Christian artist designed and created upcoming Mother Teresa postage stamp
A Christian artist based in Colorado designed and created the Mother Teresa postage stamp that the U.S. Postal Service will release on Aug. 26, the day that would have been Mother Teresa’s 100th birthday.
Thomas Blackshear II, designer of the 44-cent stamp, has created artwork for 30 U.S. postal service stamps including boxer Joe Louise and civil rights activist Rosa Parks, The Catholic Review said.
For him Christian art is a ministry. Blackshear says, “There have been many times that I’ve heard that a painting that I’ve done has influenced or affected people in ways that are not the norm,” The Catholic Review said.
He started doing Christian themes in the 1980s for DaySpring greeting cards. His first job was called “Forgiven,” and is one of his best known paintings, The Catholic Review said.
It shows Jesus Christ embracing a modern man. The man is holding a spike in one hand and a hammer in the other, indicating that though one’s sins nailed Jesus to the cross, God’s mercy never ends, The Catholic Review said.
Other Christian paintings are “Watchers in the Night,” showing an angel guarding a sleeping boy, and “Coat of Many Colors, Lord of All,” showing Christ in a robe made of flags and cloths from around the world, The Catholic Review said.
Blackshear’s design of the Missionaries of Charity founder will be honored on Aug. 26 at an Ecumenical Prayer Service at Queen of Heaven church in Ohio. The U.S. stamp will be unveiled and displayed, The Suburbanite said.
Of Mother Teresa he says “Her humility and compassion, as well as her respect for the innate worth and dignity of humankind, inspired people of all ages and backgrounds to work on behalf of the world’s poorest populations,” The Catholic Review said.
In making the stamp Blackshear said, “Because it’s going to be reduced so much, you have to design it in such a way that it’s instantly recognizable. It has to have that graphic quality,” The Catholic Review said.
After a scholarship to the Art Institute of Chicago, and later, the Academy of Art, Blackshear’s first job was for Hallmark designing greeting cards, The Catholic Review said.
His commercial art includes the sculpture series “Ebony Visions,” of African American sculptures. Lenox Co. uses much of his work for plates and collections. Now he is working on a series of paintings called “Wings” which focuses on angels. The concept came to him after a 40-day fast, The Catholic Review said.
Protests have arisen from secularists and atheists because Mother Teresa is a religious figure who should not be on a stamp. Blackshear says, “There is nobody in the 20th century that comes close to the kind of life that woman led, and all the people that she helped,” The Catholic Review said.
Mother Teresa, born in Macedonia (formerly Yugoslavia), worked in India since 1948, wearing a sari and sandals and teaching children hygiene (she completed a nursing course), The Suburbanite said.
Her Missionaries of Charity gained international recognition and some awards she received were the Nobel Peace Prize in 1979, the 1985 Presidential Medal of Freedom, honorary U.S. citizenship in 1996, and beatification by Pope John Paul II in 2003, The Suburbanite said.