He continues: "They wanted a new original approach to the postage stamp which has traditionally had a very soft, watercolor kind of look. A lot of animals of the country, flowers of the country -- those are the typical things you'd find on a postage stamp. They are normally very polite, the concept of them.
"That's OK but I think they wanted to move into a more graphically-innovative direction."
It's a project that caters to Gericke's artistic strengths -- heavy, tonal work -- as seen in this design of Bernoldus Niemand, a defiant rock musician and songwriter on the South African music scene in the 1970s.
Miriam Makeba – The South African-born artist has illustrated 10 musicians from his homeland for this first stamp collection for the South African Post Office including Miriam Makeba, pictured, who is largely recognized for helping bring African music off the continent to an eager global audience.
To create the digital etchings, he started by roughly sketching a pencil drawing using a photograph for inspiration. "You start with a pencil drawing and then I would take them to Photoshop and do a rough, tonal drawing over it."
Miriam Makeba – "The temptation is to work into every bit of visual information on the page. So where you find blacks in the finished product, the temptation is to put grays there. It's a challenge because it's a matter of less is more," says the artist who has been enthusiastically drawing since he was a young boy.
"The eye solves the puzzle. You have separate pen lines, but if you step back, they form a face. It's an interesting tightrope to walk when you always need to dial it back."
Simon Nkabinde – Of the portraits he's done, Gericke says his representation of Simon Nkabinde -- the mbaqanga singer famous for his "groaning" style -- is his favorite.
"It was such an easy one to do -- it was perfectly lit in terms of the stage light on the back of the head and the hard light on the face," he explains.
Spokes Mashiyane – Gericke is nothing if not a perfectionist and it's clear through the way he describes his work that he's constantly looking for ways he can improve his craft. Another particular favorite of his in this series is that of Spokes Mashinani, the master pennywhistle player who rose to prominence in the 1950s, pictured, and Kippie Moeketsi, a saxophonist from the 1920's jazz scene.
"They are nicely balanced between the heavy blacks and the spatial highlights coming out," he says.
Brenda Fassie – Another singer represented in this collection of stamps is Brenda Fassie, the outspoken and larger-than-life singer best known for her Afro-pop tunes.
"I am a massive music fan and it was an honor to represent these people," Gericke says fondly.
"To have these people acknowledged is very comforting. That they are going back and saying [these are] people who made a difference. You had all these township musicians who culturally weren't regarded by the powers that be. But music doesn't care. Music will be made regardless and it's so good that they are acknowledged after all this time."
Johannes Kerkorrel – Gericke says that his depiction of Johannes Kokkherol had particular emotional resonance for him.
"He formed part of a cultural movement called Voëlvry which means (in Afrikaans) 'Free as a bird.' It was a group of Afrikaans musicians who were speaking out against the state and no one did that..."
He adds: "These guys were Afrikaans guys saying 'You know what, to hell with this, we are going to follow our conscience.' And I have enormous respect for that because I know what the culture can be like in terms of rejecting someone who doesn't tow that line ... they risked jail time, they risked all kinds of things by objecting to the powers that be."