Monday, September 30, 2013

In case you wondered about Mail Art

Mail art is art created specifically to be sent through the mail. I've participated in shows where a painted, embellished, addressed and sufficiently postage stamped men's shoe came through the mail. I've gotten a stuffed toy with an address tag around its neck and postage...somewhere.  Since I began rubber stamping in the 1980s, I have loved mail art, not knowing at first that it had a name, but knowing it gave me pleasure to fill the envelopes in which I paid my bills with images and words.

The first two samples are drawn on corrugated cardboard and colored with soft-lead color pencils, my favorite medium.  Sent as postcards, they have the address and message - and postage - on the back.

Below is an illustrated, regular greeting card-size envelope.  Since the whole of the front is filled, simply turn it over putting the postage and address on the flap side.  Problem solved.

The final two photos are of pieces sent to a mail art exhibition which were then auctioned to raise money.  There will be another show this year, Postmarked 2013 for the Claremont Forum's Prison Library Project. The requirement was that the art, address and stamps all be on one side.  The sock puppet is done on corrugated cardboard.  The yellow bunny, my alter ego and profile picture in a smaller size, was cut from heavy watercolor board, a front and a back, which I glued together around the outside edge.  On his back, the bunny has a backpack with a flap that can be opened and contains a message to whoever won him in the auction.  You can see he is more than a foot tall and very sturdy.  Both also colored with color pencil.
There are multiple sources of mail art inspiration - blogs such as Merissa Cherie (and the Happy Mail Project), plus the link for Postmarked 2012 at the project site above, and two grand books called GOOD MAIL DAY and MAIL ME ART.   You can also find many, many mail art advocates, ways to participate and things you didn't even know you wanted to learn by Googling "mail art" or "blogs about mail art" and don't let them send you to blogs about nail art, which they will try to do.

Please come back tomorrow for a companion post about rubber stamping.

(All images copyright Marylinn Kelly)


diane lewis said...

Hi Marylinn, Just returned from the post office where I left some odd little objects for mailing sans packaging. Hope they reach their destinations as I have recently had THREE pieces lost in the mail which is upsetting. Miss the *old days* of active mail art which I did for years and never lost one single thing. Enjoyed your mail art post and artwork. Always love reading your interesting blog. xoxo diane lewis

M said...

That little bunny is a treasure!!! Wish i could win him. I may enter this mail art thing too!

Marylinn Kelly said...

Diane - Thank you. Oh, phooey that three pieces were lost. I know in the old days that everything got through, I hope these are handled better. Can you imagine how discouraged postal workers are? My hope is our silliness makes their days better. Fingers crossed. xo

Marylinn Kelly said...

M - Then I will have to send another bunny for this year's auction, I think it will be my fourth. And you should enter. It is a very worthwhile fund-raiser and so much fun to be part of. Thanks for commenting. xo

verdigrisrose said...

Hello Marylinn,
Thanks for your visit to my clog, and your lovely comment, much appreciated.
Looking at your blog, I feel we are similar in our quirkiness.
Love your mail art post, its always fascinated me, and I have decorated a few parcels and envelopes, but this is a whole other!

Marylinn Kelly said...

Julia - Thank you. True mail art IS a whole new level. Mine runs more to decorating packages and envelopes, with the occasional oddly shaped thing. It is great fun to explore, very stimulating and inspiring. Quirkiness pretty much guaranteed here. Glad to have found your pages. xo