New Stamp Is Local Artist’s Design
If that stamp you just put on that envelope has a picture of a flower on it, it may have been designed by a Huntington resident.
The United States Postal Service recently released a new stamp designed by Huntington’s very own, William Low.
The poinsettia stamp is the first in a collection of five flower stamps, called “Forever”, to be released.
About two and a half years ago, the postal service contacted the award-winning artist and asked him to design the set of stamps. Low was given a specific list of five different flowers, including the poinsettia.
“It was kind of a surprise for me because I had never painted flowers before,” Low said. “But I said sure!” He said he had always wanted to work with the postal service.
Low, 54, has been successful in the art industry for about 25 years. He is known mostly for his drawings and paintings of cityscapes, but his depiction of light is what drew Ethel Kessler, a recruiter for the postal service, to his work.
In his stamp designs, Low beautifully portrays the visual of light falling upon a flower.
“When I was doing the poinsettia, I wasn’t trying to draw the flower petals to look like flower petals. I was really just trying to capture the shape and the color of the light on the flower. The more accurate the color and the shapes, the more the flower will come out,” Low said, explaining his approach.
The artist even grew the flowers at his own home with the help of his family. As the flowers reached perfect blossoming stages, Low took photographs of them during different times of the day and in different light. He then chose an idea from a photo to make into a stamp.
The poinsettia was the only image he captured from life.
“I put the flower right next to me and just started painting,” Low said. It took him about a year to grow the flowers and finish all of the paintings.
Interestingly enough, the flower illustrations are actually digital paintings. Low has a special digital monitor that looks like a computer screen set up in his studio. The monitor is used for digital painting. Its screen is pressure sensitive, so an artist can control the width and texture of a stroke made with a special drawing tool. An artist can also create different colors of paint with the unique digital art software.
“I am trained as a traditional painter and I moved over to the computer,” Low said. “I wanted to bring the traditional skills into the computer. A lot of illustrators are doing it now. It’s fun!”
Low also continues to paint traditionally.
He began to draw when he was about 10 years old and learned how to paint at the High School of Art and Design in Manhattan. Two years after he graduated college, from Parsons School of Design, he began illustrating. He grew up in the Bronx and moved to Huntington more than 20 years ago.
“I always liked to draw,” Low said. “Everyone likes to draw, but I really, really liked it.”
Low is a full-time art teacher at New York’s Fashion Institute of Technology. One of the classes he teaches is digital painting techniques.
“I love to teach,” he said. “I love when I’m teaching about art and a light goes on for the students.”
He somehow finds the time to complete many projects he is requested for, such as illustrating books, magazines, creating artwork for New York City’s MTA, and painting the stamp collection for the US Postal Service.
Low expects the rest of the stamps in the US Postal Service Forever set to be released in 2014.