Is it just me, or has it occured to anyone else that our Mail Art is getting more and more sophisticated?

When I joined IUOMA 15 months ago, Mail Art seemed to be relatively simple -- that is partly why I dived into it. 

But just a few months later it has become much more complex (and complicated), and, dare I say it?, much more 'professional'.

To my way of thinking there has been an explosion -- a very sophisticated explosion at that -- of images, themes, approaches, subjects, media, techniques, etc. Without meaning to insult y'all, I now realise that what first seemed to me to be a bunch of weird and wonderful artistic loonies (you) is instead a bunch of weird and wonderful very talented artistic genuises (you, again).

The Blogs of Mail Art received reflect this very well, as do the Photos posted.

Much of what I receive daily (but not what I send!) strikes me as being of museum or gallery quality. It's such a shame that so very little of it will ever be seen in a museum or gallery. Indeed the very volume* of Mail Art generated by IUOMA alone makes this impossible.

A last observation. It's instructive to follow the artistic development of new IUOMA members. Many of them start with quite simple forms of Mail Art, and then all of a sudden, and in a relatively short time, Bang! they are producing top quality stuff.

Any views you have on this willl be greatfully received.

Liberté, Egalité et Art Postal!


* (I count things. This year I have received 507 pieces from IUOMA people, and sent out 560 -- plus contributions to 60+ Mail Art Exhbitions, projects, etc. Multiply that out, make the necessary statistical corrections, for 2100+ IUOMA members, and you have an incredible volume of Mail Art. How much of it ever gets seen by more than the recipient? Almost none, I suspect.)

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I am fascinated by all the art I exchange with "friends" and "non friends" alike; but I am always at a loss when people use a sudonym on this site....I try new things all the time; and allot of times I am insecure and worry what everyone will think; but I do it under my own name in all it's GLORY - accepted or not...

I agree with Jen Staggs, in that the progression is confidence as well as the good comments and acceptance everyone on IUOMA is generous with.

I took me a while to accept that not everyone bloggs your work, but there is a continual mail art exchange...

I have allot of artists I look up to; all different styles, and they inspire me to just do it (as Nike says), there is always another piece of paper, more trash for collage, and paint.... 


Yes, here we are, a year later still talking. I agree with all of this and take such heart that these are the beliefs held. From the newest (myself) to the elders ( Val, DeVillo et al) I always hope that people receive my work in the spirit it's sent. Humor to lift the day or a chuckle to interrupt the gloom. Anything to stop the flow of crap I get and enter the world far from me. The real 'art world 'to me comes in my small metal mail box not in the fabulous museums I go to and the pill box women/men who attend. I feel terrible that I don't post the true art I receive but I hate computers (what an excuse) and try to send thanks through the mail instead but not always timely.

Bonjour Mesdames!

Lois: thanks for rekindling interest in this -- I'd almost forgotten that I started this Discussion what seems a long while ago. My 2012 Mail Art sent and received figures were very close to yours' -- 543 pieces sent, and 532 received. About 10 a week. As you say, it's not 'instant', and in fact as I hav some other artistic interests on the go at the moment, I'm slightly slowing down by Mail Art activities.

Amy: I got really upset at the end oflast year about people hiding behind other names (sometimes more than one at the same time) and not revealing who they were. There were some examples of on-line bullying carried on beind these guises, and some people left IUOMA. MomKat advised me to keep my cool, and I did. One consequence of this is that there are some people here who I have nothing to do with at all. But the other, say, 95% of folks are just great. I don't blog what I receive, because I treat each piece as a confidential (cf Jen) communication from, say, you to me. But I send everyone a personal thank you note both to acknowledge receipt and to express my thanks. As you say, people's styles are so very different. I used to worry that my Mail Art was of a much lower quality than that which I received, but don't any more. I do my thing (cf Nike!) and they do theirs', and long may it stay that way.

Nadine: whey up, lass, I ain't all that much of an 'elder' (come over and party some time?) and have only been in IUOMA for 3 and a bit years. My artistic world is a mixture of the 'real' and the 'mail', and I divide my time amongst them depending on what's going on. Many of the 'real' artists in my part of France are unbelievable poseurs, pseuds, charlatans, etc. I go to vernissages/openings as much to observe them as the art. I, too, hate computers -- and anything with a screen like a TV, phone, cinema, etc -- and try and spend as little time in possible in front of one...even though I spent 16 years working for a computer company (but fortunately I was corporate, and so could avoid the darned things). Art is better, much better, than ICT in any of its manifestations, and when I am President of the World I will ban the Internet.

Valentine Mark Herman wrote:

> ... My 2012 Mail Art sent and received figures were very close to yours' -- 543 pieces sent, and 532 received.  ...

Oops.  I MEANT to show that I was quoting YOU with that figure. 

(I guess the convention of using "> " before a line to denote quoting someone is not used here.  Sorry about that.)

MY 2012 mailing was about 30.  Maybe I'll do more next year.

I'd love to call for another "Cat" mailing, but am too embarrassed by my late response last time.  **sigh**   Maybe in a few years I'll try it again.

-- Lois Richter, P.O. Box 7, Davis CA 95617-0007 USA

Dear Lois,

This may help you assuage your feelings of guilt about your 'Cat' project.

Last summer I organised an international Mail Art Envelope Exhibition called 'Summer in Sigean' (the village in France where I live). I received about 550 envelopes, half from France and mostly local, the other half international. There was no way that I could reply to all the international contributors (not the least because I had 5 other exhibitions running during that summer). So what I did was to take photos of all of the envelopes as they were displayed on big panels in the local Médiatheque/Library, and post them here on My Photos. Everyone could see their envelope -- if they looked hard enough.

It seems that there are a number of ways to 'acknowledge' contributions to a project --i) blog them, ii) produce some sort of catalogue, iii) do something like what I did, iv) write evryone a personal thankyou.  All you have to do is to provide something that says 'Thanks! Here's your Cat contribution!'.

So GO for another project.

AND contribute to mine, please. It's called 'L'art de la carte postale' ('Post card art': it sounds much better in French), and, sometime during the summer you'll see all (nb more than one!) the postcards that you sent me on displa.

Good luck!





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