RECEIVED: Asemics Sue Goes Trashpo? More Mail-Art D-Konstruction (Norfolk, Virginia, USA)

Mail-art by IUOMA member Prettylily (Norfolk, Virginia, USA)


September 29, 2011 - Prettylily (aka Sue Bowen) has become a good mail-art friend, a bond that was strengthened through her steadfast involvement in the Asemics 16 collaborative book project.


Serving on the Asemic High Council, she and Skybridge Studios (Indiana, USA) at times even had to weigh in on the hard calls: Are those chicken scratchings on that board from Bolivia asemic writing? And should we devote an edition to asemic chicken scratchings? At times, it got that strange. But seriously... 


Sue is incredibly talented in many areas of art. She recently sent me the gorgeous piece above that departs from her asemic triumphs. To me, the foundation of this clever vispo is the text weave, pioneered by Tina Festa (Italy) and my Asemics 16 partner Cheryl Penn (South Africa). Yet the price/item tag belies another burgeoning mail-art genre identified by Sue on the reverse side:


Yes! Sue goes Trashpo - the first piece I have received from her. And how can one utter or type Trashpo without invoking mail-art legend Diane Keys (Elgin, Illinois, USA), who has taken a fairly obscure concept created by Jim Leftwich (Virginia, USA) and turned it into an eternal network phenom?


The DK influence is here, perhaps best revealed in the subdued, Rust Belt washout color choices. Sue Bowen chooses a broken-grid structure and, perhaps, in this played-down repetitiveness echoes DK's remarkable ability to demolish (or D-Konstruct) structure entirely to create a work that might be considered pure content or the triumph of chaos and disorganization over any sort of order. For a point of comparison, here is a newly discovered piece by Diane Keys entitled "Discount art through fog":


Discount Art as Seen Through Fog

(Mail-art by Diane Keys (Illinois, USA)

Join the D-KULT today and get a broken D-Kcoder ring


Sue Bowen's approach is different but she brilliantly captures the Trashpo aesthetic (I think). The language fragments work as Trashpo also. The difference between Sue and DK: (1) Sue's work doesn't have that gooey sticky coating DK puts on her mail-art and (2) I was not stuck with postage due.


Recycling is also part of the Trashpo phenom. Not long ago Sue Bowen sent me some material she identifies as recycling. I think it is very nice:


She included a very nice note on the reverse side:



I am building an extensive Sue Bowen collection, and I am thrilled to have some of her Trashpo work.


Sue, I'm not as prolific as many mail-artists. It has been all I can do these past months to keep pace with Asemics 16. Soon I plan to start sending out non-project-related work, and of course you are high on the list. Many thanks for the work you are sending!

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Comment by De Villo Sloan on October 1, 2011 at 12:06am
Hi Sue, and I received your other kind message. I'm glad you are back in action. Yes, the recycling is a nice add-on to the Trashpo manifesto. I think this work you sent was fairly tasteful Trashpo. I'm thinking of you and will send something along - as I said - when I'm a bit more clear of Asemics 16. It's a labor of love but was fairly intense. I do appreciate all you did and continue to do for that project.
Comment by prettylily on September 30, 2011 at 5:28pm

Thanks for the blog, DVS.  I'm just one of those people that can not waste a scrap.  The really great thing about Trashpo is that one can make Trashpo mail art out of most anything.  BTW, feel free to de-construct or recycle anything I send, into whatever strikes your fancy.  Who needs trash barges when we can turn perfectly good trash into treasure?  And along the way help keep the postal system afloat.  Maybe DK has stumbled across a significant fix for some of our world environmental and economic issues.  We will just keep bouncing the trash across the globe via the mail and pay for the priviledge.  And love it when when our mail box over floweth with mail from our friends. 


It is kind of nice to be making mail art again.  Even if it is trashy.  What can I say????  Not everyone can see the beauty in a piece of used paper.  I feel lucky to see it.  Now and then I do have to revert to the other types of art, but Trashpo has a special place in my heart.  Waste not-want not.  Thanks to you all!

Comment by De Villo Sloan on September 29, 2011 at 8:12pm

Hi DK, I was hoping you'd check in on this one. PL definitely uses green duct tape, and that is T-Po material (not a Ty-Po). Following another trend you started, she and others seem to be putting price tags on the Trashpo, and I think that's great commentary on the commodification of art. BTW, your "Discount art through fog" is a really nice piece and addresses all these issues. To me, the bottom piece is vispo because I like that disordered work with stamps. These days, I'm never sure if I'm supposed to recycle it into something else. I'd like to.


Hi Cheryl, Asemics 16 has been an incredible project. I miss it already but a break in the additions does allow a chance to catch up on other things.

Comment by DKeys on September 29, 2011 at 7:36pm
This is a great blog DVS--Sue's bargain Trashpo is classic-given the masking tape and what looks to be bits of duct tape. The black and white tape reminds me of police tape, which makes me think of a crime scene. The only crime here is that YOU got this piece and I didn't!!  I would definately pay 1.98 for this piece and more. You should definately list this on ebay DVS. I really like the recycling piece--that would be considered vispo right?
Comment by cheryl penn on September 29, 2011 at 5:34pm
Dear Hard Paced - great blog - great work - from both artists - just as well there's an asemicbreak coming up? Time for you to catch your breath :-) X


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