Happy New Year!

Happy New Year! Each month, we’ll be updating our homepage with one new Studio A project. This month, we’re featuring the 2024 “love” stamp we designed. It shows a dove carrying a letter sealed with a heart (illustration by Katie Kirk). Perfect for wedding invitations, valentines, or a simple note to someone you care about, it goes on sale January 12. We hope you love it!

The 2024 love stamp we designed shows a dove carrying a letter sealed with a heart on a red background.

The National Museum of Women in the Arts reopens with “The Sky’s The Limit”

The National Museum of Women in the Arts reopened this week after being closed for two years to complete a 70 million dollar renovation. One of their opening exhibitions, “The Sky’s The Limit,” features large-scale contemporary sculptures. We are honored to have designed the catalogue for this re-opening show. The large format book (9.25 x 12.25 inches) features six pages on each artist’s work, two curator essays, and is typeset in Campeche—a type designed by Sofia Mohr.

USPS releases the Winter Woodland Animals stamps

Today the USPS issued these “Winter Woodland Animals” stamps. With art by Katie Kirk and art direction by Antonio Alcalá, we think these will be perfect for holiday greetings (and all your other winter messages). How can you resist that rabbit??? Let us know which is your favorite.

Take a Closer Look at the Collage Constructions of Addie Herder

Here’s another book we recently designed for the Frost Art Museum FIU. We especially enjoyed being introduced to the under-recognized artwork of Addie Herder. Her intricate collage constructions are formally beautiful and often mysterious. Definitely worth a closer look. Also, shout out to Marti Davila for doing much of the work on this project!

New Catalogue for “Form and Surface: African Ceramics from the Collection of William M. Itter” for the Eskenazi Museum of Art in Indiana and Scala Arts Publishers

A lot of Studio A’s work is with the museum community. Here’s a book we recently completed for the Eskenazi Museum of Art in Indiana and Scala Arts Publishers: “Form and Surface: African Ceramics from the Collection of William M. Itter.” Our job was to design a simple and elegant presentation of these gorgeous ceramics pieces.

Lydia Mendoza stamp featured on PBS News Hour

For Hispanic Heritage Month, as part of their “Hidden Histories” series, PBS NewsHour looked back on the life of Lydia Mendoza, a Mexican American singer whose music bridged styles and cultures to tell the stories of the working class.

Bonus! They end the 4-minute piece by showing the stamp Antonio art directed 10 years ago!

USPS celebrates the OSIRIS-REx mission return with a stamp!

While many of us were enjoying our Sunday visiting museums or watching football, the folks at NASA held their collective breath as the OSIRIS-REx mission returned to Earth after collecting samples of asteroid Bennu. The successful landing means it’s time to celebrate! And what better way than with a new stamp, right? We had a great time working with NASA to create this sheet of stamps commemorating the mission—released just in time for the OSIRIS-REx return!

The stamp artwork shows the capsule containing the sample parachuting to the Utah Test and Training Range, a U.S. Department of Defense facility. A depiction of Bennu’s surface appears at the bottom of the pane’s selvage, with outer space above — deep blue and dappled with celestial bodies. A view of the asteroid is in the upper right corner. It is juxtaposed against the NY Times article about the return of the spacecraft to Earth.

Stamp sheet for OSIRIS-REx. the border is illustrated with imagery of the craft, it's landing on the surface of the asteroid Bennu by parachute, and collecting a sample.

USPS celebrates Hispanic Heritage Month with the Piñatas stamp

In case you missed last week’s unveiling of the new stamps celebrating Piñatas, here’s a photo of the four festive designs! Long a presence at fiestas throughout the southwest, piñatas can now be found at birthday parties around the country. Antonio worked with the Mexican-American artist Victor Melendez to create these colorful stamps. We hope you like them (candy not included)!

The stamp art features four digital illustrations of two traditional piñata designs — a donkey and a seven-pointed star. The bright, saturated color palette was inspired by Mexican culture, including the vibrant colors of small-town houses, traditional hand-sewn dresses, handmade toys and flowers, and classic piñatas themselves. The donkey illustrations are set against either a pink or orange background; the stars feature either a purple or green background. The background colors add to the exuberant and celebratory feel of the stamps.

Breaking the Rules exhibition catalogue for the Crocker Art Museum

Studio A had the great honor to design the exhibition catalogue for the “Breaking The Rules” show at the Crocker Art Museum in Sacramento, CA (up until August 27).

“In reaction to the widespread pursuit of Abstract Expressionism in the late 1940s and early 1950s, several avant-garde artists in the San Francisco Bay Area began to reengage with the visible world, applying the gestural style of action painting to depictions of people, landscapes, and still lifes.” The artist couple Paul Wonner (1920–2008) and William Theophilus “Bill” Brown (1919–2012), both of whom had just completed master’s degrees in art from the University of California, Berkeley, aligned themselves with this new direction and became leading practitioners of the style known today as “Bay Area Figuration.” (from the Crocker’s website).

After the exhibition closes at the Crocker Art Museum, it travels to the Laguna Art Museum in Laguna Beach, California (October 14, 2023–January 7, 2024), and the Dixon Gallery and Gardens in Memphis, Tennessee (January 28–March 30, 2024).

Cover for Breaking the Rules, an exhibition for the Crocker Art Museum featuring the work of Paul Wonner and Theophilus Brown

Title Page for Breaking the Rules, an exhibition for the Crocker Art Museum featuring the work of Paul Wonner and Theophilus Brown

Foreword for Breaking the Rules, an exhibition for the Crocker Art Museum featuring the work of Paul Wonner and Theophilus Brown

Interior spread featuring paintings by Paul Wonner and Theophilus Brown

Interior spread of Paul Wonner's Seven Views of the Model with Flowers

Interior spread of Theophilus Brown's Nudes on a Riverbank

Interior spread of paintings of industrial parks by Theophilus Brown

Basil Langton standing with self-portraits of Theophilus Brown

On the Issuance of the Art of the Skateboard Stamp by the USPS

What do Ice-T, Sammy Hagar, and Antonio Alcalá have in common? They all were interviewed for the podcast Paltrocast. Antonio’s turn was posted yesterday and discusses the upcoming issuance of the “Art of The Skateboard” stamps. If you have a little extra time on your hands, you can check it out here: https://paltrocast.com/f/antonio-alcalá-on-the-usps-art-of-the-skateboard-set-more?blogcategory=Interviews

Art of the Skateboard Stamps

Art of the Skateboard Stamps

Art of the Skateboard Stamp Sheet

Celebrating the 50th Anniversary of the Love Stamp

Happy Valentine’s Day! Along with Fast Company, we’re celebrating the 50th anniversary of the first LOVE stamp. We’ve had the good fortune to work on five different love stamps over the years—and there is nothing better than sharing your love with others.

Read about the history of LOVE stamps: https://www.fastcompany.com/90848906/the-history-of-the-usps-love-stamp

Forever Love Stamps by  Jessica Hische

Paper Heart, Quilled Hearts, and Love Blossom stamps

Noah MacMillan, a Takoma Park artist, put his stamp on soccer art before his passing

John Kelly wrote a nice piece on the late artist Noah MacMillan is his column today. I had the pleasure of working with Noah on the forthcoming Women’s Soccer stamp. He will be missed.

Soccer stamp features a soccer player where the focal point is her foot striking a ball in the foreground.

USPS releases the Women Cryptologists of WWII Stamp

Yesterday I spent the morning at the National Cryptologic Museum, just outside the NSA headquarters in Maryland. It was the First Day of Issue Ceremony for the stamp we designed commemorating the crucial contributions of women cryptologists during WWII.

The stamp reproduces a piece of the famous Japanese “Purple Code,” originally deciphered by Genevieve Grotjan. The code is combined with a texture of text for the title and blank rectangles suggesting redactions. This all overlays a blurred out image of a service woman of the era, as a stand-in for the thousands of women who worked these jobs anonymously.

For those interested in testing their cyphering ability, we added seemingly random letters (ZRPH QF UB SWRORJLVWV RIZRUOGZDULL, FLSKHU, DQDOBCH and VHFUHW) to the selvage (extra area on the stamp sheet) which can be deciphered. If you are stumped, the reverse side of the pane has the cipher needed to read the words.

Collage of photos: sheet of the Women Cryptologists of WWII stamp, the cancellation featuring a cipher, and a code to be deciphered

USPS releases the Pete Seeger Stamp!

A new stamp commemorating musician, singer, and social activist Pete Seeger was first issued in July at the Newport Folk Festival. During the process of creating this stamp, we had the pleasure of looking at hundreds of photos from throughout his career. Ultimately, we decided to go with an image showing a young Seeger singing and playing his iconic banjo. And as a bonus, the photo was taken by Seeger’s own son Dan.

The Pete Seeger Folk Singer stamp sheet features a color photograph of him playing a banjo and a series of stamps on the verso with an illustration that mimics a record

Antonio Alcala’s stamp work featured in Artists Magazine

The July/August issue of “Artists Magazine” has an article on Antonio’s work with the USPS stamp program. (The issue also has a nice story about how artists render perspective has evolved over time!). Check it out!

Several stamps art directed by Antonio Alcala including the Forever Hearts, Raven Story, Woodstock, Hip Hop, and Message Monsters

Several stamps art directed by Antonio Alcala including the Martin Ramirez, Janis Joplin, Emancipation Proclamation, Dia de los Muertos, and Harvey Milk

The cover of Artists Magazine with a head line of "the Power of Line" and a drawing of a tree