The Portland Stamp Company The Portland Stamp Company

Stamp No. 012Mike Savage

Mike Savage is an American artist who splits time between Portland, Oregon and Paris, France. His work uses the most proletariat of all materials: grocery bags, pencil, tape, crayon, and paint. His paintings are a meditative diary: analogue recordings made with the immediacy of his own hand. For his artistamp, he hand perforated each sheet individually. Thus they are all unique.


Have you designed a stamp before?
My first thought was to answer “no” but I used to draw stamps in grade school. They are probably up in my mom’s attic! As a child I collected stamps and I was super-inspired by Benjamin Franklin, the original Postmaster General.

What was the most interesting or fun aspect of designing a poster stamp? What unique challenges did it present?
As a young stamp collector I loved the color and graphic elements of stamps. Especially stamps from Eastern Europe and the Middle East. Even though they were very small I loved the graphic impact. Usually it was the captivating color that got my attention—especially if there was space exploration imagery which was big in the 70’s. My art for the past few years has become very graphic, so it felt very natural to work on a stamp project. The challenge was to work small.

The full sheet mike savage artist stamp
The full sheet of Mike’s artist stamp is 4.25″ x 11″. Each sheet was perforated uniquely by the artist.

Tell us about the art. Did you create something new for this stamp?
For this project I was interested in approaching the poster stamp design as something new since it would never actually be a circulating stamp but a collectable or decorative piece. I am a process artist. I think often about tools and how I can use them to create in alternative ways. I thought a lot about your vintage perforating machine, which is such a beautiful device, and I wondered how could I approach this project from a unique angle. I wanted to break out of the conventional constraints of a stamp. I looked at the perforation as a graphic element in itself. I also thought about the satisfaction you get when you buy a sheet of stamps. Most times I don’t want to use stamps because the full sheet looks so nice!

Anything else?
I can’t help but laugh when I think about the scene in the Coen brothers movie Fargo where the husband and wife are in bed talking about his 3 cent stamp. So pathetic and romantic at the same time. Brilliant.


The Artist Series

An ongoing collaboration with invited designers, artists, and writers who create original work for an unusual form: the poster stamp. The stamps are printed on lickable, gummed paper and pinhole perforated by hand on our vintage machines. The sheets are signed and numbered by the artist, and released in editions of 100. Suitable for framing. View full series.

Upcoming releases include Bwana Spoons, Ka’ila Farrell Smith, and Art Chantry