Peter Hite

© 2018 Peter Hite

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Using historical artifacts to create art is unusual. Many paintings have recorded historical
events but using actual historical elements is almost unknown. Within the artwork of Peter
Hite, the common postage stamp serves as an historical document.

Hite uses old stamps to create images that range from landscapes, portraits and sometimes
a moment in time. His collages have lyrical and fanciful qualities that are in direct contrast
to the typically staid images on postage stamps.

After seeing the image in total, the viewer is brought closer; the collage begins to reveal its
myriad of pieces. Within the forms and fields of color, individual stamps become obvious.
They serve as official documents, official government pronouncements. It becomes clear
that the old stamps hail from around the world, creating a clear historical component to the
image. Depending on the viewers’ age, interests and experience, they begin to recognize
various stamps. Stamps can mark periods of time and location, often very specific. For
example, an American stamp could be cancelled in 1943 at New York’s Grand Central
Station. These points in time and place can provoke powerful memories for many viewers.
Even if a stamp does not mark a particular memory, some can create a link to prominent
times and locations. In the case of many 19th century French stamps, a viewer realizes that
this stamp may have been the type used by Vincent Van Gough when writing his brother.

By offering these multiple layers of information, Hite’s artwork speaks to people in different
ways and over time, continues to reveal more and more details. Hite strives to provide his
viewers with a rich image that continues to reveal more as time passes.

A collage of 36”x36” is made up of about 3,500 stamps,
taking over 160 to 250 hours to complete. Almost all the
stamps are cancelled, which adds more visual and historical

My creative approach is relatively simple. If I see or think
of something that I like visually, I make a sketch. After I
have collected a group of sketches, I select my favorite. I
loosely draw the image on to board or canvas, depending on
the size. Larger works I will work with stretched canvas to
reduce weight. Once the composition is sketched onto the
surface, I begin applying stamps. I work from back to front.
My studio, also called the “Post Office”, is full of stamps.
I estimate that I have about 100,000 stamps in his studio,
all sorted according to color.

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