Disguised as doodles on classic US postage labels, large mixed-media paintings on canvas channel playful graffiti in Las Vegas artist Juan Muniz's Postal series. The muralist and toymaker has appropriated the look and feel of postage labels to make original settings for his Kawaii-style cartoon characters. It's in a joyful ode to his adolescence, when he used post office labels to make graffiti slap stickers: "Post office labels were preferred because they are super strong, really hard to take off, and were very easy to get," Muniz tells The Creators Project.
Look closer at the new paintings and you'll realize the traditional postmark words and symbols are completely reworked: a spray paint can is the logo, "Priority Art" replaces "Priority Mail," with instructions reading, "For Domestic Vandalism Use." "I wanted to take these slap stickers from the sidewalks, stop signs, and light polls into a gallery setting, so I created my own," Muniz explains.
The cartoonish star of the series is Felipe the Bunny, Muniz's Mickey Mouse, whom he first drew over a decade ago. As a caricature, Felipe the Bunny encounters facsimiles of human problems like heartbreak, addiction, and the need to make art. "I had to put him on these canvases since he is the one I would draw on these labels anyways," Muniz says.
Postal, now on display at La Luz de Jesus Gallery in Los Angeles, is just one series in a larger body of work called Slap Theory. "There are books of artists drawing on slap stickers across the world. I wanted to create a full gallery show and bring the street slap sticker art form into a gallery setting. I've never seen it done before, so I felt it was time for someone to. Why not me?"