Just wondering if anyone at the Art Colony is a mail artist like I am.  I've been involved in mail art for over 30 years now though I can't believe it's been that long.  It has been part of my life since the late 70's but with varying foci... sometimes it's postcards, sometimes it's ATCs and/or Artistamps, sometimes it's hosting mail art shows, sometimes it's via the postal service and lately, more and more people host calls which are electronic submission friendly.  

One of my main things over the years has been stamp carving and printmaking, something which originated in my first exposure to mail artists who carved erasers into stamps.  Nowadays, there are all kinds of materials to carve with and many more kinds of ink and other media for printing.  

If there are other mail artists in the group, I'd love to meet you and possibly trade mail art with you but, also, if there are any people who don't know about mail art or who haven't had the chance to participate in it yet, I'd love to meet you and trade with you as well. :D

If it's something which other people would be interested in, we could have a mail art call just for Art Colony members at some point.

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I used to do a lot of mailart! I created things called Decos where you mail them to a random "decoer" and they decorate a page, they mail it on to someone else and they decorate a page when they reach the end of the book they mail it back to the person who created the book. At the end you end up with a book with a piece of art from people all over the world! I still have some completed decos somewhere in my basement. I quit doing it as I started my business and could not find the time to go out to the PO and mail out etc.

Hi Janie!  Yes, those are fun.  I've done hundreds of those over the years.  lol  Sometimes they never come back to you but sometimes they come back after several years and are a great surprise in the mailbox.  I loved doing them because I felt free to just create something as soon as I'd see them instead of agonizing over it (like I sometimes did when planning a painting or drawing).  Because of all of the decos I did, I eventually got over the agonizing even when doing more 'serious' work (for lack of a better term!).  It freed the artist in me and now there's no way she's ever going back into hiding again. ;)

Hi Carla,

I bet people in the "ATC's Postcards - Twinchies - Inchies Group" would love to hear your mail art ideas:

http://community.art-is-fun.com/group/atcs

While most of the swaps in that group have been ATCs, they are branching out into other types of swaps such as ornaments, necklaces, pins, and postcards. I'm sure your mail art would fit in somewhere, as it fits into the idea of swapping

I am a member of the IUOMA (International Union of Mail Artists) and have been for about 3 years. I love mailart and have done a ton of it, but none lately...I love sending handmade postcards the most...

Yep, a lot of ATC folks are also mail artists.  One thing that many ATC swappers should know about mail art, though, is that there is not necessariliy any acknowledgement of receipt of artwork amongst mail artists and that there is no requirement (or even expectation at times) of something in return.  Mail art is better for that, though, in my opinion.  It is about the sending more than the receiving.  I think it makes people take more chances artistically and express themselves more freely than when in a swap.   I love swaps, too, obviously - I participate in them all the time!  But, I put on a different 'hat' when I'm swapping than when I'm doing mail art. 


Thaneeya McArdle said:

Hi Carla,

I bet people in the "ATC's Postcards - Twinchies - Inchies Group" would love to hear your mail art ideas:

http://community.art-is-fun.com/group/atcs

While most of the swaps in that group have been ATCs, they are branching out into other types of swaps such as ornaments, necklaces, pins, and postcards. I'm sure your mail art would fit in somewhere, as it fits into the idea of swapping

Hi Laura - found you on IUOMA.  I also love sending handmade cards.  Postcards are my favorite... there's something about the postcard which is miraculous.  They spread images throughout the world as they move through the postal services and are small but potent containers of personality. 


Laura Thykeson said:

I am a member of the IUOMA (International Union of Mail Artists) and have been for about 3 years. I love mailart and have done a ton of it, but none lately...I love sending handmade postcards the most...

I forgot to post a link to my last hosted mail art call - Year of the Golden Rabbit.  So, here it is! ;)

Year of the Golden Rabbit Mail Art Call 2012

Hi Carla, I am very interested in Mail Art. Can you please tell me how to get started and are there any rules in regard to size or media. Looking forward. Thanks Carla

Hi Sharon!

To get started, there are generally 3 rules in Mail Art.  1) No judging (everything which comes in response to a mail art call will be included and no one's art will be treated differently from anyone else's), 2) No returns, 3) Documentation (most often in the form of a list of names and addresses of participants to other participants).

Historically, Mail Art was as free of limitations as possible for the very fact that it was a reaction against the so-called 'art world' where competition and acceptance of one's work were the ugly and soul-destroying norm.  Mail Art was created to give artists a way of talking back to the art establishments like museums, art schools, and galleries and a way to value art for it's own sake rather than as an investment or trend.  For me, it was very appealing in that it was inclusive rather than exclusive, that there were no prizes or awards, that no exchange of money was involved, and that it meant artists from around the world could share their work with each other in spite of the art establishments' attempts to prioritize and monetize art.

I still like the freedom of the movement but there are lots of mail art calls, nowadays, which place specific limits on the type of art which is accepted, who can participate, and/or whether or not there is money exchanged.  A good example is ATCs.  They started out as mail art objects which couldn't be bought or sold but only traded.  As you know, now they have an additional incarnation - ACEOs, which are exactly the same as ATCs (must be 2.5 x 3.5 inches, etc) but can be bought and sold.  BTW, for anyone who doesn't know, ATCs are 'artists trading cards' and ACEOs are 'artists cards editions and originals'.

Anyway, the best way to get into Mail Art is to find a mail art call and participate in it.  At any given moment in time, there are dozens of calls in progress so you'd be spoiled for choice.  And, if there's nothing that speaks to you in any of the calls you find online or in the classified section of ARTWEEK, you can always host your own call by posting it where other mail artists will see it.

If you search the web for 'mail art calls', a lot of sites will come up.  The ones I have used include those by (in no particular order): IUOMA (International Union of Mail Artists) / Dragonfly Dream / Gandha Key / Kiyotei / Crosses.net / Planet Dada .  I've also posted calls in ARTWEEK in the classified section.  They used to be free but I'm not sure that's still the case.

You can also see some of the myriad ways people document mail art calls online searching on 'mail art docs' or 'mail art documentation'.  The only show I have documented online at the moment is:

Year of the Golden Rabbit (2011-12)

I am in the process of getting other shows I've hosted up and viewable again because they are more like what I usually do.  I'll post links here when they're back online. ;)

Last, but far from least, you could join the IUOMA (see above) and you'd find all kinds of mail art calls, docs, and info about different styles of mail art, etcetera.

Hope that's not more than you wanted to know!  ;)

This is very interesting, Carla.  I'm going to do more research and most likely participate.  Thank you for the links and information.  :-)

Thank you for all the info Carla.This goes on my list to of interesting things to investigate and perhaps join in. Thanks again.

Carla Cryptic said:

Hi Sharon!

To get started, there are generally 3 rules in Mail Art.  1) No judging (everything which comes in response to a mail art call will be included and no one's art will be treated differently from anyone else's), 2) No returns, 3) Documentation (most often in the form of a list of names and addresses of participants to other participants).

Historically, Mail Art was as free of limitations as possible for the very fact that it was a reaction against the so-called 'art world' where competition and acceptance of one's work were the ugly and soul-destroying norm.  Mail Art was created to give artists a way of talking back to the art establishments like museums, art schools, and galleries and a way to value art for it's own sake rather than as an investment or trend.  For me, it was very appealing in that it was inclusive rather than exclusive, that there were no prizes or awards, that no exchange of money was involved, and that it meant artists from around the world could share their work with each other in spite of the art establishments' attempts to prioritize and monetize art.

I still like the freedom of the movement but there are lots of mail art calls, nowadays, which place specific limits on the type of art which is accepted, who can participate, and/or whether or not there is money exchanged.  A good example is ATCs.  They started out as mail art objects which couldn't be bought or sold but only traded.  As you know, now they have an additional incarnation - ACEOs, which are exactly the same as ATCs (must be 2.5 x 3.5 inches, etc) but can be bought and sold.  BTW, for anyone who doesn't know, ATCs are 'artists trading cards' and ACEOs are 'artists cards editions and originals'.

Anyway, the best way to get into Mail Art is to find a mail art call and participate in it.  At any given moment in time, there are dozens of calls in progress so you'd be spoiled for choice.  And, if there's nothing that speaks to you in any of the calls you find online or in the classified section of ARTWEEK, you can always host your own call by posting it where other mail artists will see it.

If you search the web for 'mail art calls', a lot of sites will come up.  The ones I have used include those by (in no particular order): IUOMA (International Union of Mail Artists) / Dragonfly Dream / Gandha Key / Kiyotei / Crosses.net / Planet Dada .  I've also posted calls in ARTWEEK in the classified section.  They used to be free but I'm not sure that's still the case.

You can also see some of the myriad ways people document mail art calls online searching on 'mail art docs' or 'mail art documentation'.  The only show I have documented online at the moment is:

Year of the Golden Rabbit (2011-12)

I am in the process of getting other shows I've hosted up and viewable again because they are more like what I usually do.  I'll post links here when they're back online. ;)

Last, but far from least, you could join the IUOMA (see above) and you'd find all kinds of mail art calls, docs, and info about different styles of mail art, etcetera.

Hope that's not more than you wanted to know!  ;)

You're both very welcome! :D

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