|Photo from Ruud Janssen's blog iuoma.blogspot.com/|
Mail art itself has many faces, some many years old and some new kids on the block. There are those "old school" mail artists who send handmade post cards to random strangers with no return address...a gift with no expectation of reciprocation, who post mail art calls and those who answer them, then there is Fluxus and DaDa, and those like Ruud Jansen of TAM (Traveling Art Mail), and I.U.O.M.A. and Susanna Lakner of Planet Susannia, who have invested untold hours and expended huge amounts of energy to promote the idea of a global mail art community. Most of this kind of mail art was all about the art... there was usually no letter included.
New to mail art are those who have gone a step further than penpal letter writing to send mail that includes both an artistic or decorated envelope and a letter. Many blogs have sprung up to promote the art of letter writing and to share the beautiful and fun mail they get.
I have a foot in both worlds, old and new. I am happy for the opportunity to create mail for a call and to send mail to mail artists that I have known for many years only by their art and their mail art moniker. This mail is almost always just mail art, no letter. But I also love letter writing and making friends both here and overseas. Some of these pen friends write and create art, others just write. I am very glad to be able to participate in all things postal, artistic or just to correspond.
For the next few posts, I am going to talk about some "Old School" mail art people and projects and tell a little about mail art's history. So until next time I will see you in the mail!