Putting their stamp on the street

Irish postal service street art stamps

Ireland’s newest postal stamps are celebrating the colourful street art that adorns the streets of Dublin

Catching your eye from the bus, Luas or on that daily commute, Ireland’s urban street art is now being celebrated with a recent quartet of stamps from Ireland’s postal service.

The €1 stamps from An Post feature the work of leading exponents of the contemporary art form which had variously been described as ‘guerrilla art’ or just plan ‘graffiti’, including Maser, Conor Harrington, Fin DAC and James Earley.

Created by Dublin-based Aad Design, the colourful four-stamp strip and unique prestige booklet containing 16 of the new stamps can be purchased at main post offices, at the stamp counters in Dublin’s GPO or online at www.irishstamps.ie.

What began as visual art in public locations without permission has very quickly grown to become a leading art form in its own right. Urban street art is now a feature of the modern urban landscape allowing artists to communicate directly with the public without the restrictions of the formal art world or the need for gallery space.

Irish postal service street art stamps
James Earley

In recent years, street art has itself become mainstream with leading exponents like Banksy getting public attention.

In this week’s The Irish World we explored these four key artists: Maser, Conor Harrington, Fin DAC and James Earley.

Maser

The Irish-born artist’s graffiti first started cropping up on the streets of Dublin as early as 1995. He soon earned the respect of other graffiti artists in Ireland and throughout Europe for his unique abstracted style.

After studying Visual Communication at Art School in his home city, he went on to establish himself as one of Ireland’s leading visual artist working in the urban environment. His early work, such as the They Are Us Project (2010) was strongly influenced by typography, letterforms and sign painting, but soon after his style gradually began to transition towards graphic representation and geometric abstraction.

Irish postal service street art stamps

His works demonstrate unassuming techniques emphasizing simplicity of form.

Since 1995 his passion and drive has awarded him the opportunity to paint walls across many countries, including; Ireland, UK, Austria, Germany, Denmark, France, Netherlands, Belgium, Czech Republic, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and the United States, where he is now based.

Irish postal service street art stamps

His large scale mural work and his collaborations with artists such as musician Damien Dempsey, TED prize winner – JR, ConnorHarrington, and Fintan Magee have won him notoriety not only in the graffiti world, but also have helped establish him in the contemporary art world.

Most recently he was invited as one of 11 selected artists to produce a film to accompany the songs on U2’s 13th studio album Songs of Innocence.

In recent years his work has allowed him explore new mediums and produce works not only on walls but now canvas, video and large scale 3D installations.

In 2013 he worked with Tandem Press at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Wisconsin, USA to create an edition of fine art prints, which were recently exhibited at IFPDA Print Fair 2014, New York, Ink Miami and Expo Chicago.


Conor Harrington

Conor Harrington, from Cork, but now based in London, paints outdoor murals and traditional gallery artwork.

The 37-year-old started his career in his teenage years tagging and doing graffiti anywhere he could in the streets of Ireland, and he would hang out with the DJs and MCs from around the country at clubs in 1990s Ireland.

Irish postal service street art stamps

Harrington graduated from the Limerick School of Art and Design in 2002 with a Bachelor of Fine Arts. His career picked up reasonably fast after graduation and his years of street art and graffiti. His larger than life paintings on the sides of buildings became increasingly popular as he brought his inspiration from old masters and incorporated them into his pieces.

Harrington also started getting into creating gallery art along with his murals that he would create in cities.

Irish postal service street art stamps

Harrington uses realistic images of people and combines them with abstract elements that incorporate a meaning and story that relate to the events unfolding at the time. His pieces have been called dreamlike with the balance between the senses and then the realism of the figures in the piece.

His use of soft lines of the human body against the harsh hard lines of the abstract shape also gives a juxtaposition and understanding that it is a more modern piece than one would think.

The artist’s 2008 Weekend Warriors Exhibition was the first time that he used historical signifiers and costumes in his work to portray and reflect on current affairs in society.

Pick up your copy of this week’s Irish World to read about An post’s other key artists Fin DAC & James Earley.


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