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Postage stamps so Delicioso you’ll want to lick ’em

Eight-year-old Coronado Elementary students Emily Chavez, left, and Antonella Aragon sing with Voces de Coronado during the unveiling of the U.S. Postal Service Delicioso Forever stamps at the National Hispanic Cultural Center on Thursday. (Greg Sorber/Albuquerque Journal)

Eight-year-old Coronado Elementary students Emily Chavez, left, and Antonella Aragon sing with Voces de Coronado during the unveiling of the U.S. Postal Service Delicioso Forever stamps at the National Hispanic Cultural Center on Thursday. (Greg Sorber/Albuquerque Journal)

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Two years ago, John Parra was contacted by the U.S. Postal Service to develop a series of stamps.

bright-spot-logoOn Thursday, the New York resident saw the stamps for the first time at the National Hispanic Cultural Center.

“I’ve been an artist for 20 years, and this is something very special,” he says, holding in his emotions. “It’s really such an honor. They are beautiful.”

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The Delicioso Forever stamps feature bright and playful illustrations of tamales, flan, sancocho, empanadas, chile relleno, and ceviche.

The stamps were dedicated during the NHCC’s monthly “¡Salud y Sabor!: Nuevo México” on Thursday and are now available for purchase.

The event invites the community to gather for cooking demonstrations using fresh, locally grown ingredients, as well as art activities for kids and adults, health screenings, and live entertainment.

The stamp booklets each contain four of the tamales and flan designs and three of each of the other designs.

The names of the six dishes appear in a festive font above each mouth-watering image.

The Delicioso Forever stamps feature six types of foods. (Source: USPS)

The Delicioso Forever stamps feature six types of foods. (Source: USPS)

Each illustration was created by applying multiple layers of acrylic paint to textured boards, using sandpaper to reveal the hidden layers and give the designs a worn, vintage look.

Parra says the project combined his two loves – art and food.

And being able to create something that pays homage to his and his wife’s heritage was a great opportunity.

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“I grew up in Southern California, and my father is Mexican,” he says. “So I was familiar with many of the dishes. And as I was putting it together visually, I took some inspiration from my Puerto Rican wife, who introduced me to more food.”

The biggest challenge for Parra was designing paintings that would eventually be about 1 inch by 1 inch.

“The originals were 10 inch by 13 inch,” he says. “I didn’t want any of them to lose the impact. The stamps are still very bright and colorful. It’s overwhelming to see them in my hand.”

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