Tad Miller | February 16, 2005 | The Morning Call
Fresh off the success of producing the artwork for the Henry Mancini stamp, he anticipates the U.S. Post Office will release four more of his stamps this spring.
If Victor Stabin of Jim Thorpe was looking for a stamp of approval as an artist, he got it in April when the U.S. Postal Service released a 37-cent stamp with his image of music composer Henry Mancini.
If Stabin was looking for an encore, he will have it this April when the Postal Service releases four stamps designed by Stabin for American scientists: physicist Richard Feynman, thermodynamicist Josiah Gibbs, geneticist Barbara McClintock and mathematician John von Neumann.
“I get a lot of face recognition,” he said since publicity came out about the Mancini stamp. “It’s kind of exciting,”
Stabin said he was an illustrator for 25 years. He provided many submissions to postal figures, trying to catch their interest, but never received a reply. “It’s the only job I never got that I wanted to do,” he said.
Then, about 2 ½ years ago, one official saw Stabin’s work in a book and contacted him. He was told his composition ideas and style would be perfect for stamp design.
Stabin fondly calls stamp work a “vanity job.” Publicity has been good.
And he admits it’s quite a kick to receive a letter with his stamp affixed.
He also jokes that the $5,000 he was paid for the job probably has nearly been returned to the government in taxes, the many sheets of stamps he bought as souvenirs and the 200 or so Christmas cards he mailed, of course bearing the Mancini stamp.
Before the stamps, Stabin’s best-known work in mainstream circles probably was the album cover he did for Kiss, “Kiss Unmasked.”
But in the stricter art world, Stabin is a painter who describes his work as realistic painting with a mystical edge… Norman Rockwell meeting Salvador Dali, if you will, he says.
Stabin most recently teamed with his wife, Joan Morykin, to focus on print reproduction. They have the Stabin Morykin Gallery at 31 Race St. that has been open for 1 ½ years.
Meanwhile, they recently bought the building at 268 W. Broadway that houses his studio. Stabin said the building has room for six to eight galleries, and its his intention to fill those galleries to provide a cluster or artists. To be known as the Stabin Morykin Building, the situation will be similar to the Banana Factory in Bethlehem, he said.
Coupled with other galleries in Jim Thorpe, he believes the borough will continue to emerge as a hub for artwork.
With the borough alive, a thriving print business and the four scientist stamps about to be released, life is good for Stabin. And, he says, he has four more scientist stamps on the way for 2006, which he is not permitted by the Postal Service to discuss, and probably more beyond that.
“I came to Jim Thorpe [from New York] and all this began to blossom for me,” he said.