He's probably one of the most popular artists of this century. My guess is you've probably purchased at least one of his works. In fact, I'd go so far as to say you've probably purchased many of them. Some collectors point with pride in saying they own ALL of his works, and that's no small feat in that he's published more than 250. He's not a painter. You're unlikely see any of his originals on the walls of an art museum, or anywhere else, for that matter. He has a few on the walls of his studio but that's about as far as they go. Most are locked up in vaults and that's where they're likely to stay. And unless you're a philatelist, you've probably never heard the name of Carl Herrman. That's right, he does the kind of artwork people spit on, or lick, or more recently, peel from waxed sheets and stick on their letters, which they then pop into mail boxes, never see again. But it's still art. It's very GOOD art, in fact. It's the art of postage stamp design.

Carl Herrman lives about a block from the beach in Carlsbad California with his wife, Sharon, and Scottish terrier, Squiggy. He works on his trusty Mac, and he's only been doing postage stamps for about eight years now. Let's see, eight divided into two-fifty is over thirty stamps per year. He's nothing if not prolific. His first, the image of the Statue of Liberty before a glorious sunset earned him a following from his number one customer, the US Postal service. Sometimes they come to him for designs, sometimes he sends them his ideas. In every case, they must be approved by a citizens' stamp review committee. Very rarely does he have one turned down. Originally from Massapequa, New York, Herrman has designed some of the most famous stamps of this century, including one featuring Marilyn Monroe, as well as such other American luminaries as Elvis Presley, James Dean, and Barbie.

Maybe you've seen one of his most recent designs, the official US Postal Service Millennium issue based upon the work of American Illustrator J. C. Leyendecker. Leyendecker's original design appeared on the January 1937, cover of the Saturday Evening Post. Herrman's design includes the traditional New Year's baby decked out in top hat, streamers, and confetti with his "2000 banner" having slipped off, lying at his feet. Herman's other work has included stamps dedicated to "Slinky," the microchip, submarines, the Viet Nam War Memorial, and "Cats" (those on Broadway). His favorites though, are those devoted to cartoon and comic strip characters. He's especially fond of his Dick Tracy and Prince Valiant designs. And while I said you're unlikely to ever see the originals hanging on any walls other than his own, people DO frame his work, either in multiples of four, or whole sheets (panes). One of his most recent series (your teenage would love it) is on X-treme sports--daredevil skateboarders and adolescent male bike riders soaring high into the Southern California skies. Run out and get some today, this one won't last long.