WORK/PLAY is an interdisciplinary studio based in East St. Louis, IL started by Danielle and Kevin McCoy. Their practice spans across several disciplines such as design, printmaking, textile works, and the book arts to explore notions of identity, racial inequality, erasure, and redacted histories. We found each other on Instagram after they published their “Did it for the Culture” stamps.
Have you designed a stamp before? If yes, how was this different?
Yes! We have designed two sets of cinderella stamps previously as an independent project. The stamps were risograph printed and focused on Black activists embodying a myriad of ideologies. Many moons ago we submitted an actual USPS stamp design but it was not selected.
What was the most interesting or fun aspect of designing a poster stamp? What unique challenges did it present?
First off, it was nice to print the images in full color. We also had a lot of fun editing the images in order to shift the focus. This is the primary reason behind cropping some of the images rather than showing the full view. Our hope was to call attention to specific nuances found within Black culture. We chose to highlight our style of dress, our freedom movements, and get-togethers as forms of self expression and identity.
As for challenges, there were none honestly. This idea has been floating around for quite some time and this project gave us an opportunity to execute it.
Tell us about the art. Did you create something new for this stamp?
Yes and No. A few images are recycled from our first run of stamps. The others are new and were sourced from our repository of images that we’ve collected over the years. We also tweaked the format slightly so we could add a statement. We Did It For the Culture highlights images ingrained in our consciousness that resonated with both of us and our experiences.
Yeah—fuck with us!
But seriously, we really enjoyed working with this medium! Recently, we’ve self-published books, designed publications for other institutions, and created a plethora of printed ephemera so this was exciting to revisit. Everything has become so digitized these days, so our hope is that folks will return to sending personal hand-written notes. Other than that, thanks for inviting us to partake in the fun!