Stamps celebrate fish life

Six of the Isle of Man's common fish species are celebrated through Marine Mosaics, stamps featuring the work of Kimmy McHarrie and issued by Isle of Man Stamps and Coins.

Six of the Isle of Man's common fish species are celebrated through Marine Mosaics, stamps featuring the work of Kimmy McHarrie and issued by Isle of Man Stamps and Coins. We speak with Kimmy.

Tell us a bit about yourself?

I was born and brought up in the Isle of Man. As a child I made pictures out of stones and shells found on the beach outside my house in Castletown. I studied art under Norman Sayle and David Fletcher, both well-known artists, before getting a degree in design and illustration. I went on to have a career in design and illustration in London, with illustrations published in various magazines and Oxford University Press.

What is mosaic art and how did you learn it and become passionate about it?

I studied mosaic making in Ravenna, Italy, the renowned centre of the Byzantine artform. The fact that mosaic art is so ancient appeals to me, as does the tactile and organic quality of the work. Each piece of work is like a journey, beginning with an idea and ending somewhere I may not have expected. My work is not practical mosaic. I see it as painting, just in a different medium.

How did your interest in Manx marine life come about and how have you integrated it into your art?

As a child I went fishing and crabbing with my grandad in Castletown bay and often visited the marine biological station in Port Erin, which I loved. When out in the boat we sometimes encountered the enormous basking shark, bigger than the boat we were in, the memory of which has always stayed with me. 

Kimmy and others on her grandfather's boat

How did the Isle of Man Stamps and Coins issue featuring your artwork come about?

After being given a grant by Culture Vannin to create Interdependence, a three-metre-long mosaic of a basking shark surrounded by plankton, which is displayed at Isle of Man Airport I contacted Isle of Man Stamps and Coins and we collaborated on producing the issue.

Which species does the stamp issue feature?

Herring (in Manx, Skeddan),Cod (Boiddagh), Mackerel (Breck Marrey), Red Gurnard (Crodane), Salmon (Bradden), John Dory (John Dorree). Latin names also appear.

How does it feel to have your artwork on stamps that will travel all over the world?

I feel honoured and proud to have had this opportunity and to promote the islands beautiful sea life to the world. The fact that one of the stamps, Cod, has been chosen as this year’s Isle of Man submission as a Europa stamp, stamps that become highly collectible, also gives me great pleasure as this year’s Europa theme is underwater, fauna and flora.

Other than on these beautiful stamps, where else can we see your work?

My work is in private collections all over the world but my new works for 2024 will be exhibited at The Sportsman, Seasalter, from May 13th to July 28th 2024. A selection of other works are on permanent display at The Sportsman. The basking shark is on permanent display at the airport. I do private commissions.

What do you have planned next?

I have created five large pieces to be displayed in a new venture on the Isle of Man to be announced later this year and I will be working on gaining greater exposure for my work. 

Order Marine Mosaics in first day cover, presentation pack and other formats from Isle of Man Stamps and Coins. You can also watch a video about Kimmy's work.

Posted up on 1st April 2024


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