This year’s Christmas stamps are designed by Nina Kuu from Kirkkonummi. She is a versatile 35-year-old illustrator whose work is characterized by colors and a playful spirit. The artist, known for her large-scale murals, found it challenging to fit the illustrations on a postage stamp.
This year’s Christmas and winter stamps will be issued on Wednesday, November 9.
“I have never produced an illustration so small in size yet so significant. My style is full of details and very rich, which means I had to constantly simplify the illustrations. On the third draft round, I started to get to the gist,” Nina says.
Nina Kuu has done many illustrations, but also large-scale murals. She is a member of the Mimmit peinttaa collective, in which she paints murals and teaches street art in workshops.
Nina spent the entire spring working on the Christmas stamps. The requested theme for the stamps was gingerbread, and the idea started to shape from an earlier illustration. The gingerbread men, previously seen in a fabric print, started to lead a life of their own and are now seen going on adventures on the stamps.
“In the no-value indicator stamp for Christmas greetings, a gingerbread man is waving from a window sill to happy bakers. On the domestic no-value indicator stamp, the gingerbread men are seen going off to ice skate in a landscape that includes a gingerbread house and Christmas trees. Fireworks exploding in the sky was chosen as the subject of the international no-value indicator stamp,” explains Nina.
The stamps have attracted many positive comments on, for example, Nina’s Instagram account. The Instagram account plays a pivotal role in how she designed this year’s Christmas stamps.
“This year, we wanted the Christmas stamps to have a cheery atmosphere. I found Nina Kuu on Instagram. Her happy illustration style is a great match with Christmas,” says Tommi Kantola, Design Manager at Posti. He is responsible for the selection of the artists and for providing guidance on the artistic work for the stamps.
When Posti first contacted Nina a year ago, she mistook it for a scam.
“I was so baffled when I got the call that I almost didn’t believe it was true. Designing the stamps was absolutely amazing, and I’m so happy that my cooperation with Posti will continue with other illustrations.”
The artist works with a drawing tablet but often colors her work with watercolors.
“I have always done digital work, but I want the artisanship to show in them. I like to color designs with watercolors to add a genuine feel to them,” she says.
Nina Kuu lives by a lake in Upinniemi in Kirkkonummi. Large forests are only a stone’s throw away, and nature has become an important place of relaxation for her. “The environment is so beautiful. I often go running to air my brain. I get many ideas from nature.”
Ideas can also be inspired by books, movies or discussions with her six-year-old daughter. “With my daughter, we throw ideas around and come up with imaginary tales. She is a fountain of ideas.”
With her work, Nina Kuu wants to add joy and fun to the lives of others. “I hope the Christmas stamps also add a bit of fun to cheer up your daily life.”
Christmas is an important time in her family.
“For me, Christmas is the most important celebration of the year, when spending time together is key. My siblings and I usually gather in Vaasa at our parents’ home with our families. Our Christmas traditions have remained the same over the years. The greatest thing to see and empathize is the joy of children and the excitement on Christmas Eve when Santa Claus arrives and gifts are given.”
Christmas and winter stamps will be issued on Wednesday, November 9. On that day, Posti will release four new stamp publications with a total of five different postage stamps. The winter stamps are designed by Jukka Risikko, and they feature picturesque nature photographs from Alajoki in Lapua and Malkakoski in Seinäjoki.
The first day event for the November stamps will be organized on Wednesday, November 9 at the Helsinki Main Post Office (Elielinaukio 2 F, 00100 Helsinki) from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. New stamps, first day covers and other stamp products will be sold at the event, and visitors can get first day postmarks on their items. The stamp artists will be present to sign their works from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.
Nina Kuu’s portraits and Christmas stamps:
Posti DigiLibrary - Nina Kuu’s stamps (emmi.fi)
Nina Kuu's portrait: photo Tiina Rantakoski
Photos of the Christmas and winter stamps:
Posti DigiLibrary - November 9, 2022 (emmi.fi)
Posti’s Christmas site: posti.fi/joulu
Photographs related to Posti’s operations and Christmas:
Posti DigiLibrary - Posti’s image material (emmi.fi)