Sunday, September 28, 2008
I illustrated these postal stamps for the USPS in 2007 and 2005 working with talented designer Ethel Kessler. What an honor it was to work on an image for such an important legal issue as equality in education. Mendez et al. v. Westmnster was a World War II-era legal case in which a group of civic-minded parents in California successfully sued to end segregation based on national origin in their schools and set a precedent for Brown vs. Board of Education. The stamp commemorated the 60th anniversary of the event and I was able to visit the public school named in honor of this brave family.
I'm passionate about Latin jazz and what a thrill it was to create the merengue stamp as I had been dancing it for many years. I tried to evoke the nuances of the couple's sideways hip movement as they hold each other tightly and glide together. The tropical foilage and flower in the woman's hair are a tribute to a time when plantation workers who couldn't hold evening parties took dance breaks out in the fields. The tambora drum reminded me of the African beat of the dance.
Thanks to the USPS for the photos of the release celebrations in Miami and Orange County, California.