Many of you would laugh to see me sitting here on my sofa, typing this blog, SURROUNDED by mail art in layers and piles on every remaining inch of the upholstery that my butt is not taking up. I wanted to make sure that I had it all nearby as I tried to describe it. I am having to use Nancy Bell Scott's recent invention of the "Blog Jam," which is, I think, an iteration of a tool used by Cheryl Penn in the past, and undoubtedly by others who've been overwhelmed by the blessing of mail art in our lives. Not wanting to COMPLETELY infringe on Nancy's copyright, I have added my own--somewhat less classy (moins classé?? declasser??) moniker, though I don't want anyone to think that it implies any sort of regurgitation of the facts... These are all first-person impressions and musing on some fantastic received mail art...
First up, because I loved it, and because it visually describes a state of mind to which I am wholy sympathetic and empathetic, is Jack's self protrait: Fluxus Identity. I think it perfectly illustrates the state of having MAIL ART ON THE BRAIN ALL THE TIME:
Jack [of Cascadia Artpost]--fellow Seattle-ite!!--also included some of his amazing artistamps on the reverse side of the piece, that depicted similar self portraits.
Hope she won't think that I'm sticking my neck out to pay a compliment--because it's always WELL DESERVED, but Svenja Wahl (Germany) sent a fly-by postcard that gave me a BIG smile. "Don't ask," she says on the card back... "I just thought of you while making this one!!"
(GET IT??... "Sticking my NECK OUT??? Somebody send me a laugh track, or a new joke writer; I'm dyin' here!!)
Eduardo Cardosa (Portugal) sent a surprise mailing with LOTS of goodies included. The envelope said "Strange Matter; Anomaly; Paranormal" but it's hard to intimidate a mail artist fanatic with an insatiable appetite for opening sealed envelopes.
So open it I did; and was not disappointed:Eduardo is a member of the Trashpo group, and I'd put some of this squarely in that category. But he's also a master of embellishing his art with a distinctive personal style: the confluence of collage element images and words/numbers; sigilistic line drawings; the overlay of color medium--which I think is often multiple layers of crayon rubbings over various textures (a beautiful art in and of itself--evoking death masks, memorials, and remembrances/souvenirs. I used to be fascinated by the people who would make the long journeys into the hidden valleys and wilderness of my native state of Vermont, who came all the way to search out our ancient, colonial-era graveyards, and do rubbings of the elaborate carved gravestones as momentos of their ancestors.)
There was also a piece of cerealism that would've made DVS jealous--just about the size of an ATC, in Portugese: "8 Vitaminas! Ferro e Cálcio! Cerais Integrais!"
Karin Greenwood (South Africa) sent a response to a recent GOTIJ mailing I sent out. The envelope was beautifully stamped/printed with a fuscia-colored handmade design. The card inside had a print of Karin's iconic figures/angels. This one included some [rather] asemic writing in the background, and HAND-PAINTED wings with a paint I have never experienced before... the paint shimmered like opals, or like a hologram in rainbow colors. HOLY COW! Never have I seen such a paint. Obviously, Karin has a secret alchemist paint supplier!!
Newish IUOMA member, Sarah Churchill (South Wales), sent a hand-sketched postcard from her recent holiday in Scotland. LOVED that souvenir of your trip, Sarah! I let her know that some of my fondest memories of travel were those times that I devoted some effort to either sketch or journal the experience--memories for a lifetime really. So how honored I am for you to have shared and sent a little piece of your trip to my mailbox--and for me to vicariously daydream about!
Do you know what my first thought was when I saw this sketch? ..I thought you were sending me a sketch from the famous lake in Arthur Ransome's children's classic series Swallows and Amazons! It's no secret that this series is one of my favorite reading experiences from my childhood, and the island in the background could totally be taken for Wildcat Island from the books!
...and the boats look surprisingly like a familiar dinghy from the series:
But the lake from the Swallows and Amazons series is in eastern England... not so near the Scottish lake region that Sarah was visiting. It so happens by another coincidence that plans have been unfolding for a holiday of my own later this year, and Sarah was kind enough to provide some suggestions for sights and regions to see in Scotland. I will now have to add those suggestions to my research...
I'll hope to do some sketching and journaling of my own when that time comes--hopefully inspiring some great mail in the aftermath!!
Finally, I was the lucky recipient of the latest edition of Ryosuke Cohen's (Japan) Braincell #822. GOTIJ Goat Cheese is now officially famous! (In yellow in the lower right-ish corner...) A great edition!
Thanks to one and all of you great artists!
More blogging gratitude to come...