Details of 6ft x 12 ft collage.
I found an 80 year old stamp collection that the previous owner had collected his entire life inside of a trapper keeper at a thrift store. I began the process by individually sorting every stamp by country and researched all the places the stamps came from.
As a way to connect to others from different cultures and obtain more stamps I got a P.O. Box and began writing letters to pen pals and prisoners around the world.
I began studying aerial views and maps of all of these places. I am drawn to the pixelated almost mosaic quality that birds eye views have. I wanted to create a texture around the stamps that gave the feeling of land, buildings, people, roads, earth in a very minimal design.
By looking at small shapes taken from my studies I came up with a design for the piece. I numbered each piece like a puzzle and began by gluing stamps that were sorted on different boards. I glued each stamp with wood glue, once dry I would seal it with two coats of mat medium. I felt that the materials were those that came to me and the painting ended when the stamps ran out.
For a year I used window scrappers and cleaned other painter's in the studios glass palettes once they were finished with them. After each palette was scraped I would individually glue each piece of paint onto the board using wood glue. In between layers I used mod podge and mat medium to secure the pieces from flaking off.
After all 9 boards had each countries stamps glued I used gold acrylic paint mixed with gold dust and fine small brushes to paint over the envelopes and sections between stamps. For every circle on each board I took red paint and painted around it. Some of the letters from the stamp collection had a red embossment on the backs and I wanted to subtly add in the feeling of that.
I used 5 coats of a water based polyurethane over top of each board. I wanted it to have a thick gloss that would not yellow over time and would keep the oil paint and stamps secure.
While displaying this piece I attached magnifying glasses to strings. I feel that the view of the gallery is that people quickly walk past works. This allowed people to interact with the piece and look closely at the details of the stamps, the texture from the paint and be inside of the painting.