The Portland Stamp Company The Portland Stamp Company

Stamp No. 49Tanekeya Word

Danielle and Kevin and Work_Play introduced us to Tanekeya and we are so glad they did! She creates multimedia visual art on paper: drawings, paintings, narrative forms, and fine art prints that centers the everyday fantastical lives of Black women and girls. Her works are serialized with focus on Black interiority, material culture, nature, and subaltern mappings in harmony with the body.

Word is also the founder of Black Women of Print, a homeplace for Black women printmakers.


Have you designed a stamp before?



What was the most interesting or fun aspect of designing a poster stamp? What unique challenges did it present?

I enjoyed experimenting with composition, layout and hand drawn type for this collaboration. Designing one stamp was challenging and to do it three times, oh my. The unique challenges I faced with developing a stamp design were connecting recurring themes and elements throughout the series while deciphering what would be the central perforated focus and how I would move that focus around through composition to keep collectors engaged with the series.


Tell us about the art. Did you create something new for this stamp?

Over the last year or so I began using my sketchbooks before moving into final art on paper. To celebrate the ways Black folk note their everyday lives with some humor and some sass, I borrowed three images from my sketchbook that are studies of larger paintings, drawings, and prints for this collaboration.


Postal souvenir stamps are typically designed to commemorate a special event, historical moment, a figure elevated to a certain status by their deeds, skills or how great their publicist is at branding them into a celebrity. Imagine if the inner dialogue and cultural connections within the Black diaspora, that we elevate, were commemorated. So, I took the opportunity to do just that—from a Black girl and woman’s perspective.


Anything else? 

Artist Series no. 49 is an everyday fantastical ode to African and African American salon and trade signs with a dose of Black auntie humor. Each day, I am full of gratitude that Black folk can look within us and find joy like nobody’s watching.


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