The 2011 U.S. Postal Stamp series honoring five Latino musicians, these “Latino Music Legions” are renowned as the true creators of the Latin sound whose contributions had a lasting impact on all American Music; therefore, each are honored individually with their own stamp.
The Latino music community has always been a huge part of American music. Some musical Latino artists achieved fame only from within their Latino communities. Yet many “crossed-over” and have become very famous inter-national stars.
A photographer and friend who worked with López, Miguel Salmerón said, “the artist’s commitment to Mexican colors and forms has really hit a home run.” The artist has inspired future generations by mentoring at-risk high school students in the American Institute of Graphic Arts’ San Diego program
San Diego artist, Rafael Lopez, painted portraits of the Latino artists purposely freezing them in mid performance to convey a sense of their intensity and musical energy.The stamp program’s Art director Ethel Kessler said, “My goal was when you see the stamp, you can hear their music.”
López created an illustrative style that evolved into a genuine ethnic color composition created through brilliant colors found only in the Mexican oil paints, and the results are seen in his eye-catching signature mural style on utility boxes, buildings, and former visual blight found the in East Village of San Diego.
Candice and Rafael López, who have transformed a depressing cityscape into a project of self-satisfaction, Rafael’s signature style is apparent everywhere and the community project, Urban Art Trail, concept have been copied in neighborhoods throughout San Diego.
“It was a real honor to make the series because I am passionate about Latin music, as it has fueled my work for decades. I hope the images will inspire fans and future generations of musicians and artists,”commented, Rafael López.
Lopez’s“use of brilliant colors to capture the flavor of the Hispanic experience made him a natural choice to create the ‘Latin Music Legends’ stamps to portray their energy and vitality,” says Richard Maher, a Postal Service spokesperson.
The Latin Music Legends series features Celia Cruz, Carlos Gardel, Carmen Miranda, Tito Puente and Selena. Explore the National Postal Museum and find several famous series, such as the African American Baseball teams, or Jazz stamp series telling America’s story.