World’s first graffiti stamps available on September 12

05.09.2018

This fall's stamps will also feature climate change, symbols of Finnish nature and urban parks

Posti will make history on September 12 when it releases the world's first stamps featuring real graffiti. Other themes in September's stamps include climate change, symbols of Finnish nature and parks in coastal cities.

Last May, Posti granted its Art Award to Finnish graffiti artist EGS, whose graffiti will be presented on the first ever stamps to feature real graffiti. Two graffiti pieces painted by EGS were chosen for the stamps. One of the graffiti pieces was painted at an industrial area nearby Melbourne, Australia and the other one was painted on the side of a small truck in St. Petersburg. Both graffiti pieces depict the letters E, G and S.

Internationally recognized and renowned artist EGS appreciates the fact that the stamps feature graffiti created in real environments. "Photographs are the best way to document real graffiti, which is always created at a specific time and place, and in a specific atmosphere. I don't think the actual graffiti pieces depicted on the postage stamps exist anymore. It's great that they can be given a new life in the form of a million postage stamps.

EGS has been familiar with letters and stamps for many years. "I had more than a dozen pen pals all around the world, and we exchanged photos of graffiti. Now, I am going to send my old colleagues a bundle of photos in a first day cover with postage stamps that I have designed myself. It is a bit different from publishing digital photos on Instagram," says EGS, smiling.

With the Art Award, valued at EUR 10,000, Posti is aiming toward an increased appreciation and status of both art and postage stamps. "With the Art Award, Posti is seeking artists outside the established postage stamp circles. EGS and his graffiti break the boundaries of conventional art. Visually, graffiti art suits stamps very well," says Posti Design Manager Tommi Kantola. Posti's Art Award 2017 was won by sculptor Jasmin Anoschkin.

The Graffiti stamp sheet contains 10 domestic no-value indicator stamps.

Effects of climate change to be featured on stamps

The three stamps in the Climate change stamp sheet depict the effects of climate change that a northern country such as Finland can expect in the near future if we allow the climate to continue getting warmer at the current rate.

"Curbing climate change is one of the greatest global challenges of our time. Finland has also started a discourse on the consequences of global warming. We wanted to highlight this important issue in our stamps as well," says Vice President Kaj Kulp from Posti. He is also the Chairman or the stamp committee.

The stamps, designed by Timo Berry, have been produced with heat sensitive ink that will change color at the touch of a finger. When the stamp is touched, it displays an estimated prediction of how climate change will impact Finnish weather conditions, nature and society in the near future.

According to Mikael Hildén, head of the strategic programme on climate change at the Finnish Environment Institute, the new stamps depict various potential consequences of climate change that make the impact unpredictable. "This is why we must quickly take action against climate change on all fronts. The key means is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, but we must also already start investing in adaptation and the development of tolerance both in Finland and elsewhere," says Hildén.

The Climate change stamp sheet contains three domestic no-value indicator stamps.

Finnish nature symbols are part of the national visual memory

In September, Posti will also issue a roll of stamps designed by Stiina Hovi, whose five stamps will showcase different symbols of Finnish nature. The stamps feature Finland's national animal, the bear, its national bird, the whooper swan, its national dog, the Finnish Spitz, its national insect, the seven-spotted ladybug and its national flower, the lily of the valley.

The bear stamp features Rainer Carpelan's atmospheric photograph in which a mother bear and her cub sniff the air on a summer night. The swan is represented by Mikko Karjalainen's photograph of swans caressing. Veli-Pekka Katajamäki's stamp photo shows a lively Finnish Spitz in a snowy landscape. A ladybug climbs up a blade of grass in Pasi Koskela's photograph, and the swaying lilies of the valley were captured by Jorma Ikonen.

"Most Finns have had personal experiences of the country's national animals and plants. In designing the stamps, I took a journey through the Finnish visual memory. These collective nature symbols are also the symbols of our homeland of Finland," Stiina Hovi explains. 

The second set of five stamps in the Finnish nature symbols series will be featured on a roll of stamps in 2019.

The Finnish nature symbols roll of stamps contains 100 domestic no-value indicator stamps.

Showcasing the urban parks of Pori, Hanko and Kotka

The second part of the stamp series featuring urban parks will present three coastal cities: Pori, Hanko and Kotka. The Pori Hanko stamps depict park areas with famous city landmarks in the background. The Kotka stamp features the Sapokka Water Garden, which is an award-winning attraction in itself.

"I wanted all of the stamps to feature water in some form, be it a river, the sea or a waterfall. I created the stamp designs with a minimalistic style and clearly colored surfaces that work well in the small dimensions of a postage stamp," says Timo Mänttäri, who designed the stamps. 

Posti's Urban parks stamp series presents all nine of Finland's national urban parks. The goal of the parks is to preserve urban nature and the built cultural environment as a broad, cohesive whole - a living room for city dwellers. National urban parks are part of sustainable urban development and construction.

The Urban parks II stamp sheet contains 15 domestic no-value indicator stamps.

First day of issue event at the Helsinki Main Post Office on September 12, from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.

The first day event will be organized at the Helsinki Main Post Office (Elielinaukio 2) on Wednesday, June 6, from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. New stamps, first day covers and other stamp products will be on sale at the event, and visitors can get first day postmarks on their items. 

Artists EGS and Timo Berry will be present to sign their works from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. In addition, the Finnish Postcrossing Friends Association will introduce postcrossing as a hobby at the event.

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