Thank you to everyone who has supported my posting of the 45 degrees mail art.  The theme of this piece is US global domination. 

I did not think about the work as being a 'fan' as so many people have suggested. Yet, how wonderful it is to explore the many and varied ways people see objects.  I am grateful for all the inspiration and information my work and its controversy has generated. 

I thought I should share the story of this work with everyone as art for me is also about storytelling.

  On one side of the piece there is an igloo [Sun/fire and Ice] with two copies of the Statue of Liberty, one large and one small. These represent a couple of things, the inner and outer worlds and the many pitfalls of consciousness; anger, fears, domination and destruction. The bricks represent human invention and its fragility.   I am a committed environmentalist and the igloo suggests the melting of polar ice through climate change and the rampant destruction of  indigenous peoples, all attributable, in my view, to mass consumerism and largely due to industrialisation, a US global culture and domination. 

On the other side of the igloo is a collage I call 45 degrees. Taken together, the igloo and 45 degrees are the fire and ice in the cosmos and combined worldly universalism.   45 degrees has an acid green background, smoke clouds and skeletal flying fish.  All of this was inspired by the 45 degrees of heat and bushfires we in Australia have recently experienced.  The fish are out of water and struggling for life.  In hindsight I should probably have written some commentary on the work, but it was rather spontaneous and visual. 

The shapes used are common in my daily work as a psychotherapist.  I teach and practice mindfulness and I and my groups often draw mandalas as a form of mental focus and meditation.  These elements are a big part of my life and my environment.

I love being a member of IUOMA I feel it has helped me to explore new ideas in my own work as well as being open to other genres.  My small gallery in Gippsland now houses outsider art, asemic writing, visual poetry, pictographs and much more.  My role as an educator has been expanded and every day my life grows richer. I feel very blessed.  Thank you.

The work described is going to ArtEver in Portugal. I hope it brings as much pleasure there as it has to me in creating it.

Chris James.

Views: 270


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Comment by Dr Chris James on January 25, 2014 at 9:24pm

Good idea!

Comment by Valentine Mark Herman on January 25, 2014 at 8:56pm

There's a REAL Revolution currently ongoing in Europe -- in the Ukraine.

Look at Aleninskyi Kostiantyn's page. He is calling for solidarity from artists and support for the Ukrainian people.

Perhaps this Discussion could continue in that direction and help a fellow Mail Artist?

Comment by Dr Chris James on January 22, 2014 at 9:03pm

Actually Marx did write considerably on the environment. 

As for indigenous people, post colonialism has seen a number of indigenous groups adopting a neo-Marxist [as opposed to a classical Marxist] discourse on the basis of the division of labour.  

I am not saying that everything Marx wrote was correct or even relevant to today's global economy. However, I think you would be hard pressed to find a better analysis of capitalism.

Comment by Dr Chris James on January 22, 2014 at 8:10pm

It wasn't my aim to convince you of anything.  We as individuals have to take responsibility for our own views; I have merely expressed mine.

Comment by Dr Chris James on January 22, 2014 at 3:04am


Thank you Val. Good rational thinking!   Wasn't it the British sociologist Stuart Hall who said if you want to change society you have to change the culture?  And, Herbert Marcuse who said the seed of every revolution is sown in the previous one?  Or words to that effect.   I was a great fan of Marcuse and in particular his reading of Freud’s Civilisation and its Discontents.  I did my share of demonstrating across Europe with activist friends in France and Italy, but my love of art and literature also attracted great mentors into my life, for which I am very thankful.

 In the 1960s I was working for the film producer Sam Spiegel in his London office of Horizon Pictures.  My job description involved delivering documents to various people, getting signatures, running errands and drinking coffee in Bond Street with bored would-be models and actors.  At the time I was also a political activist and probably well placed to cause trouble.

However, during this amazing period I met and became friends with a white Russian living in Earls Court whose name was Baroness Moura Budberg.  She read film scripts and wrote the synopses for potential movie productions.  She was a great writer and political analyst and the one time mistress of Maxim Gorky so the conversation was always full of her experiences in politics and with interesting people.  The friendship started because I was wanting to move to the USSR [Russia].  It was the thing to do in those days; every activist was heading for Cuba or Russia.    In hindsight I think I was a bit fearful because during my holidays I had been travelling to France and Spain with a white Russian boyfriend who said he was a tourism guide, but who was also carrying contraband.   We had been stopped at the Dover border and I was convinced someone was watching us.  Most activists had to be a bit paranoid.

 It was also a time of immense political intrigue, youthful folly and wild imaginings. In London the tabloids were full of stories about the Christine Keeler and John Profumo affair; it was a spying scandal that rocked the British government.  Profumo and my boss were friends and the Horizon Pictures company was preparing to shoot Nicholas and Alexandra in Moscow.  The office was a flurry of exchanges between east and west.  In the 1960s the switch boards were plug-in and you could open the lines and listen to conversations.  I wasn’t on the switchboard, but I was in the room.  It increased the feelings of risk.  There was some irony too, my boss had a chauffer called Keeler and with my name being Christine, you can guess the content of office jokes every time Keeler and I had to work together.     

They were good times, but they were destined to end unless one wanted to be caught in the crossfire. At least that’s how it felt.   I didn’t have a luxury yacht to escape to and living the ‘high life’ wasn’t really the same as it appeared in the James Bond movies.  My one room flat behind the American Embassy was going up for sale so I had to leave.  I was about to spend a weekend in Rome with my friend when the Red brigade were threatening to kidnap the Children of wealthy Italians. At the same time splinter groups were talking of bombings. What started out as a desire to join the peace movement and create a better world was taking a different turn.  It was time to move on.

Comment by Valentine Mark Herman on January 21, 2014 at 4:20pm

Where was I in (May) 1968?

Occupying the administrative buildings at the University of Essex, England, and considering going to Paris...very seriously considering going to Paris. BUT my final exams were just 3 weeks away, so I didn't go.

(Cries offstage of 'Sell out! ' Cop out', 'Traitor!' etc)

Just think, had I gone I could have met Daniel Cohn-Bendit at the barricades.

When I did get to meet him it was at a research Institute in Vienna in 2010, and he was leader of the Green MEPs in the European Parliament

(Cries offstage of 'Sell out! ' Cop out', 'Traitor!' etc)It's not that I wish to avoid debating the state of the world from my very own Maoist-Trotskyist-Leninist-Marxist-Luxembourgist-Fidelist etc revisionist, restructuralist, revolutionary, etc perspective, but I'd rather focus on Mail Art -- which is why I am here, not at the barricades, well, a protest march in France of which there are several these days.

(Cries offstage of 'Sell out! ' Cop out', 'Traitor!' etc)Liberté, Egalité et Arte Postale!

Comment by Katerina Nikoltsou (MomKat) on January 21, 2014 at 12:58pm

Excellent commentary, Dr. Chris! 'would love to see this discussion continue with Val's political/personal statement. After all, we all know that:

o άνθρωπος είναι "ζώον πολιτικόν"


hmmm, who was that Greek who said that?

Right, this fella:

Aristotle Altemps Inv8575.jpg


(Not an original sculpture by MomKat )

Comment by xx Jones on January 21, 2014 at 10:43am

Chris, I like your political statement. 

Comment by Dr Chris James on January 21, 2014 at 9:01am

Damn!  I was hoping for the lengthy political discourse. Ha!  Where were you in 1968?   You are not going to try to tell me that Mail Art is NOT political are you?  "No" of course not otherwise you wouldn't  be asking for more explanations to go with my work.  BEWARE! They are likely to be political, psychoanalytical or environmental and maybe -if you're lucky - with a touch of Continental Philosophy. How will you not be inspired  to debate the state of the world.  

Comment by Valentine Mark Herman on January 21, 2014 at 5:03am

Thanks for the lengthy political comment and personal statement, Chris.

As a one-time Professor of Political Science I was tempted to write a lengthy reply, but ...hey! that 'one time' is not now. Now I aspire to be a (Mail) Artist, and so I will focus on the original 45 degree piece: I liked it when you first posted it. And I like it now.

More, please! With explanations, too, please, because they add extra 'levels of meaning and understanding' to your work.


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