Art 2,3,4, Independent Study – Mail art – Due 3/14


1. At the following site, read up to and including “Philosophy and Norms in the Mail Art community”

Mail Art – Wikipedia overview

2. Look at the summary of the history and context and then click on the  projects page and then the gallery page and list what you think are the 3 most interesting themes.

Mail Art website – Germany

3. List what you find to be the 3 most interesting themes at this site.

Postcard Collective

4. Explore the following site and see if you want to enter their call for entries by the 21st.

Mail me Art

5.Explore the postcard exchange by Art Therapy Without Borders and comment on the use of a postcard exchange for networking and healing. Describe your favorite postcard and explain why you like it.

Art Therapy Without Borders international postcard project

6. The following is a description of the movie about Ray Johnson that was mentioned in the sites above.

If the movie sounds interesting to you, you may want to watch it on youtube or netflix download.  It’s a very interesting documentary about the artist and art world.

Ray Johnson – How to Draw a Bunny


11 responses »

  1. I thought “Earworm” (which encouraged senders to create art based on a song that easily became stuck in one’s mind) was an interesting concept; it reminded me of the music in motion project. I thought “Life Views” was also interesting because it would allow the receiver to view the artistic interpretations of many different lives. I also liked the theme “Roses”; it would be really neat to receive a bunch of art cards portraying roses because there would be such a wide range of styles, colors, shapes, sizes, and mediums. Someone could then compile all of the cards and create an image of one massive bouquet. On the next site, I loved the postcard that was a watercolor map with embroidery thread and stitches superimposed on the image to create a border and to mark the traveled paths. I also liked the postcard of the plants growing from a person’s hand to form a heart as well as the postcard showing a swirling abstraction (possibly in acrylic or encaustics). On the art therapy website, I really liked the postcard showing the collage heart. I appreciated the creative way the artist forms the composition (including her use of sewing) and I also liked the color combination, which gave off a sense of calm. I also really liked Carry Sullens’ postcard, which portrays a combination of flowers, birds, words, and a pencil. The composition is very innovative and I love the use of different mediums.

    • That’s a great idea to have a project that results from the return of the mail art like a rose bouquet! And, you may want to try stitching as an element – it’s fun to see what can travel through the mail. Remind me to show you the notebooks of previous mail art sent by classes in years past.

  2. -mailing lists can be used to send out mail art to multiple people at the same time.
    -I like the fact that EVERYONE can be a mail artist, that everyone can create a piece of art on something as simple and common as an envelope.
    -It is interesting to me that the mail art is not only for artists to understand–like some modern art, instead, everyone can appreciate and enjoy it.
    Under the theme of life&death: all of the post cards have apple stamps on them.We assume that apple represents life and death (Like in the fairy-tale of snow white).
    Yimei and Sedem like the theme of collection from summer 2012
    And we like the theme of “32”, well designed!We might be interested in joining once we finish our project and see if it’s qualified.

  3. Three interesting themes: 1. Otto von Bismark. Funny that they chose a relatively obscure historical figure to art about.2. Paisley. I think paisley is really ugly. 3. Women’s issues. Important subject, and the art that they show is interesting.

    Three interesting themes: 1. Life and Death. 2. Accidental Discoveries. 3. 32. I love the idea of a number being a theme.

    I like the postcard by Shelley Fredrick. It shows a toddler painting with some frogs and two smaller women. It looks like collage to me. I’m not sure why I like it, but I’m generally drawn to collage to maybe that’s why. I like how the grown-ups are smaller than the toddler and the frogs.

  4. I thought three interesting themes were the tendency for the art to focus on topics like thought and communication. I liked the simple way the cards were constructed, like easy to reproduce line drawings with depth and though. I thought at the post card collective the interesting themes were mainly in the construction and emotion conveyed through the work, primarily working in black and white, very simply art, and yet it was able to convey certain emotion extremely well. I like the consistency in style, and how different cards played off each other, you can tell it is a collaboration, not just a lone artist. I looked over the site and I am totally interested in sending something in. I looked at the ATWB and I really liked the postcards centered around disaster relief, they were very thoughtful and the thought put into them was very cool. I liked the description of the movie “How to Draw a Bunny”, and I am interested in watching it.

  5. Themes:
    – Reinvention
    – Art is our Vehicle
    – Angels and Demons

    More themes:
    – Words rather than images
    – Surrealist qualities in everyday imagery
    – Three dimensional work

    Post Cards:
    I really love Jacqui Probert’s postcard ( It’s really simple but engaging. It doesn’t lack enough detail for such a small piece, but it also isn’t so detailed that you get lost in the techniques.

    I’d really like to watch How to Draw a Bunny. Insight into an artist or the art world is always interesting to me.

  6. I like the idea of bringing other people into the artwork, it’s kind of like the artistic equivalent of a team sport. I also like that it doesn’t take years of study to produce and understand it, it’s much more reachable. It would also be an interesting way to discern the opinion of a group of people, for instance you’d send something out to a list of people, going from person to person about a certain topic, and from the final result you could gauge the general consensus. As for themes, “Alien” interests me the most, surprising no one. Not only because it involves aliens, but because aliens by definition can be anything except something you know, so there’s originality guaranteed. Then there’s “moon,” because you can branch from that in many directions, the lunar cycle, the isolation of the moon, and, of course, the legendary little green men. Not to mention how aesthetically pleasing the project would be. I also like “one for me, one for you,” where the two recipients send each other small gifts. It’s hard to see the works clearly because for whatever reason, the site refuses to let me zoom in, but my favorites are the one where the hand is holding the moon, the archer shooting a cloud, and the sapling in the otherwise unkempt backyard. I like Scott Tevelation’s bees, both the way they look, the composition, the crosshatching technique, the visual appeal of the wings veins.

  7. I like the “Moon” theme, because it would give different perspectives on something that is seen in the same way all around the world. The “Alien Life” theme is interesting because of how weird it would be, and I just think the submissions would be really eccentric. I like the “Oldest” theme because it would inspire people to really search and learn more about the items they own. On the Postcard Collective site, I liked the “Accidental Discoveries” theme, because it lends itself to odd discoveries, but it also has non-physical postcards, which are interesting. The “32” theme was really cool because of how it was interpreted in so many different ways, and so many were really creative. The “New” theme was also interesting because to me, many of the things didn’t seem particularly new, but they would to the artist. On the Art Therapy website, I liked Stacy Sheer’s postcard of a person on a bridge. It was pretty simple but I liked the warm colors and the contrast of isolation between the composition and the coloring.

  8. Three themes that come up in mail art that I find interesting are: the emphasis on mixed media, the sentiment that anyone can be an artist as long as they can find a mail box, and the sense of collaboration. I like the theme “Temporality, mortality and impermanence” because it is such a broad and complicated theme, and everyone will have a different interpretation of it. The pieces will all be really different, but connected, and that’s pretty much the philosophy of mail art in general. I am interested in participating in the Postcard Collective because it sounds like an organized and rewarding experience. I wonder whether you send in the art to them, or to a specific address of another artist. Does the same artist send you a postcard back? Are you allowed to add things to their mail art? For the art therapy site, I looked at their art therapy and autism page. I was disappointed that there was only one piece there, because I think that’s a really great theme to put together. All the other ones are great, too, but that one I think would be a particularly moving exhibit if it was ever shown.

  9. In these art websites there are numerous themes that come to mind as absolutely brilliant as well as peacefully radiant throughout the set of paintings. In the painting set, Mail Art, different stamp artists are compared for their numerous paintings that depict the former ideals of American life – family orientation, rustic living, a rural mindset, and honest service. All of these artists attempted to divulge themselves of their American idealism by placing the physical representations of those ideals into their artistry and their letter designs. In addition to the designs on paper letters, the artists also cover the designs for the thousands of stamps that have been utilized by the United States Postal Service, as well as intensely collected over many decades by thousands of stamp enthusiasts. For example, many of the stamp designs are quite different from the mail letter designs, because the stamp designs simply have far less room for artists to paint a full picture or a full ideal onto a small square inch piece of sticky paper.

  10. Three interesting themes on Germany website:

    a) Women’s issues
    b) Body parts (heart, vagina)
    c) The alphabet

    Three interesting themes on The Postcard Collective (I REALLY like all of these):

    a) Accidental discoveries
    b) 32
    c) Newness

    Art Therapy Without Borders is an excellent idea. My twin brother has CP, and art has helped him in so many ways. I like “Cat in Edinburgh”

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