The cover of issue 26

Art © the artist and courtesy of Pace/MacGill Gallery and Jackson Fine Art.

Art © the artist and courtesy of Pace/MacGill Gallery and Jackson Fine Art.

The cover of the summer issue features a print of "fancy cancels" documented by artist, photographer, author and educator Richard Benson. When I began curating this issue, I'd never heard of such cancellations, but research of philately lead to some interesting things! I came across an online stamp auction featuring these Finnish stamps (shown below), uniquely cancelled with cork marks. 

I love the play of the ink partially obliterating the stamp design; their variety of form and interplay with the image below echoing themes of both printmaking and surface pattern design... and how there's an expression of individuality despite the institutional nature of a postal system. My intention was to win the auction, scan the stamps at super high res and arrange them for the cover. When the bidding went beyond my means, though, I began my search anew. Lo and behold, Richard Benson had already produced an incredible series honouring fancy cancels—and with a variety of stamps, colours and cancels and technical prowess well beyond what I could have ever achieved. Perf-ection!