American Stories American Stamps

What a phenomenal night! The Graphic Design Department put on an amazing topic show, American Stories American Stamps, for our gallery in the Center for Design, Media and the Arts.  American Stories, American Stamps features the Art/Design work of Antonio Alcala, Greg Breeding, Ethel Kessler and Derry Noyes who are the master minds behind many of the commemorative artistic stamps for the U.S. Postal Service.

Art Reception for American Stories American Stamps for the Graphic Design Department at the Center for Design, Media and the Arts at Alexandria Campus of Northern Virginia Community College on Tuesday, October 23rd, 2018. AIGA DC Design Week. Photograph by Britt Conley

The exhibit showcases the work of four American stamp designers, showing the process of how stamps are created.  There is a great deal of research during the creative process.  The individual stamp subjects always come with fascinating histories.  Trying to cull down the essence of a subject into one iconic stamp can take a great deal of time and resources before the first designs are even made.

Art Reception for American Stories American Stamps for the Graphic Design Department at the Center for Design, Media and the Arts at Alexandria Campus of Northern Virginia Community College on Tuesday, October 23rd, 2018. AIGA DC Design Week. Photograph by Britt Conley
Art Reception for American Stories American Stamps for the Graphic Design Department at the Center for Design, Media and the Arts at Alexandria Campus of Northern Virginia Community College on Tuesday, October 23rd, 2018. AIGA DC Design Week. Photograph by Britt Conley
Art Reception for American Stories American Stamps for the Graphic Design Department at the Center for Design, Media and the Arts at Alexandria Campus of Northern Virginia Community College on Tuesday, October 23rd, 2018. AIGA DC Design Week. Photograph by Britt Conley
Art Reception for American Stories American Stamps for the Graphic Design Department at the Center for Design, Media and the Arts at Alexandria Campus of Northern Virginia Community College on Tuesday, October 23rd, 2018. AIGA DC Design Week. Photograph by Britt Conley

There is so much to take in and learn about with this exhibition,  including some insight into timelines, and how and when the stamps are issued.

Art Reception for American Stories American Stamps for the Graphic Design Department at the Center for Design, Media and the Arts at Alexandria Campus of Northern Virginia Community College on Tuesday, October 23rd, 2018. AIGA DC Design Week. Photograph by Britt Conley

The exhibit provides a well rounded education about the idealism of the American stamp, the creative process and the individual artistic efforts of each artist’s creative mind.

Art Reception for American Stories American Stamps for the Graphic Design Department at the Center for Design, Media and the Arts at Alexandria Campus of Northern Virginia Community College on Tuesday, October 23rd, 2018. AIGA DC Design Week. Photograph by Britt Conley
Art Reception for American Stories American Stamps for the Graphic Design Department at the Center for Design, Media and the Arts at Alexandria Campus of Northern Virginia Community College on Tuesday, October 23rd, 2018. AIGA DC Design Week. Photograph by Britt Conley

The show also illustrates each artist’s “timeless design principles” and how these,  “stories… shape our collective identity as Americans.”

Art Reception for American Stories American Stamps for the Graphic Design Department at the Center for Design, Media and the Arts at Alexandria Campus of Northern Virginia Community College on Tuesday, October 23rd, 2018. AIGA DC Design Week. Photograph by Britt Conley
Art Reception for American Stories American Stamps for the Graphic Design Department at the Center for Design, Media and the Arts at Alexandria Campus of Northern Virginia Community College on Tuesday, October 23rd, 2018. AIGA DC Design Week. Photograph by Britt Conley
Art Reception for American Stories American Stamps for the Graphic Design Department at the Center for Design, Media and the Arts at Alexandria Campus of Northern Virginia Community College on Tuesday, October 23rd, 2018. AIGA DC Design Week. Photograph by Britt Conley
Art Reception for American Stories American Stamps for the Graphic Design Department at the Center for Design, Media and the Arts at Alexandria Campus of Northern Virginia Community College on Tuesday, October 23rd, 2018. AIGA DC Design Week. Photograph by Britt Conley
Art Reception for American Stories American Stamps for the Graphic Design Department at the Center for Design, Media and the Arts at Alexandria Campus of Northern Virginia Community College on Tuesday, October 23rd, 2018. AIGA DC Design Week. Photograph by Britt Conley

The first half of the reception a chance to absorb all the incredible stamp stories and designs.

Art Reception for American Stories American Stamps for the Graphic Design Department at the Center for Design, Media and the Arts at Alexandria Campus of Northern Virginia Community College on Tuesday, October 23rd, 2018. AIGA DC Design Week.
Art Reception for American Stories American Stamps for the Graphic Design Department at the Center for Design, Media and the Arts at Alexandria Campus of Northern Virginia Community College on Tuesday, October 23rd, 2018. AIGA DC Design Week.
Art Reception for American Stories American Stamps for the Graphic Design Department at the Center for Design, Media and the Arts at Alexandria Campus of Northern Virginia Community College on Tuesday, October 23rd, 2018. AIGA DC Design Week.

The Forever Stamp doors offered up the perfect selfie spot!  It wasn’t long before people took advantage of a great opportunity!

Art Reception for American Stories American Stamps for the Graphic Design Department at the Center for Design, Media and the Arts at Alexandria Campus of Northern Virginia Community College on Tuesday, October 23rd, 2018. AIGA DC Design Week. Photograph by Britt Conley

One of the other big hits of the night were reading the stories from students, staff and faculty.  Many of us created our own stamps and told our own American Story.

The stamps featured in American Stories American Stamps exemplify how stamp art creators use timeless design principles to tell stories. that shape our collective identity as Americans.
Art Reception for American Stories American Stamps for the Graphic Design Department at the Center for Design, Media and the Arts at Alexandria Campus of Northern Virginia Community College on Tuesday, October 23rd, 2018. AIGA DC Design Week. Photograph by Britt Conley

These personal tributes to people, places, moments and historic events were compelling and unique to each contributor.

Art Reception for American Stories American Stamps for the Graphic Design Department at the Center for Design, Media and the Arts at Alexandria Campus of Northern Virginia Community College on Tuesday, October 23rd, 2018. AIGA DC Design Week. Photograph by Britt Conley
Art Reception for American Stories American Stamps for the Graphic Design Department at the Center for Design, Media and the Arts at Alexandria Campus of Northern Virginia Community College on Tuesday, October 23rd, 2018. AIGA DC Design Week. Photograph by Britt Conley
Art Reception for American Stories American Stamps for the Graphic Design Department at the Center for Design, Media and the Arts at Alexandria Campus of Northern Virginia Community College on Tuesday, October 23rd, 2018. AIGA DC Design Week. Photograph by Britt Conley
Art Reception for American Stories American Stamps for the Graphic Design Department at the Center for Design, Media and the Arts at Alexandria Campus of Northern Virginia Community College on Tuesday, October 23rd, 2018. AIGA DC Design Week. Photograph by Britt Conley
Art Reception for American Stories American Stamps for the Graphic Design Department at the Center for Design, Media and the Arts at Alexandria Campus of Northern Virginia Community College on Tuesday, October 23rd, 2018. AIGA DC Design Week.

After our initial gallery viewing opportunity, it was time to move  over to the next venue to get a chance to learn from them during the AIGA DC Design Week Designers’ Talk.

Art Reception for American Stories American Stamps for the Graphic Design Department at the Center for Design, Media and the Arts at Alexandria Campus of Northern Virginia Community College on Tuesday, October 23rd, 2018. AIGA DC Design Week. Photograph by Britt Conley

Lisa Hill, the head of the Graphics program moderated an informative session with three designers: Greg Breeding, Ethel Kessler and Antonio Alcala.  The evening’s program states, “Ms. Kessler has designed educational materials for the U.S. postal Service and in January 1997, she was appointed design consultant to the USPS for the creation of commemorative postal stamps. She has spent the last 25 years working with museums, corporations, public and private institutions and professional service organizations.

Art Reception for American Stories American Stamps for the Graphic Design Department at the Center for Design, Media and the Arts at Alexandria Campus of Northern Virginia Community College on Tuesday, October 23rd, 2018. AIGA DC Design Week. Photograph by Britt Conley

Greg Breeding studied typography at VCU before beginning, “his career working for non-profits.  in 1992 he co-founded the Journey Group, where he is currently president.  Mr. Breeding has taught design courses international and is the recipient of Print’s Regional Design Annual, Communication Arts, the Society of Publication Designers and the Florida Magazine Association.  Breeding’s first stamp as art director for the U.S. Postal Service was the 2012 issuance, The War of 1812.”

Art Reception for American Stories American Stamps for the Graphic Design Department at the Center for Design, Media and the Arts at Alexandria Campus of Northern Virginia Community College on Tuesday, October 23rd, 2018. AIGA DC Design Week. Photograph by Britt Conley

Antonio Alcala served on the Postmaster General’s Citizens’ Stamp Advisory Committee from 2010-11, before becoming the art director for the U.S. Postal Service’s stamp development program.  The program continues, “After working as a book designer and freelance graphic designer, Alcala opened Studio A in 1988.  Since then his stido has won awards of excellence in design from local, national and international design institutions including AIGA, Print, Communication Arts, and Graphics.  His clients include: The National Gallery of Art, Library of Congress, National Portrait Gallery, United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Gallery, the National Museum of Women in the Arts, The Phillips Collection and Smithsonian Institution.”

Everyone loved hearing their stories about the stamp creation process, the team of people that help in research and how they came to be where they are.  It was an incredible panel!

For those of us that were lucky enough to pop in and out while at work, we had a great chance to really soak in the various stamps and stories.

Art Reception for American Stories American Stamps for the Graphic Design Department at the Center for Design, Media and the Arts at Alexandria Campus of Northern Virginia Community College on Tuesday, October 23rd, 2018. AIGA DC Design Week. Photograph by Britt Conley
Art Reception for American Stories American Stamps for the Graphic Design Department at the Center for Design, Media and the Arts at Alexandria Campus of Northern Virginia Community College on Tuesday, October 23rd, 2018. AIGA DC Design Week. Photograph by Britt Conley

There was one designer who could not be here for the panel.  Derry Noyes.  Noyes, created the Disney Villains stamps.

Art Reception for American Stories American Stamps for the Graphic Design Department at the Center for Design, Media and the Arts at Alexandria Campus of Northern Virginia Community College on Tuesday, October 23rd, 2018. AIGA DC Design Week. Photograph by Britt Conley

Noyes’ bio states, “She has provided art direction for dozens of United States postage stamps and stamp products for more than 30 years.  Her clients have included museums, corporations, foundation and architectural and educational institutions.  Her work has been honored by the Art Directors Club of Metropolitan Washington, Communication Arts, Critique magazine and Graphis.”

Art Reception for American Stories American Stamps for the Graphic Design Department at the Center for Design, Media and the Arts at Alexandria Campus of Northern Virginia Community College on Tuesday, October 23rd, 2018. AIGA DC Design Week. Photograph by Britt Conley

This exhibit was possible due to help of many people!

including:

Studio A

The Journey Group

Ethel Kessler Design, Inc.

Derry Noyes Graphics

Dodge Chrome

AIGA and AIGA Design Week

NOVA Graphic Design

NOVA Alexandria Student Life

NOVA Studio

NOVA Alexandria Languages, Arts and Social Sciences Division

and

The Alexandria Provosts Office.

Blog post by Britt Conley

For more information about this exhibit please contact Lisa Hill at ehill@nvcc.edu

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *