This is the second in a series of three parts. To read part one, click here.
The Elephants stamp is available from the USPS here.
Even if elephants aren’t indigenous to the United States there is no reason we cannot appreciate and adore them, not to mention send them all over the country via the postage stamps on our mail.
An illustration of a mother elephant and her calf adorn a new single Forever stamp that is certain to be a favorite among those still using stamps on their mail.
“We love elephants because of their physical characteristics, social intelligence, capacity for empathy, self-awareness, teamwork and because they share so many of our own best qualities,” said Jeffery Adams, USPS corporate communications vice president, who served as the dedicating official at the stamp’s first day ceremony.
The stamp was formally issued at a dedication ceremony August 12 on World Elephant Day at the Elephant Discovery Center in Hohenwald, Tennessee.
“The Elephant Sanctuary in Tennessee has provided refuge and lifetime care for captive elephants for 27 years,” explained said Janice Zeitlin, chief executive officer of The Elephant Sanctuary. “The release of the Elephants Forever stamp offers an exciting opportunity to highlight the importance of elephants as a keystone species and to help spread awareness of the challenges they face in captivity and the wild.
The pressure sensitive adhesive stamp is being sold in booklets of 20. Production was by Ashton Potter USA, Ltd. using the offset Muller A76 press using black, cyan, magenta and yellow.
Artist Rafael López created the original art and designed the stamp. Derry Noyes was the art director. This is the second issue and sixth stamp this year from López, who created the art for the Mariachi stamps issued in July.
The stamp’s fanciful, digital illustration of an elephant and its young calf depicts the affectionate nature of the beloved animals. Two stylized plants and a bright orange sun add whimsy and color to this lighthearted stamp. In the upper left-hand corner, the word “Forever” is in black, and the letters “USA” are in gray. The booklet cover includes a detail of the adult elephant, with a green plant and orange sun to the left. The title “Elephants” is in a black serif font.
Elephants are a popular topic worldwide, particularly from places in Africa and Asia where the world’s largest living land mammal is native. The American Topical Association’s latest list of elephants lists 1,313 items.
The first elephant on a U.S. stamp appeared in 1970 (Scott 1388).
This is at least the fifth time elephants have appeared on U.S. stamps. The first appearance was the African Elephant Herd stamp, one of four in the Natural History issue of 1970. The Disney-animated elephant Dumbo is part of The Art of Disney set of four issued in 2007. Elephants appear on two stamps on the Circus Posters stamp pane of 2014.
Elephants show up on two stamps on the Circus Posters stamps of 2014 – the Barnes Circus (Scott 4901) and Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey (Scott 4904).
Derry Noyes – Art Director
When did you start working on this stamp?
This has been a very long process. I probably started working on Elephants a couple of years ago, and took a break before trying a new direction. I originally was working with photography before settling on the graphic treatment with Rafael López. The problem with showing elephants in their natural habitat is that they are primarily in India and/or Africa. Elephants in the US are in zoos and rehabilitation facilities. They are not indigenous to the U.S.
What was the thinking of original artwork as opposed to photography?
As noted before, this approach doesn’t pin them to any specific geographical location. Elephants are beloved all over the world. This mother and baby are generic. We see so many real life pictures of such pairings.
How did you end up working with Mr. Lopez on these stamps as these seem very different than his previous U.S. stamps?
He has illustrated a slew of children’s books that bring a light-hearted, slightly whimsical, universal appeal. That’s what I ultimately was seeking for these stamps.
What method did the artist use to create the stamp?
The art was created digitally.
Was the design an adult and calf from the start? If not, how did the final choice come about? Any thought of a single elephant?
There’s an emotional tug on the viewer seeing the mother and baby together. Elephants are known for being intelligent, caring and sensitive. I had many versions of this as photographs before resorting to illustration, so I was pretty committed to trying to keep this combination. Rafael was brilliant at distilling the animals to the simplest of shapes to read at such a tiny size.
Can you tell us about how the stylized plants and sun came about? Were any other symbols or objects considered?
I think they are there to soften, give a hint of place and add a touch of color.
What was the thought on the orange (setting?) sun as opposed to a yellow sun?
A setting sun seems appropriate and adds a strong accent color vs. yellow.