Wednesday, August 28, 2013

A Scavenger Hunt to Pay Tribute to a Pioneer . . .

If you have been a part of our little traveling minstrel show for a while, you may already know this – but if not, I’m going to fill you with a lot of random images and knowledge with links to find out more.  It seems like spontaneous and random would be the best way to pay homage to a guy who has lived his whole life that way.

Because without him, it’s likely we wouldn’t be doing what we’re doing today.


If you have ever been to a rubber stamp show, I’ll bet you have shopped in this booth . . .

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. . . and had interactions with this man.  But how many of you know that William “Picasso” Gaglione is truly the Father of Rubber Stamping?

It’s a truly fascinating story with words many of you have never heard like “Dada” and “Fluxus” that basically started in the 1960s in New York, moved to San Francisco in the late 60s and then to Chicago around the turn of the century.  Along the way, he created a persona that he called “dadaland” as he became involved in the mail art movement and used his love of collages, drawings and rubber stamps in his creations.

But I can’t tell the story nearly as well as Picasso’s darling wife Darlene Domel can – I did a web search for “Picasso Gaglione” and among other things came up with this great and detailed article that Darlene wrote three years ago about her husband.


After reading Darlene’s essay, I got hooked on trying to find pictures of Picasso from earlier times.  Found a lot on his Facebook page, and others on various blogs and gallery sites.  This was the earliest one I found – he’s the guy in the middle and at the time he was about 25 years old.

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Here are some others that I found – yep, look closely and you’ll recognize him.

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I suspect Picasso’s life really got interesting when he and Darlene intertwined . . .


And they started this place in San Francisco eventually was called (naturally) Stamp Francisco.  And part of it was a Stamp Art Museum – but why should I try to explain it to you when you can get a personal tour?

It’s not always in focus, but the view of Picasso in the 1980s is priceless – and the voice hasn’t changed to this day.  If you’re getting this by e-mail you’ll only see a black box above, but you can click on that box or this link -- – and you’ll be able to watch it.

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Here are some posters I found from some shows that Picasso has done over the years.

And here’s a link to an article from the San Francisco Chronicle about an exhibit at the San Francisco Public Library in the late 90s.

And another from a blog post in 2000 just before Picasso and Darlene moved to Chicago.  If you love history, read them both when you have some time – you’ll get an education.

Once they made it to Chicago around the turn of the century (doesn’t that sound like a long long time ago?), they set up a new company called Stampland and a whole new museum.  And you get to take another tour that was shot in 2009 . . .

Again, you can go to if you get the black box.

And here’s another blog article written about the same time that has pictures of a trip through the world of Stampland.

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Here are two pictures just because I loved them . . .


If you’re in or near St. Petersburg, you can actually see a Picasso Gaglione exhibit that starts September 7.  Here’s an article that Darlene wrote along with information about the exhibit.

I posted this video a while back, but until I scoured the web for information to feed my idea for a blog post, I really didn’t realize how honored my niece should be that four weeks ago she got to participate in a piece of performance art with a true pioneer.

If there is a point in all of this randomness that I have assembled, it is this – sometimes in the hustle and bustle of life, we forget to take a moment to look back along the path that got us to where we are.  At some point, Picasso Gaglione created a fork in his own path and ventured off in a whole new direction.  And because he did, around the world there are people who are indebted to him – even if they don’t know it.

Darlene and Picasso

But now you do.  Thanks, my friends.


  1. Great article!! Thanks for sharing. I've had many conversations with Picasso, and both he and Darlene are so generous with their talent. Thanks for the comprehensive look back.

  2. Love this! I've been a fan of Stampland for many years and even before that I visited Stamp Francisco. I've had many conversations with Picasso and have many of his wonderful stamps. Looking forward to seeing him and Darlene in Milw.

  3. Great article! I have many Stampland stamps and have watched Darlene demonstrate technicques for years at the Allentown, Pa. show. Picasso always was busy manning the cash register. Next year, I'll have so many more questions for the both of them!

  4. Thank you for the article, it was very interesting.
    I have visited them for years at different conventions. EVERY time I spoke to both of them, they had a smile for you and they always made time to answer a question and do a little chatting. They are both wonderful people.
    Vicky Briggs

  5. I am proud that William and Darlene were not only my former employers (and the best bosses I EVER had) but more importantly they are my friends. I love you both so much and thank you for enriching my life, and the lives of my children. Love you! xoxoxo

  6. I love both of them. I feel as if I have known them forever, because the love they show me through their art is so obvious. I look forward to every visit to the Grapevine(Dallas metroplex) stamp convention merely for the purpose of spending some time with them again. I'm committed to getting to Chicago to spend time with them.

  7. What a fab and informative post about an icon in our midst!
    I MUST get a Beatles stamp!!!
    thanks you Marco's!

  8. Super blog! We love Picasso and Darlene. When Dan and I started Past Time Stamps and we began to attend Heirloom Shows as vendors, I would always say to my husband, "Hey, look that's Picasso. He's a legend." And then one day he stopped by our booth, looked around and as he was leaving he said "You kids make great stamps." I nearly fainted with joy. From that day on they were very kind, supportive, helpful and oh, so much fun. Thank you Picasso and Darlene for all that you did to make the stamp business and hobby what it it!

  9. What a wonderful tribute to two of my favorite artists.
    The last picture you have posted of them is one that I took of them while visiting their studio in Chicago in October of 2010.

    1. I hope you didn't mind -- I also had a link to your blog post in the body of mine. The picture was a perfect conclusion -- Darlene's smile was priceless.

    2. Not at all, Greg (nothing that a piece of paper wouldn't cure!)JK. I should have added that I enjoyed reliving the trip to their studio through the post that I wrote for Vicki's blog. It was an afternoon full of laughs and fun and we actually learned something, too. I really need to put that post in my archives somewhere!

  10. Awwwwwwwwwww! A fantastic tribute to a deserving couple! Fantastic!

  11. Thank you so much for this article/post!

  12. I'm proud to say 'I know them'! A great gathering of information article.

  13. Greg - Thanks so much for this post full of information. I owned Imprints Rubber Stamps in Fort Worth from 1995 to 2009 and never knew that he was connected to Stamp Francisco. I guess I need to say thank you to Picasso and Darlene for making stamping what it is today. It definitely keeps me sane!

  14. Thank you so much for sharing this. I will never forget my visit to Stamp Francisco and Picasso's wonderful hospitality and warmth. Over the years I have seen him at shows and he is a creative inspiration and a very special human being!