The Christmas countdown has begun, and is marked by the arrival of the Royal Mail��s special Christmas stamps. This year��s issue is by the Japanese illustrator Tatsuro Kiuchi, and features traditional Christmas icons such as Father Christmas, a snowman, a reindeer and a Christmas tree.
Mr Kiuchi��s work is already known in the UK. He has done a number of illustrations for British magazines and newspapers, and is currently preparing some work for British clients. It was through the agency that handles his interests in London that he was requested to take part in the competition for this year��s design. He recounts how honoured he felt to receive the offer, which he was delighted to accept.
��I wondered how British people would feel about a Japanese being chosen for such an important role as designing the theme for the Christmas stamps��, he says. ��However, I put my faith in the art direction and guidance of the Royal Mail Stamp Committee and took up the challenge.��
Mr Kiuchi emphasises that the winning design reflects not just his own efforts but those of the many people who supported him in this venture as well.
��I imagined it could be quite difficult to come up with an original theme as my creation might turn out to resemble those featured every year, while each of us has his or her own particular feeling about Christmas��, he recalls. ��Nonetheless, I gave it a try and it was indeed a tough job.��
And what about his other links with the UK? ��As the US is where I studied art, I have only had the opportunity to visit Britain twice: once on business and once on holiday. Despite that, however, I felt really at home as I walked along the streets of London.��