Joe Pagan

Specialising in the use of Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop, my collection, a series of 27 digital stamps, is inspired by the Black Spider Memos written by Prince Charles (now King Charles III) between September 2004 and April 2005. The memos address an array of issues ranging from environmental conservation to urban planning and healthcare. The work aims to explore the intersection of power and communication, highlighting the influence wielded by individuals in positions of authority. Revolving around Charles, the work retrospectively scrutinises his political involvement, unconventional practice in the Royal Family.  

Illustrator and Photoshop permitted the transformation of images into cohesive compositions that blend digital art techniques with traditional stamp aesthetics. Each stamp is a narrative piece embedding subject matter discussed in the Black Spider Memos.  

The collection intends to provoke thought and discussion about the power dynamics involved in public communication and policy influence. The memos are manipulated into art, offering an alternative perspective on how messages from figures of authority can shape perceptions and ultimately reflect societal values and issues. Each stamp functions as a visual testament to the enduring impact of the Black Spider Memos, inviting viewers to inspect and contemplate the complexities of governance and advocacy.   

The presentation of stamps is deliberate, they function as miniature pieces of art that convey cultural, political, and historical narratives. Stamps possess a unique place in both public and private sectors. They are intimate in their personal use – attached to letters and parcels – but they also represent a nation’s identity and values. I aimed to bridge the personal and public impact of the memos, highlighting how individual messages from a figure of authority can resonate on a national scale. Each stamp becomes a metaphor for the dissemination of ideas and influence.