KAUFMAN COUNTY, Texas – The U.S. Postal Service is celebrating the enduring legacy of Western wear with four new Forever stamps designed by Texas artist and Terrell High School alum, Ryan Feerer they announced this week.
“Inspired by the clothing and gear used by working ranchers and reimagined in fun and fanciful ways, the original art reflects the garments and accessories of the West that compromise a unique American fashion style,” says the postal service.
Born and raised in Texas, Feerer graduated from Terrell High School in 2002 and went on to receive a BFA at Abilene Christian University and an M.F.A. in design from the School of Visual Arts in New York City.
Feerer says that his time in New York help lead him to this honorable project.
“After graduating Abilene Christian University, I continued my studies at the School of Visual Arts in NYC where I received my MFA in Design. I had a lot of incredible teachers while in grad school that have done many significant things in the art/design industry. One of them was Gail Anderson, who was a creative director for an agency specializing in creating art for Broadway shows and before that, the senior art director at Rolling Stone magazine,” Feerer exclusively tells inForney.com.
“Gail happened to be serving on a professional board for the USPS along with several other professionals from all walks of life. The USPS hires out art directors to find talent for every stamp release each year. One of the themes was western wear. Apparently I was on an art director's short list of designers/illustrators to work on that project. Gail had also recommended me for the project, and I believe that was the reason why I was offered the job. I’m so very thankful for her and everything she had taught me in grad school and for everything she has done for my career,” Feerer says.
As a designer and illustrator, Feerer merges typography and illustration with a sense of humor for projects ranging from small, hometown businesses to international campaigns. He has created work for a range of companies, including Fossil, Ace Hotel, Etsy, Academy Sports + Outdoors, and Target. He likes to focus his work on doing “good things for good people,” creating unique and timeless designs.
Feerer jumped at the opportunity when approached by the USPS about the stamp project.
“When Greg Breeding reached out about potentially doing a book of stamps, I replied immediately. The idea of working on something so enormous and tiny was beyond exciting for me. My grandfather was a postmaster in a small New Mexico town for over 23 years, so there was a level of pride and nostalgia that came with the opportunity,” Feerer says.
Feerer tells inForney.com that he there was no shortage of inspiration when it came creating the pieces.
“I was given the theme Western Wear and was set loose to creating concepts. Each stamp needed to feature a piece of western clothing, so I started making lists of items that I thought were essential. The cowboy hat, pearl snap shirt, cowboy boots and belt buckle were obvious choices, so I went with it,” Feerer says.
“I wanted to do more than just create illustrations of the clothing items and tried to incorporate as many things that represent the west. Plants, animals, western inspired flourishes, the sun, and other elements were used to frame the main clothing illustration. I really wanted each stamp to feel authentically western but did not want to be influenced by anything I had seen, which is hard to do. I wanted them to be unique and special so that anyone who bought a book would be able to see something new every time they studied the stamp. All that to say, I tried not to be inspired by anything other than the theme itself and the experiences I had growing up in the west,” says Feerer.
In addition to his freelance work, Feerer runs a design studio called The Good Things with good friend Chad Zellner. Feerer now lives in Abilene with his wife, two daughters, son, and golden doodle, Crumbs where he serves as the Associate Professor of Design, Graphic Design Program Director and Designer in Residence at Abilene Christian University.
“I had never created something so delicate and small. I instantly became obsessed with every detail. I tried to be strategic in the placement of every dot and stroke of each line. I did so many variations of each stamp and never became bored or frustrated,” Feerer says.
“I honestly loved every moment of the process, which was over 2.5 years from when I first started to the first day of issue.”
The first day of issue will be in Abilene Texas on July 23rd. They can be preordered here.