Friday, April 19, 2013

A Summer Mail Art Zine

It wasn’t two weeks ago when I decided to put together a zine for the summer. It was a quick thought, a whim at best. Since I’m not doing any extensive traveling this summer I decided to do a lot of work. Lots of classes and lots of projects. Not only am I doing the mail art zine but I’m going to do one with movies, watching one from each year starting in 1925 and ending…later.
For the mail art zine I solicited some help from the network, made a layout for the thing, then mailed them out to those that said they wanted one. The whole process took maybe a week from conceptualization to dropping them in the mail. One of the people in Ireland just wrote me to say he had received his “golden ticket” as I called them. The world really is a magical place.
Above are both the front and the back of the card. I went with a red and black theme, can you tell? I couldn’t resist using a stamp with my face on it.
Here is the instructions card made with government paper and ink. I wanted this to be a somewhat punk rock mail art zine, so I’m going to roll with no color on this one to keep costs down considering that I have to mail these back overseas. Hopefully people will stay with the “no color” thing because it’s not going to show up. Everyone gets a sticker from me, and they’re always moderately stupefying. I have no idea what this is supposed to mean?
Now I have the big question of whether or not to post what I receive as I receive them? Should I show everyone what I’m getting and spoil the surprise or just have the zine as the sweetener? Since everything has moved rather quickly in both the analog and the digital world, I’m not too sure how I should approach this. Not only is this project dependent on the technology but it’s dependent on updated but tried and true mail art networking. I shall ask some people that know stuff.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Sent to Montana

Only every once in a while will I do one of those “add and pass” items, or an all call. I never know what to do with add and pass and all calls generally have too many rules. If I send to an all call it has to be an open submission type. I don’t get these ridiculous themed all calls like your artwork needs to be two inches by two inches, it has to be purple, and you have to send it from the Bahamas. If there are no rules and no theme, I almost always send something, if I actually see it out there-they seem to be somewhat rare.
No idea where I saw this one, but I liked the idea. I’m into states. Basically you fill in Montana with something. I went with a tape collage, a short story, and a smart-ass response. The smart ass response is obvious where I fit North Carolina into Montana. I thought it was funny, but I could see where someone would get a little annoyed. I’m a big NC guy, I rep my set, so I thought I needed to do that even when participating in a mail art event in one of our least populated states. Thankfully I found the images on their blog that showcases all of the entries. It really is a great project and he seems to have tons of things posted, all of which are better than what I did.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

NOSTRILS Comment Cards

When I did the first Nostrils record I put a postcard into the packaging. On the back of the card I wrote something like “Send Song Comments.” For all of the American Nostrils comment postcards I made sure to include a stamp. I figured no one would actually return the free thing that I spent a lot of time on, if they had to play 29 cents for a stamp. Even with sending the card pre-stamped, I only received 13 back. I mailed out or gave out or dropped in a mailbox, 50 CD’s each with a card inside. Somehow I have forgotten to post the images of all the comment postcards I sent out. Here are all of those cards. Also, I’m doing this again for the next record.

Friday, April 5, 2013

From Carina Granlund (Finland)

I feel compelled to post everything that Carina sends me. Her work is just amazing. The colors are great, the variety of her work is staggering, and it all has a “worked” aesthetic. Often mail artists will send things that took little time, and that’s completely ok…often great. I don’t feel that’s Carina’s way. In her work I can imagine her stepping back from the workbench, looking at the items, put something down or erase something…coming back to it over and over again. Everything she sends feels like there’s a process, a real artist at work, someone who knows what they’re doing who carefully examines their creations.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Bigger Thangs

Sometime last week I realized that I’d been sending out way too much mail-art. I guess that’s not a real thing, but I wasn’t getting much back, and when this happens I decide to work on other things. I’ve sent well over one hundred things this year, and it’s only the beginning of April. It feels like I’m trying to stay ahead of the days, and do the Mail 365 thing without really trying. If that’s the case, I don’t have to send out any small cards until the middle of April.
So yeah, I decided to go away from the smaller items and work with the larger. Initially I started doing this with the intentions of showing them to some people, not to mail them. I’ve heard three different groups of people promise a show or something like that, but none of them has come through. At this point I have around twelve or fifteen items collected in a folder. They’re just sitting there, waiting…waiting for something to happen. Actually it doesn’t really matter if anything happens because they’re the only tangible proof that I make things. I’m sure that I’ll get annoyed with having them around and I’ll send them out to folks, but until that point, they’re just resting.
These two items are a product of that same process. Well, they’re pretty much like the rest except these are slightly larger, I think they’re both 11 x 15. The other ones are the next size down for watercolor paper. I use that paper just in case I decide to cut them up and mail them out. Maybe I’ll do that, hmmm? Just for clarification, the sparse images are just the back of the collage. It seems like a waste to have all that white space and not actually use it. Every single time I make these bigger pieces, I do something on the back, just fun for fun.
In all actuality, I don’t really like these two. One is just a free for all of images, no real pattern, just a splash of color and vintage images. It’s what I do, but it’s not anything arresting. The other I tried to pay around with some stickers to give it a better feel, but it only ended up looking like a construction barrel on the side of the road at night. It’s just too much, too much color, too much bright! Oh well, not all can succeed and not that any others do, but this one seems more like a glaring failure than others. It will go to the pile with the others. Who knows what will become of them?

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Mail Art Music / A New Nostrils EP

I’m not exactly sure if this counts as mail art or not? I mailed the work…so I guess it does count. What we have here is an EP by my “band,” Nostrils. It’s basically a way for me to put together sound and act like a musician, a musician without any technical knowledge about music. I can’t tell one not from the other and I don’t know a single chord on any instrument. I approach making music like I approach mail-art, as an outsider interested in making my noise and nothing else. Punk roc, fuck it, DIY, sort of thing!!!
All of the songs that I write are supposed to be silly, or at least the ones I put out to the public. Every song is a one-liner improvised. Never once have I written any lyrics down, I just go for it. When I do the tape and rip method, I go for a similar aesthetic-rarely is there a plan. For the songs, I do write down some ideas, maybe a word or two, but the preparation is minimal. I guess this is like my constant hunt for odd images to make my collages from? One person has been more than supportive of Nostrils, and that’s Tucker. His enthusiasm, considering everyone else’s lack of enthusiasm, is staggering. I once walked up to him and he started singing a song back to me, like it was an actually a tuneful song.
I wanted to honor Tucker by making a few songs just about him, so that’s what I did. I ended up with one intro speaking piece, and five very short songs about the man. The whole thing came to six and a half minutes. It would have been longer, but I didn’t know all that much about the man. I wrote songs about his height, his haircut, and especially his love of soccer. The soccer song I thought was quite amazing. I packed the whole thing up and sent it to his home. Of course the packaging I spent a little time one, collecting items from here and there. I guess this last part is what makes it a mail-art item.
Anyway, I wanted to share this project with everyone. I’m going to post the MP3’s as soon as I can find a spare hour or two.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Sent to xx Jones (Austria)

The lovely Austrian mail-artist xx Jones must have seen Susanna’s post where she placed something I sent her on a shelf and took a picture, and did the same. xx and I bonded over a bit of honest sincerity, at which point she asked me if I’d like to see a similar thing happen. She took a picture of the card I’d sent to her Austrian home. Just writing that is fun for me….I can’t get over that excited feeling of mail-art. The idea of making something and mailing across the world and someone actually happy to receive it-I’ve written this down many times before, but it still hasn’t properly sunken in. This image is proof that these things really do travel around the world and for less than a twenty ounce soft drink. Thanks for posting xx!

Thoughts on the Summer Makings Process

I’ve been productive this summer. Normally I wake up around eight o’clock and put on the coffee. I watch twenty minutes of online videos,...