Stamp Art is contemporary. FLUXUS, an international artist's group devoted to research art, explored in the early 60's not only the medium of Mail Art using the government postal systems, but through FLUXPOST Projects created a para-postal system which from time to time - often with hilarious results - functioned along with regular government postal services in several nations. Ken Friedman, George Maciunas, Daniel Spoerri, Ben Vautier and Bob Watts, all colleagues in FLUXUS led to my commissioning of the Fluxpost Commemorative Issue which appears on the cover page. This stamp serves both as a document of the exhibition and as a commemorative of the work of FLUXUS WEST from 1964 to 1974. This stamp exists as a published multiple in both a signed and unsigned edition. It is the work of Ken Friedman and is based on the logo for FLUXUS WEST designed by Wolfgang Feelisch, Coordinator of FLUXUS WEST in Germany, and for FLUXUS ZONE WEST designed by Joseph Beuys, eminent German artist and art activist.

The earliest example of Stamp Art from Canada is the 1967 imperforate Centennial Project created by N. E. Thing Co. to commemorate an exhibition at the Douglas Gallery in Vancouver. The Coach House Press in Toronto has printed many of the Canadian artists' stamps, including Michael Hayden's 1972 Self-Portrait: Homage to Colonel Sanders, and the 1971-73 Johnny Canuck Issue by Nelvana Ltd..Rick/Simon, Vice president: Stamps, at Coach House, has himself designed several of The Coach House Press works, including the 1974 Kings Highway Stamp.
There are several important stamp artists whose original work could not be obtained for this exhibition. This introduction would not be complete without an acknowledgment of their contribution. They are George Ashley, Neil Felts, Allen Fish, Ray Johnson, Peter Martin, all of the United States; Yves Klein of France, Joe Tilson of England and Sylvia Palchinski of England and Canada. There are, I am sure, many others around the world who have made a contribution to Stamp Art. I have several names of artists in South America, Europe and Asia who are believed to have made Stamp Art, but at the time of publication, their contributions had not been confirmed.” 22 March 1976
Another comprehensive article regarding stamp art’s history found online (overview) from:

“James W. Felter was the first art curator to twig the phenomena of artists using the postage stamp format as an art medium. His early research (1969 -74) resulted in the first exhibition of works in this medium at Simon Fraser University's Gallery in 1974. His early discoveries included Joel Smith , at SFU (1969), who was doing paintings on postage stamp; Carl Daouset in Montreal (1970), who created a sheet of stamps to complement his book of poems, Les Lettres Mortes; and Robert Fried, who visited SFU in 1971 with his edition Non-negotiable Eights, a set of 3 serigraphed postage stamp images with perforations indicated by heavy embossing, and a color lithographed gummed and perforated sheet of three "pseudo postage stamps". None of these artists knew one another, nor were they aware of each other’s work with the postage stamp format. Felter, primed by his teenage stamp collecting passion, saw the 'light,' and the search began.

-Eternal Network: A Mail Art Anthology (Paperback)by Chuck Welch (Editor) The University of Calgary Press, 1995

    • Possibly we can write to Shirley Onn, editor, University of Calgary Press, 2500 University Dr. N.W.,, Calgary, Alberta, Canada T2N 1N4

  • Correspondence Art: Source Book for the Network of International Postal Art Activity. Ed Crae, Michael and Mary Stoflett. Contemporary Arts Press, San Francisco 1984

Other possible books to find elsewhere;

  • Mail Art: An Annotated Bibliography (Paperback) John Held, Publisher: Scarecrow Press (July 28, 1991), Language: English, ISBN: 081082455

5.Peter Frank

  1   2   3   4   5

The database is protected by copyright © 2017
send message

    Main page