Sunday, December 14, 2014

Philately - the study of postage stamps and postal history, winds its way through much of what I do. I became interested in philately twice in my life before I go hooked on what is now a lifelong hobby. I started as just that when my father, Peter, got me interested when I was seven years old. Dad was interested in collecting - beer cans, stamps, coins, cameras. He took me to stamp shows where I acquired stamps. I recall saving stamps off of Christmas cards and such in the 70s. America's Bicentennial celebration in 1976 was a big hit with collectors. I recall discussing the abbreviation СССР (Союз Советских Социалистических Республик or USSR, Union of Soviet Socialist Republics) on stamps and reconciling my Ukrainian-American family ethnic history with the Cold War and global perceptions and realities. But I mainly remember the common US stamps of that era. One favorite, the 10c Thomas Jefferson Memorial definitive which came in sheet, coil, and booklet varieties.

Later in my 20s I became interested in mail art and artistamps. In order to understand how postage stamps were made and used, I studied them. I went to stamp shows to find postage at face value I could use on my mail art. I wanted to integrate and understand the role of the of postal service as part of mail art. The postal system, comprised of many technologies, held a fascination for me. This revolution in my thinking and learning about Fluxus and the Eternal Network as conceptual art propelled me to study philately and postal history deeply. In the 90s, global hypermedia (the Internet) was revolutionizing home computing, and later pop culture and American business. I see philately as no different than studying the Internet. There are many technical aspects of both.