So I just joined but I really don;t know how to start or what is acceptable to mail.  I have artwork that I would like to send on 6x6 and 8x8 canvas boards but where can I go so send my artwork?  Do I send to strangers, friends, family, etc?  

Please give me some insight.  I did check out the "New to IUOMA" page; while it was helpful, I still feel a bit lost.

Any advice or tips??

Thanks!!

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Start with sending something for a specific project. That is always a good way to start and mostly the project has a specific subject for you to work on.

Although canvas board is perfectly acceptable as a medium for mail art, you may put some thought into whether you would like to do other styles as well. For me personally, I find the canvas boards to be a bit more on the expensive side -- I think they need to go as a "package," at least here in the states. There are softer surfaces you can use that won't count as mailing a package. In fact, you can buy just plain canvas, unstretched, and paint on that and send out pieces of a painting either inside an envelope (I've done this) or on the outside, as a kind of envelope (this I've not tried yet) -- some people, including Ruud who has already responded, like to paint on paper envelopes, which is another approach. So in sum, there's nothing wrong with sending canvas boards, but they will get pricey quickly from what my own personal experience tells me.

As fo who to send to, I got started on a group project and I found that worked pretty well for me. Mine was Mail Art 365, but I don't know if they still exist.

I started by looking around the site a lot, favouriting pictures of mail artists and commenting on posts it soon became obvious  who I wanted to send my first 10 altered postcards to. You may find that some profiles aren't active and so may not be doing mail art currently. You can just send someone a message or send them a friend invite. 

This is one thing the group projects are good for as well, you can ask around in the group and people can tell you who is and is not actively sending mail because they just got mail or haven't received anything in X months from them, when going between group members.

I don't know, are there any group projects that are more generic that are running around? I know there's the ATC group, but something more generic than that?

Oh yes groups and mail art calls.

Send me something, the contents of your wastebaskets if you like, I'd be happy. I'll reply one day.

Of course it feels better to send to people that appreciate your work, so friends and family might or might not be a good choice; people who have an account here most probably appreciate your work. I hope.

And Mail Art 365 is still on, I started on February 16th this year. Sending 365 canvas boards though might indeed get pretty pricey in the long run...

Concerning sending to those who will without a doubt dig your work, I know plenty of folks I've met here who send things out to disrupt people's lives more than to soothe and comfort . I'm not saying one approach is better than the other, and there are certainly folks coming from both camps.

Human Artist Vending Machine I remember was sending to corporations for a while there.

That is true too. I've been wanting to send something to museums and galleries, but did not have the guts yet!

Wow... some great responses!  So it does look like some profiles have physical addresses.  Is it cool to send anyone here "out of the blue"?  

Also, thanks for all the friend requests!

There are no real official rules to how to mail art. Just use your own personal style mixed with a little bit of common sense and you'll do fine.

Yes, you can. And also once you "befriend" someone, you might get to see their address in their profile. You can ask beforehand of course, but it's fun to send things as a surprise too. Mostly people send something in return, sometimes it takes a while, sometimes it's very quick. You can take a guess from who is currently active on the ning site. Don't be disappointed if you don't get anything back, or not for a long time, but in my experience I got a reply to probably 95% of my mail eventually. I used to send a lot in my first couple of years, now I am much more slow. 

Another tip is, to blog the mail you have received here. It is motivating to see the receiver appreciating your mail and putting the effort into posting it, if you have the time. That might entice people into sending you stuff out of the blue! I used to blog everything, but now I just don't have the time, and have a huge backlog. As others have said there are no real rules (except to be kind and respectful), sometimes people send crazy stuff! Don't worry at all!

I started sending to mail art calls, then I looked through the groups and joined the ones that interested me.  I started sending art to the people who were active in the groups, that way I knew they were still active in mail art.  (Shameless plug inserted here: Feel free to join my group, A Year of Art Journals.)  I also watched the main page on this site because it shows the activity for this site, that's another way to see who is still active.

Of course I can't speak for everyone, but I think for the most part, mail artists like to receive surprises in the mail.  I would just pick someone who you know is currently active and send them something.  Sometimes you'll get something in return right away, sometimes it will take a while, and there are times when you simply won't.  

I agree with everyone else about the canvas boards.  If you're sending a lot of mail art it might get pricey, but it may not seem pricey to you.  You might be my new rich friend.  hahahahaha...  Yesterday, I bought a pad of 140 lb watercolor paper.  I'm going to cut it into 5x7 inch and send post card style.  Maybe something like watercolor paper would suit your needs.  They used to sell canvas paper; I don't know if they still do.  Anyway, just a couple of suggestions.

Like Moan Lisa said, there are no official rules.  

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