Mail is a way to communicate, to connect with others that is tactile; you can feel it, see it, hold it. Art is a means by which people communicate & connect through unique expression. Mail + Art = a way to communicate & connect with others through your own unique expression! It is being & having very imaginative & creative pen pals!
Mail art is exactly as it sounds; art sent through the mail. It’s a whimsical world where art is not critically judged or over thought, rather it is celebrated & cherished for it’s playful nature & it’s intention to make connections that are beyond one’s own back door.
The making of the art itself is a therapeutic process; taking time with yourself to think, imagine, & create! It is an art method where you are free to be less critical of yourself & participate purely for the fun of it. The possibilities are only slightly limited. There are mail restrictions for what can & can’t be sent through the mail. But, you would be surprised at what does get through! There are those that have used impressive problem solving skills to get around what are typically viewed as strict postal rules & regulations. Just another benefit to stretching those creative brain muscles; regularly exercising one’s creative toolbox leads to innovative problem solving skills & ideas!
Another benefit of mail art is getting something in the mail that is not a bill or advertisement but is a treat! It is a nice communicative reprieve these days with most correspondence being via the internet or text!
Mail art exemplifies that anyone can be an artist. It just takes a glue stick, found materials, an address & a stamp! Those that practice mail art range from someone who has never done art to someone that has shown their work in galleries. It can be as simple as mailing out pieces to friends or you can be part of a mail art call! Mail art calls are put out frequently by people who are forming a mail art show where your art will be displayed. To get started you could submit your mail art for my husband’s (Noah Scalin’s) upcoming Skull Appreciation Day Show in Philly at the Mutter Museum. You’ve got some time, the deadline is May 28, 2012.
Art is not an intangible skill but rather an act of sharing your creation with others as a means to connect. You send your mail art out into the world & those that are as equally enthusiastic about correspondence send it back as an exchange! It is a lovely expression between those that are passionate about connecting – it gives art wings to fly!
I dedicate today’s blog post to my mother in love (a.k.a. mother in law), Mim Golub, as she is the inspiration. She is part of the International Union of Mail Artists & has a very interesting page that you should check out! The picture above is piece #286 from her Make Something 365 Day Project, where she did a piece of mail art each day. She writes “Mail art #286 makes me laugh. I used the back end of an illustration of a prehistoric fish that lived back when Jamestown was settled (1607-ish.) My comment had to do with the residents thinking this was something from M. Melies studio, like a big hot air balloon”.