You Guys Ever Mail Stuff You Don't Like?

One of the fun things about sending out items you hate is they go away. This seems obvious, but it’s also a nice freedom about mailing everything you make. Currently I have a stockpile of about 12-15 larger items and that’s all I have of my work. At this point I’ve probably sent 500 or 600 smaller postcards. Sometimes I get images of that work back, and other times they just disappear. This is just part of the process. I’m sure many of the things I’ve received from far greater artists were hard to put in the mail.

In the case of these two larger cards, I’m completely happy to see them go. I don’t like them. I even wrote on the back that I didn’t like them. Don’t remember who I sent them to at this point…just the next in the list. I used a nice layer of ripped stickers to my usual routine, which felt like a good idea but ended up being a pretty bad one. From there I ripped a few more things and added to the top, but what’s made them terrible is the bright tape I put over the front. At first I was like, “Sure, why not…let’s add some tape…let’s be adventurous.” I did it and immediately regretted the decision. It was easy to drop these in the mailbox. I was happy to see them go. Maybe the two folks that receive these will enjoy them or at least find something like they about them. Oh well, next time!

Not sure who I mailed these items to. Let me know what you think!

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Comment by De Villo Sloan on March 1, 2013 at 6:07pm

Ruud said what I was trying to say. 

Ruud - just picked up a beautiful hand-painted envelope from you at the PO. Many thanks.

Comment by Nancy Bell Scott on March 1, 2013 at 4:58pm

So interesting and thought-provoking, you guys. Almost all of it makes sense to me, is that scary or not?

The thing is, Blessed Father, the number of ways to carry out your art/mailart is infinite, a truth for everyone. A lot of us here have exchanged mail art with some of those greats you mention, and some you haven't mentioned. But personally I get just as much out of totally different methods or styles of complete unknowns. The variety is so delightful and educational. It seems a little sad if one can't appreciate that, but maybe this was just a onetime instance for you.

Comment by Ruud Janssen on March 1, 2013 at 4:54pm

Your network is not the same as my network.

Yet, we believe that we are both in that same network because we communicate about the network.

Everybody has his/her own and very specific network

So there are thousands of unique networks


Comment by De Villo Sloan on March 1, 2013 at 4:46pm

& that's what I consider "The Physics of the Network." It's this sort of organic process that is very unlike other cultural mechanisms. If there ever was an individual - The Architect, as they say - it was an act of genius. Was it Ray? I suspect it escaped him quickly, if his role was ever really that significant. But where it came from really? Something I ponder.

Comment by De Villo Sloan on March 1, 2013 at 4:32pm

BF - Ruud Janssen posted a comment last week that relates to what you are saying. He wrote about each mail-artist having a personal or individual network. That really made me think.

"The Network" is made of thousands of individual networks overlapping, if that's not too cosmic. As individuals, I do not believe it is possible to form exchange and friendship relations with every IUOMA let along the thousands of others who are not IUOMA members but are part of the network. You don't find everyone's work compelling and inspiring enough to form a lasting relationship. And then there are always new people to meet and new relations to form.

We naturally form personal networks with others we have an affinity with. So there is a kind of natural self-selection process going on constantly. You prefer work by certain people & you enjoy sending to them. Others, you're not so into it. Live and let live. The exchanges never happen or fade away. It's not a matter of exclusion because in a larger sense we are all connected. Yet there is the element of personal preference. Surely everyone must have a core network, and probably that is the important thing for the individual.

So it is an evolutionary process. I imagine you'll form a core individual network.

Comment by David Stafford on March 1, 2013 at 4:19pm

I send stuff out that I'm not always 100% satisfied with but I try to make one side of the card (and I usually send cards) palatable to my own aesthetic standards. If neither side is that great I put it aside. Having said that I'm quite aware that artists are not always the best judge of what's "good." I guess one of my standards is: have I put my artistic shoulder to the wheel or have I explored some idea or technique I set out to? The results don't have to be perfect but they do have to reflect the effort. On the other hand, as I have said elsewhere, 90% of my so-called art is dependent on "seeing" the happy accidents, catching them as it were, before they fall into the trash can. In a way, this is the essence of my thinking about art: it should be about opening our eyes. When I leave a museum and I catch myself staring at the rusty variegated patterns in a diamond plate grate in the sidewalk I know the art has moved me to notice things, patterns, stains, light and shadow. What's the use of that beyond making ugliness more tolerable? Well, if you extend it to people, ideas and whatever else you come across it can open up doors that by my own nature I would normally keep shut. The doors of perception: we can't open them too wide without risking blissmania but if they're shut the room can start to smell rank and profitless. I can't really tell if I'm babbling or saying something here. And that is completely normal for me.

Comment by The Blessed Father on March 1, 2013 at 3:57pm

I enjoy getting all mail but there is a difference between what I save and what gets tossed. After EZ, Oh Boy, etc, etc, well, what can I say. BF 

Comment by Rebecca Guyver on March 1, 2013 at 3:54pm

I think of my MA and other as inhabiting different silos but both nurture each other and spillover. For me MA tends to work out as more experimental but also idea driven in a different way. Sometimes I send stuff that, lIke Jon says, has been laboured over but it may not be executed the way I want it executed or it's vapid or I've simply tried too hard, whatever.  While some artists burn their work and present a clean process as their genius, I like to share and show my messy stuff.  My painting and drawing blog is full of stuff I look at and wince at...  I know that I am messy and have lots of failed thinking and badly executed stuff - I am clearly no genius, but to me that's interesting.  My husband showed me a funny article today and it seems slightly relevant

I really like this conversation.  I think it's insightful and provocative.

Comment by The Blessed Father on March 1, 2013 at 3:45pm

Wow!!! Did I stir up some shit or what, I'm not judging what people mail but expressing what I 

enjoy receiving. After receiving mail from the greats, I guess I expect more, Nancy, google EZ Smith

and You'll see what I mean. EZ is a photographer and did a photo essay on the hugh umbrellas on the Grapevine.  He made 100, signed and numbered books, the cover of which was made from the material

from the umbrella. WOW, it's hard to beat shit like that, I guess I expect more. I'm not being judgemental,

but expressing what I enjoy.  BF 

Comment by De Villo Sloan on March 1, 2013 at 3:21pm

& it's really curious to me people are associating their art with time and labour. I mean, that's cool. Anything that gives you meaning and purpose. But I'm lazy - I equate art with play & being effortless. I don't think that makes me a mail-art slacker. I don't mean people need to think like me. I don't equate art with labour. 


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