We have worked with Kyle a couple of times in the past. He commissioned us to produce stamps for his Black Panther Party stamp book, a collection of 25 different stamp sheets in a screen printed case. That was amazing! So we asked him if he would join our Artist Series and after multiple test proofs, here we are.
Kyle is multidisciplinary artist and founding member of AKA Exit, an art collective that combines research, aesthetics and action in its practice. He is a core member of the collective facilitating Decolonize This Place, an action-oriented movement and decolonial formation that blurs the lines between art and activism around six strands of struggle: Indigenous Struggle, Black Liberation, Free Palestine, Global Wage Worker, De-Gentrification and Dismantle Patriarchy.
The iconographic “LOVE” lettering was rendered in a 1970 sculpture by Robert Indiana and later featured on the first stamp on the theme of love to be issued by the U.S. Postal Service, in 1973. Fifty years later, we are releasing the Gaza Love stamp with Kyle Goen.
Have you designed a stamp before?
I have, In 2005 I made a stamp book about the Black Panther Party, and in 2020 I started self publishing it. The book was inspired by Public Enemy’s song “Fight The Power”, and consists of 25 stamp pages: 8.5” x 11”, 20 stamps per page. I also did a drone Forever stamp edit of 100 which was screen printed.
How was this different?
This collaboration presented an opportunity to make the Gaza Love stamp, something I knew I wanted to make eventually.
What was the most interesting or fun aspect of designing a poster stamp? What unique challenges did it present?
The most interesting and fun aspect of designing a stamp is working in such a small scale. Stamps are the only time I’ve worked is such scale, and each time creates a series of challenges for my work to translate. I found creating a halftone at an inch scale really requires you to bring your A-game. On the Gaza Love stamp the original colors of the screen print vibrated at stamp size. It was something I hadn’t noticed on the larger print, and required tweaking the colors on a few proofs to get it right without a notable difference to the colors.
Tell us about the art. Did you create something new for this stamp?
Gaza Love is a screen print I created in the summer of 2014 in solidarity with Gaza, and gave them out to people at Palestine solidarity rallies in NYC. The edition is open and I continue to screen print and give them away to people at rallies in NYC. I always knew I wanted to do a stamp with the art and this collaboration presented the perfect opportunity.
My Gaza Love print was more influenced by General Idea’s AIDS piece and Rage Against The Machine’s “Renegades” album cover more than Robert Indiana’s original work. However I realize neither transgression would have been possible without Indiana’s iconic LOVE. Both General Idea and Indiana have stamps of their pieces, so the idea of turning my print into a stamp has been kicking around in my head for some time. Thank you Portland Stamp Company for making it real.
“Transformation of the word “LOVE” into “GAZA” is provocative yet disarming, associating love with a geographical location that Americans have neglected, ignored, misunderstood, and defamed. The familiar, joyful lettering, recast in a bold palette (the Palestinian colors of red, black, white, and green), compels a reconsideration of “Gaza.” For those already in solidarity with Palestine, it affirms the affection. The genius of this poster is that the image can be interpreted from yards away. This made it extremely popular with demonstrators in the summer of 2014.”
– Catherine Baker
Bombers, Blood, and Teddy Bears: Posters from the 2014 war on Gaza, Mondoweiss