Previously I wrote about the influence that postage stamps and the stamp collections I inherited from my grandparents influenced me aesthetically. Most of the stamps I got from my grandparents were in plate blocks and full sheets (from my Grandma) or individual stamps mounted in old stamp albums (from my Grandpa), but I also got the above envelope front from my Grandpa's international correspondence. Instead of soaking off the stamps and adding them to my collection, I kept the front of the envelope intact, so that one can see the return address, the postal markings, and the postage stamp all in their native context.
Of course the piece has sentimental value. It's addressed to my late grandfather to his job at Purdue University, which is also my Alma mater. But it also had a distinctive influence on me aesthetically, an embryonic influence that didn't reveal itself until I started making mail art. I love the hand in which the letter is addressed. The "PAR AVION" and "EKSPRES" postal stamps, and the way the postage stamps are arranged across the space. It speaks of a care in communication and expression that I aspire to. And the number of times I used this piece of paper to explore distant places in my imagination must surely find itself in all of the collage and mail art pieces I create.