A big, BIG issue

Australia 2018 Silo Art $1 Brim Guido van Helten stamp
Brim, Victoria
Artist: Guido van Helten

One of my favourite Aussie issues of recent times was 2017’s Street Art – vibrant, modern, urban and startlingly different from the usual stamp fodder. Not surprisingly, those stunning works were a big hit on my Instagram page. They’re very like-able.

I’m a month late with this update but I still wanted to say how much I loved seeing Australia Post continue the theme with May’s Silo Art issue. Silo art is the rural equivalent of street art, except that it’s painted on grain silos, and it is, as a rule, fucking ENORMOUS.

Australia 2018 Silo Art $1 Weethalle Heesco Khosnaran stamp
Weethalle, New South Wales
Artist: Heesco Khosnaran

Painted silos have sprung up all over Australia in recent years, often depicting local characters, flora and fauna, or scenes of rural life. In some places, you can follow a Silo Art Trail through the countryside, bringing some small relief to many of the drought-depressed local communities. It perhaps says something of the impact of  these works that this issue has been released at all, when the first silo was painted only in 2015.

It’s actually ludicrous to see silo art crammed into the tiny square centimetrage of an ordinary-sized postage stamp. These works are so gigantic, their size can only truly be appreciated up close. For a sense of scale, look for the person standing in the foreground of the Ravensthorpe stamp:

Australia 2018 Silo Art $1 Ravensthorpe Amok Island stamp
Ravensthorpe, Western Australia
Artist: Amok Island

The accompanying miniature sheet does a pretty good job of communicating the sheer size of these works. Bit of a shame that Aussie Post didn’t feature these works on the larger-size stamps that they use occasionally to commemorate giant sharks and more traditional artworks.

Australia 2018 Silo Art $1 Patchewollock Fintan Magee miniature sheet
Feature work: Patchewollock, Victoria
Artist: Fintan Magee

If you’re an aficionado of public art, and these issues have you booking your ticket to Australia, you can at least be assured that the silo art has one advantage over its street cousins: at least one, if not more, of the works featured in the Street Art stamp issue have now been painted over, in keeping with the street art ethos. Good luck painting over any of these in a hurry. They’ll wait for you.

Australia 2018 Silo Art $1 Thallon Drapl and The Zookeeper stamp
Thallon, Queensland
Artists: Drapl and The Zookeeper

Australia Post’s Collectables page gives an excellent background to each of the works depicted in these stamps. If you want to see more silo artwork, a Google image search for for ‘silo art’ won’t disappoint. (Yep, I’m here to offer highly specialised advice like that. Hope I don’t lose you with my technical computery talk.) There are a few Facebook fan pages out there to be found too, with regular updates.

Side note: one of my favourite bits of this issue is the sight of the dark grey storm clouds brewing over the silos at Brim. Those rains’ll be good for the crops.

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Rhodonites are a girl’s new best friend

Australia 2017 Rare Beauties $1 Rhodonite and $1 Golden Sapphire stamps

Smacking my lips at this issue from Australia Post. Rare Beauties, they’re calling them. They’re all gemstones from the collection of the Australian Museum in Sydney, and what a stunning tribute to the lapidary’s art they are.

The golden sapphire and pink diamond are used in jewellery. The fluorite and rhodonite aren’t, but that’s OK, you can still buy them for me. I simply adore that rich red in the rhodonite.

Australia 2017 Rare Beauties $2 Fluorite stampThe photography of the stones is stunning to start with, but the ‘shadow’ across the geometric background adds a 3-D feel that really makes them pop right out of the stamp.

Y’know what I like about this set the most? The simplicity. When stamp issuers start eyeing off gemstones, for some reason there’s a compulsion to show them in the context of the geological environment in which they are found, or in fugly uncut form (everything is fugly when uncut, amiright ladies), or in the context of an end product like jewellery or industrial product. But there’s no fucking about with this issue. You want gemstones? Fine. Here are some fat fucking gemstones. Straya!

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Bowie’s latest release

UK 2017 David Bowie album stamps

UK 2017 David Bowie 1ST Aladdin Sane stamp

Well this is the most exciting thing to happen this year since I accidentally swiped right on Tinder and he turned out to be a match, a babe, and leaving for overseas two days later.

The UK is releasing a set of David Bowie stamps today!

David has been on a UK stamp before, as part of a Classic Album Covers release in 2010. (You can also spot a wild Bowie issue hiding in this post about tortoise stamps from Namibia. Yes, you read right.)

Now Royal Mail is releasing this fabulous set of six iconic Bowie album covers, plus four photos from live tours combined in a stamp sheet.

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Retrogasm!

Australia 2016 Nostalgic Fruit Labels stamp set

Australia 2016 Nostalgic Fruit Labels stamp setHelloooo! Sorry it’s been a while since my last post. I’m going to make up for my stony silence with loads of pretty pictures, inspired by Australia’s Nostalgic Fruit Label stamps, over which I’ve been soiling myself since their release in June.

They celebrate the paper labels that used to be slapped onto the wooden fruit crates in the olden days before Styrofoam boxes.

What I love about these stamps is that they retain the microscopic details of the original labels. I wonder how many of the three people still using stamps will take a moment to appreciate the artist’s work seen, for example, on this River’s Pride label, and take in the fenceposts, the orchard and the veining on the half-peeled orange.

Australia 2016 Nostalgic Fruit Labels $1 River's Pride stamp

If you, like me, are a little fascinated by oldey-timey culture, it’s not out of the question that something would appeal to you about both these designs and also ye olde schoole world of stamp collecting. You may have been given the impression that it involves a lot of old stamps with kings and queens and presidents on them that cost a lot of money. Well, I have good news. There are no rules. We collect whatever the fuck we want. And one could do worse than start with collecting vintage graphic designs on stamps, because it’s so hot right now. Continue reading

It’s a gas gas gas!

Australia 2015 70c Signs Of The Times Skipping Girl Vinegar

Hello readers! No, I’m not dead. As my laborious day-job contract draws to a close, I’ll pick up where I left off and get back to slagging off stamps and stamp collectors. Only, I can’t right now, because some of Australia Post’s current and soon-to-come issues have me absolutely purring…

Take this Signs of the Times issue that lit me right up on September 1.

Australia 2015 Signs of the Times set

Aussie Post has touched me in the special spot with this tribute to the art of commercial neon. Not only do I love neon art – especially retro-style – but when I was a child, the long drive home from my grandparents’ house was often briefly illuminated by a swing past Melbourne’s Skipping Girl Vinegar sign. I still love catching sight of her jumping her rope, this much-loved icon adored by all despite the fact that she’s a monstrous zombie child with glowing alien eyes and vinegar for blood. Continue reading