Mexico's Exporta Series Stamps, 1975 to 1993
While catching up on friends' blogs, I ran across a beautiful food-related stamp from Mexico on Robyn Lee's Tumblr account.*
A little digging, and I had this bit of info from Wikipedia:
From 1975 to 1993, Mexico issued a series of definitive regular and airmail stamps in a uniform style depicting a great variety of products Mexico exports, such as beef, bicycles, tomatoes, and chemicals, each stamp bearing the Exporta logo. The series was added to over the years, and there are a great number of variants of papers, sizes, colors, watermarks, and plate flaws. A number of the stamps had burelage printed on their surface. Specialists have also identified 14 different weights and grades of paper used on the stamps. As a result of the collecting challenges, the Exporta issue has received a great deal of attention by collectors and is the most popular modern series.
The illustrations are the work of Rafael Davidson. More on him, and more of his stamps, after the jump.
From the Rocky Mountain Philatelic Library Newsletter (March–April 2008; PDF):
Back in the 1970s the Mexican Postal and Commercial Trade officials came up with the idea of promoting Mexican exports with postage stamps. Once the concept was approved it was decided to hold a contest among leading artists and designers. The winner of the export issues competition was Rafael Davidson, who at the time of the competition was working in Mexico in advertising and product design.
Davidson received most of his training in art in the U.S. and later, when the Exporta issues were finished he returned to his alma mater, the Art Center in Pasadena, where he taught design, and also at the Academy of Art College in San Francisco.
Looks like Mr. Davidson is back in Mexico, at least as of this 2005 Art Center Q&A with him (PDF):
Rafael Davidson was born in the Canary Islands, Spain, and moved to Mexico toward the end of World War II. After attending Art Center he worked on the design of General Motors' exhibit for the 1964/65 New York World’s Fair, and on Ford’s Mustang project. In 1967 he returned to Mexico as head of Zeerhut/Veeder/Shimano Design, the first industrial design office in the country. Later he opened Davidson and Associates, was design director of Landor Associates, and vice president of Young and Rubicam in charge of its subsidiary CYB (Cato/Yasamura/Behaegel) in Mexico and San Francisco. While in Mexico he won more than a dozen design prizes and awards. He also designed the renowned line of "Mexico Exporta" postal stamps.
From 1987 to 1998 he lived and cruised on a 30-foot sailboat and taught during the summers at Art Center and the Academy of Art College in San Francisco. In 1999 Davidson returned to Mexico and was given a Life Achievement Award by Quorum (Design Council of Mexico). He is now a teacher and advisor for the Industrial Design department of the Instituto Tecnológico de Monterrey, Mexico City campus.
This being Serious Eats, I've only focused on the food-related stamps in the series. There are other depictions of exports that are equally beautiful, if not more so. You can see those, and read more details about the series, at Somestamps.
* Note to Robyn: These are amazing! Why did you not seed the Link Garden with this image?!? :-P