Celebrating the Renwick’s 50th Anniversary with “This Present Moment”

A year ago the Smithsonian American Art Museum and Renwick Gallery staff invited us to collaborate on the design of a special book cover. This catalogue commemorates the 50th anniversary of the Renwick—the nation’s premier museum dedicated to American craft.

Together, we developed a design using a vintage, black and white photo of the museum facade transformed into more than thirty different color combinations. The acetate “dustjacket” has “This Present Moment” (the title) screened on the front.

We couldn’t be more thrilled with how they look! Thanks to everyone at SAAM and the Renwick for including us in your celebration. And be sure to stop by and see the exhibition, up until April 2023.

"This Present Moment," an exhibition that celebrates the Renwick's 50th Anniversary, has a cover with the title  in bold sans-serif letters over the face of a classically styled building with multiple versions in different color schemes displayed fanned out

Print Magazine awards First Place to the Kwanzaa Stamp

Good news came from Print magazine yesterday who awarded a First Place to the Kwanzaa stamp we developed with art by Andrea Pippins. Thanks Print, Andrea, and USPS!

The Kwanzaa stamp, illustrated by Andrea Pippins, honored for first place by Print magazine

USPS honors marine biologist Dr. Eugenie Clark

Today would have been the 100th birthday of Dr. Eugenie Clark. She was a pioneering marine biologist who demonstrated that lemon sharks could be trained to do complex tasks, disproved the notion that some shark species must keep swimming in order to survive, and debunked myths about sharks as vicious, fearsome creatures.

We are proud to have worked with the talented artist Amanda Phingbodhipakkiya to create a stamp honoring this great American scientist!

Stamp that celebrates marine biologist Dr. Eugenie Clark shows her in a snorkeling outfit with a lemon shark in the background

USPS commemorates the modernist artist George Morrison

Last week the USPS issued a set of five stamps commemorating the great modernist artist George Morrison—an Ojibwe who had a deep interest in the natural world. We are proud to have worked with his beautiful artwork to create this set of stamps.

Modernist work from Ojibwa artist George Morrison

Modernist work from Ojibwa artist George Morrison

Modernist work from Ojibwa artist George Morrison

GD/USA names Antonio Alcala as one of their “People to Watch” in 2022

Well, imagine that! GD/USA named Antonio one of their “People to Watch in 2022.” And there he is on page 38 (photo by Cade Martin). Check out the many other interesting creatives in the issue including friends and colleagues Kim Berlin and Daniel Frumhoff. Thanks GD/USA!

A pair of photos. At left is Antonio Alcala and at right is the cover of the GD/USA issue "People to Watch 2022"

Lunar New Year—The Year of the Tiger stamp released

Happy Lunar New Year! Everyone here at Studio A wishes you great happiness and prosperity! We had the good fortune to collaborate with artist Camille Chew in creating this year’s stamp celebrating the Year of the Tiger. We can’t wait to send some mail using these, and hope you’ll enjoy getting them on your cards and letters.

Lunar New Year Tiger Stamp by Camille Chew by Camille Chew

This year’s Black Heritage stamp features Edmonia Lewis

If you are in DC this week, and vaccinated, please come to the Smithsonian American Art Museum this Wednesday at 12:30 for the Edmonia Lewis Forever stamp First Day of Issue ceremony. Antonio worked with artist Alex Bostic to create this stamp commemorating this important 19th-century sculptor. The ceremony is free.

Black Heritage Edmonia Lewis stamp

Dia de los Muertos Stamp released

It’s amazing, wonderful, and gratifying that USPS issued these first-ever US postage stamps commemorating Día de los Muertos last month. Día de los Muertos / Day of the Dead is a festive celebration of one’s ancestors. Adopted from Mexico and Central America it is now observed throughout the United States.

We were thrilled to work with Mexican American artist and designer Luis Fitch to create these colorful and beautiful stamps. They feature stylized, decorated calaveras or “sugar skulls” personalized as four family members: a child with a hair bow, a father sporting a hat and mustache, a mother with curled hair and another child. The lit candles flanking each sugar skull are beacons to guide deceased loved ones on their annual return journey to the land of the living. Dotting each stamp are marigolds (cempazuchitles), the most popular Day of the Dead flower. ¡Qué maravilloso! We hope you like them!

Dia de los Muertos Forever Stamp

Dia de los Muertos Forever Stamp Sheet

USPS releases the Message Monsters stamp

USPS just issued what we think is one of our most fun designs: Message Monsters. We collaborated with illustrator Elise Gravel on the these playful creatures, then added our own hand-lettered title. Around the edges are little stickers you can pull-up and use to personalize your creature/stamp and envelope. What do you think? Fun, right?

Message Monsters Stamp Sheet

Message Monsters Stamp Sheet

Hunt Slonem: The Bigger Picture

Earlier this year, the Scala hired us to design a book presenting varied works by the artist Hunt Slonem. Without an organizational structure from the client (by media or by chronology, for example), we proposed presenting the works in order of the color spectrum ROYGBIV. It was a fun, unconventional approach to the layouts. Best of all, the client was thrilleded. A win!

Cover of Hunt Slonem: The Bigger Picture Book

Title Page of Hunt Slonem: The Bigger Picture Book

Opener for Hunt Slonem: The Bigger Picture Book

Image Spread for Hunt Slonem: The Bigger Picture Book

Image Spread for Hunt Slonem: The Bigger Picture Book

Image Spread for Hunt Slonem: The Bigger Picture Book

Image Spread for Hunt Slonem: The Bigger Picture Book

Image Spread for Hunt Slonem: The Bigger Picture Book

Image Spread for Hunt Slonem: The Bigger Picture Book

Image Spread for Hunt Slonem: The Bigger Picture Book

Emilio Sanchez Stamp

This summer has been busy! In June the USPS issued these stamps we designed commemorating the artist Emilio Sanchez (1922–1999). The challenge when creating stamps for artists is to find a group of work that looks good together, doesn’t require cropping, represents the artist’s vision well, and will interest the public. Hopefully, Mr. Sanchez would be pleased.

Emilio Sanchez Stamp

Emilio Sanchez Stamp

Emilio Sanchez Stamp

Emilio Sanchez Stamp

Raven Story Stamp featuring artist Rico Worl

It’s been a busy few weeks for us and USPS. Last week the USPS issued our latest design: Raven Story. Antonio worked with Tlingit/Athabascan designer and artist Rico Worl to create this newest “forever” stamp.The design depicts a raven just as he escapes from his human family and begins to transform back into his bird form. To create the stamp art, Worl used formline, the traditional design style of the Indigenous people of the northern Northwest Coast.

The stamp is inspired by the traditional story of the raven setting the sun, moon and stars free.It depicts one of many stories about the raven, a figure of great significance to the Indigenous people of the northern Northwest Coast, part of the area that ranges from Southeast Alaska through coastal British Columbia and south into Washington state.

Among the cultures of the region—which include the Tlingit, the Tsimshian, the Haida, the Kwakwaka’wakw and others—the raven plays an essential role in many traditional tales, including stories about the creation of the world. The different peoples of the northern Northwest Coast each have their own culturally specific versions of the raven story, which often convey customs, ethics and cultural inheritances that help communities preserve or affirm their identities.

Raven Story Stamp

More than Meets the Eye Stamp

Last week our latest stamp design was issued. The original assignment was for a word search puzzle, but we realized the stamp cancellation would render the stamp unusable. This is the design we proposed instead (shout out to Ricky Altizer for the assist). One philatelic fan liked it so much they made it into a quilt!

More Than Meets the Eye Stamp

Baseball All-Star: Yogi Berra

“You can observe a lot by watching.”—Yogi Berra

Today a stamp commemorating baseball great Yogi Berra was issued by the USPS. Designed by Antonio Alcalá with art by Charles Chaisson and lettering by Michael Doret, the stamp evokes baseball cards and classic lettering for team jerseys while honoring one of the greatest baseball players of all-time.

Now would be a good time to send a “Hello!” through the mail to your favorite baseball fan!

Stamp featuring an illustration of Yogi Berra, Baseball All=Star

Go For Broke! Japanese American Soldiers of WWII

The “Go for Broke: Japanese American Soldiers of WWII” stamp we designed was issued last week by the USPS. The image is based on a photo from 1944 of a member if the 442nd Regimental Combat Team taken in France. Although many Japanese-Americans faced discrimination in the US, including being confined to domestic concentration camps, 33,000 others served in the army. The 442nd was one of the most distinguished American fighting units of WWII. Their heroism is notable.

We were honored to design this important stamp, and touched by all the notes and messages from members of the Japanese-American community telling us how much this recognition means.

A stamp featuring a Japanese soldier of the 442nd Go For Broke regiment from WWII