The assignment was to create a pane of postage stamps for the United States Postal Service to honor the Harlem Renaissance, one of the great artistic and literary movements in American history.
The four literary figures honored on these stamps were chosen to highlight diverse facets of the Harlem Renaissance: writer, philosopher, educator, and arts advocate Alain Locke; novelist Nella Larsen; bibliophile and historian Arturo Alfonso Schomburg; and poet Anne Spencer. The stamps feature stylized pastel portraits of the four honorees based on historic photographs. The artist created each piece of art by first sketching in pencil on translucent paper. He then moved to pastels on paper to make the final designs. Each stamp incorporates African-inspired motifs as background elements. These design elements reflect the increased interest in African culture, history, and aesthetics shown by the writers and artists of the Harlem Renaissance.
After nine months more than 80% of the stamps had sold. The issuance has been featured in a number of articles and recently won a Communication Arts Design award.