Latin Jazz Dispatch from DC

September 11, 2008

Unveiled!

Unveiled!

There’s a lot brewing in the illustration studio this month. My second postage stamp design is hot off the presses and available in post offices now. The U.S. Postal Service issued “Latin Jazz” on September 8 on the occasion of Hispanic Heritage Month, marked by morning and evening dedication ceremonies at the Smithsonian National Postal Museum in DC. The evening unveiling at the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute’s Arts and Culture Reception drew an impressive line-up of Congressional Members, dignitaries, supporters, and CHCI conference participants. I told an attendee that if I’d known it would be such a lavish affair, I’d have perhaps worn a tie. He replied “Why should you? You’re an artist.” I’m off the hook.

 

Congressman José E. Serrano (NY-16), Congresswoman Grace Flores Napolitano (CA-38), Congressman Joe Baca (CA-43), the stamp artist guy, U.S. Postmaster General John E. Potter, and 2008 NEA Jazz Master Candido Camero.

Congressman José E. Serrano (NY-16), Congresswoman Grace Flores Napolitano (CA-38), Congressman Joe Baca (CA-43), the stamp artist guy, U.S. Postmaster General John E. Potter, and 2008 NEA Jazz Master Candido Camero.

The undisputed highlight of both events were performances by the legendary Cuban percussionist and 2008 NEA Jazz Master Candido Camero who still whips up a storm on the congas at 86. He’s among the most spirited, warm and fascinating people you’ll ever meet. A wicked sense of humor too. Read more about my new hero’s illustrious life and career here. Candido says the big hands on the stamp are his. I’m honored!

Candido brings the house down.

Candido brings the house down.

I’ll be back at the National Postal Museum on Saturday October 4 to lead a “design your own stamp” workshop at their Latin Jazz Celebration event. Kids of all ages and families welcome. Latin Jazz stamp merchandise will be available to collectors, some of which is also available online.

My good friends Edith and Mark Jickling -- a music legend in his own right as guitarist for the seminal punk band Half Japanese.

My good friends Edith and Mark Jickling -- a music legend in his own right as guitarist for the seminal punk band Half Japanese.

While at the Postal Museum, check out the Alphabetilately exhibit opening Friday September 26. Concept sketches and unused versions of my Latin Jazz stamp design will be included in this wide survey of philatelic history and graphics. It’s shaping up to be an amazing show thanks to the efforts of San Francisco friends Michael Osborne and Alyson Kuhn.

On Thursday October 2 at 8:15 P.M., American University is hosting my talk “Stamps and Beyond: Design and Process” at the Katzen Arts Center, Room 201, 4400 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington DC. AU welcomes MICA, Corcoran and any other students to attend. Big thanks to Chemi Montes-Armenteros of the AU Design Department and Erin Blasco at the Smithsonian for facilitating this presentation. I’m looking forward to it.

Back here in San Francisco, I’m proud to have designed the retail display and merchandise graphics for the new California Academy of Sciences, opening to the public on Saturday September 27. Stay tuned…