Michael Thompson’s Fake Stamps: A Practice of Federal Felonies

Famed stamp artist Michael Thompson will be lecturing on his work and the troubles it has caused him, at the Lincoln Park Apple Store, Saturday, March 26 12:00 pm – 1:00 pm, 801 W. North Avenue. He will discuss the history of his fake postage stamp career, and delve into the ups and downs of a project where each piece that he makes constitutes a federal felony, where his stamp art has resulted in his deportation from China, and where Postal Inspectors have masqueraded as art patrons at his openings and lectures.

Thompson explains his fake stamp practice: “I use Photoshop pretty extensively. First find an image you want to turn into a stamp, then size the image with text and denomination, line ’em up as on a sheet (of stamps), print and perforate (the fringe), apply to an envelope (with glue) and drop in the mail. Hopefully it is delivered at the other end with a cancellation. Otherwise the Post Office has confiscated it and is compiling a file on you for eventual prosecution. Each envelope is a federal felony. It is that easy.”

The stamp project, which began as a lark, has blossomed into a subterfuge of global proportions, compelled him to request his file through the Freedom of Information Act, and eventually forced him to sue the U.S. Post Office in Federal Court. He won. Little did he suspect, when he began making these stamps, that these little bits of perforated paper would come to represent the subversion of governments and lead him beyond what they consider acceptable bounds of expression and into an arena where prosecution is the alternative. He will be showing images from his personal collection of as well as signing books on the project. The event is free and open to the public.

The event is especially noteworthy as Thompson has never before shown the full scope of his work.