KPU instructor designs latest Canadian stamp

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Richmond: This week marked the launch of another Canadian stamp designed and illustrated by Keith Martin, instructor in Kwantlen Polytechnic University’s (KPU) graphic design for marketing program based at KPU Richmond.

The latest Canada Post stamp depicts the monarch butterfly, and joins 11 others in Martin’s most recent Canada Post stamp series, Beneficial Insects: a collection of critters that can be found on Canadian soil.

The series was created to reflect the broad variety and diversity of species that inhabit our country’s borders, as well as highlight insects that bring benefits to Canadians through pollination, pest control, invasive plant species management and silk production, to name a few.

“Designing stamps for Canada Post is a labour of love. It combines three personal passions of mine – art, design and education,” says Martin, who has been teaching graphic design at KPU for 11 years, and designing Canada Post stamps since 1998.

The research behind Martin’s stamp series is extensive, involving the careful study of each insect’s behaviour, life-cycle and eating habits. All of the information is then thoughtfully processed into an original work of art.

According to Canada Post, Canadian stamps are recognized internationally as some of the finest in the world. Designers and artists from across the country work to get their artwork noticed and selected.

To date, Martin has 24 stamps to his credit, with this latest addition building upon his previous work.

Martin notes: “this issue let me take the 2009 two-cent stamp, which depicted the monarch caterpillar, literally to the next level.”

Most of Martin’s work has focused on nature, including a series of four stamps commemorating whales that inhabit the three oceans surrounding Canada, and a pair of stamps that were produced and issued by both Canada and China to bring focus to the cougar and snow leopard.

Part of the goal in featuring Canada’s beneficial insects is to increase our appreciation of them. The result holds true for Martin.

He notes: “Helping Canada Post commemorate the complex life cycles of the monarch has renewed my interest in witnessing millions of these butterflies carpet a Mexican forest of oyamel fir trees – it’s a personal bucket-list moment.”