By Missy Hunter
Propelled by the belief that one must keep looking for the beauty in the unfamiliar and always be game for adventure, Cade Martin thrives on seizing an opportunity. One such occasion led to Cade’s work appearing on a U.S. Postal Service stamp series. A few years ago, Cade admired the USPS Star Trek forever stamps and reached out to the designer of the stamps, Antonio Alcalá of Studio A, to tell him so. Fast forward to today, through a collaboration with Antonio, Cade now has his images attached to a series of Hip-Hop stamps available for purchase in 2020.
Working with the USPS on a project was new, but Cade relishes the unknown. “One of the beautiful things about our industry is that you never know what is coming around the corner, and this project was an item that I never thought to include on my wish list.” He relished the opportunity to have his work featured on a stamp. “Stamps are so iconic, mini pieces of art.”
As the name suggests, Forever Stamps can be used to mail a one-ounce letter regardless of when the stamps are purchased or used and no matter how prices may change in the future. The 2020 class of USPS Forever stamps include four hip hop stamps, honoring the contribution of this musical genre to our collective American culture. These images, meant to appear in motion, each represent a hip hop element: MCing (rapping), B-boying (break dancing), DJing, and Graffiti art. With the USPS delivering to 146 million homes and businesses, there are few more iconic or far-reaching ways to deliver an image – a holiday card postmarked to San Francisco from Omaha or a birthday wish sent from Washington DC to Santa Fe.
What made this project unique was the non-traditional casting of the talent, as well as the secrecy surrounding the project. The DJ, MC, and Graffiti Artist talent were sourced from the Washington, D.C. area of working hip-hop professionals, while the B-boy came from Philadelphia. A signed NDA was a requirement to be on-set with the talent not being privy to what the end-product would be.
The United States Postal Service stamp program has been honoring and celebrating the people, events, and cultural milestones unique to the history of the United States since 1847. That’s 173 years’ worth of history. Cade’s work on the hip hop Forever stamps is now a part of that history!
Check out this Billboard Magazine piece about the Hip Hop stamp program.
Follow Cade on Instagram to see the results of his adventures chasing characters and stories as well as finding beauty in the unfamiliar.