Friday, September 26, 2014

My Favorite Mail-Art Creation

At this point I’ve been making mail-art projects for around four years. I’m not sure if that’s entirely accurate, more like three…more than three. When look back at some of the images online I can see things that stretch back to 2011 which feels about right. During most of that time I’ve been doing the same thing pretty much over and over again. Sure there was a time at the start of my involvement with the network where I did terrible / awful / things that I’m not embarrassed about, but things I think are simply bad.
My most recent creations have been the mail-art books, both collaborative and mine solely. I’ve really enjoyed doing these. Currently I have four or five floating out in the world, who knows if any of them will actually come back to me or not. Two of them I’m trying to flesh by myself. One of those is working well, and the other I’ve hit a wall on. Maybe I’ll see if someone wants to work on this last one with me.
There’s no real pattern to this rant, I’m sitting in the library hoping my students are doing assignment that’s due later today.
Wait; there was a point to all of this. Last week I posted a selection of images, all that other people had scanned and thankfully posted to their blogs, Facebook, or IUOMA directly. When this happens, I actually see what I’ve sent out; otherwise they just disappear into nothing. It’s nice to giveaway all of your work, that way you’re always moving forward, making new things and not looking back. The terrible things go out into the world just like the not so terrible things, the great things even. Sometimes I get sad when something I’m truly proud of never appears online again. That isn’t the case with the attached image, one that I posted last “image dump” time around, but now I’m reposting. I consider this to be the very best thing I’ve done. Considering the thousands of times I’ve made these cards, I think this is feet, both that I can see a difference in the cards and that I actually have a favorite.
This is my favorite, the one…”the dude” and I sent it to Los Angeles. I wish I would have sent it somewhere nicer, somewhere with street parking and a culture. What makes this one my favorite is the mixing of things. There’s so much to this one, and it’s the standard postcard size. It’s amazing that I was able to fit in so much detail into something so small. There’s color, there’s texture, and most important of all, there’s movement. I really like the movement in certain works and this has a little bit of that. The paper / stickers / tape are positioned in a way that keeps the composition from being monotonous…there’s enough to engage the eye and more than enough to keep the eye moving through the card. I’ll never make anything this good again and I doubt I’ll ever be able to make something like this much larger. I want to work larger.
Also, I know the origin of most of these things. I like finding things. I like collecting things. I like the process of searching for a little nugget to thrown into a completely different context. Maybe this is why Four Tet’s Rounds and Everything Ecstatic records are some important to me? Looking at the card I see circular tape from The Scrap Exchange in Durham, old magazines probably from the consignment shop in Lexington, multiple kinds of tape from the dollar store in Thomasville, bingo markers from the Dollar Tree, and red photo tape from the Habitat Store in Lexington. Although it seems trivial, the process of this little cards creation was difficult and long. This one is my favorite.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Mail Art Children's Books

I can’t enough of making these collaborative books. Actually, two of these are going to be collaborative books while the third still is in limbo. All three of these, as well as the one I sent out last week, are made from repurposed children’s books. The thickness of the cardboard pages are perfect and I particularly like the irregular shapes of the books. It’s easy to find some of these baby spit drenched books formed like dinosaurs or states or something equally random. I love making work from these even if looking through them at a thrift store is kind of unsettling. Either the people standing around me think I have a child or I’m just some creep buying children’s books. Once someone asked me if I had a kid and I didn’t help my case with my creepy, “I don’t think so.”
I’ve got these three going right now, and I still have two floating out there somewhere. Well, I know where they’re at but they haven’t come home just yet. I’m not complaining, just excited to see the great work my collaborators have done. I’d like to do more of these even if the return rate bothers me some…there’s a lot to filling up one of these so it logistically can take months and months. The two that are still floating around went out before the start of the summer, around late spring.
One of the additions, if you’re actually keeping score at home, is the use of paint in my work. Since I know nothing about making art, never had any training, never an art history class…nothing, everything I do I have to discover on my own. For some reason adding paint to my creations wasn’t in the cards, I simply didn’t do it even though paint is the most obvious art making tool.
So yeah, I’ve kind of gotten the bug even though I’m not interested in doing much more than adding texture and movement to the work. I like how the paint goes in its own direction, taking over or smashing into other things. I like the haphazard nature of filling up a page with color and then slamming the book down flat. I wait a while and then pull apart the stuck images. One side melds with the next of if the paint has dried enough, pulls off one side onto the next. It’s a great thing for random collisions and ridiculous accidents. I think this will stick for a little while. For a while I’ll put down the tape (not really) and pick up the cheapest brush I can find.

Monday, September 1, 2014

Mail Art Starter Packets

At the end of this month I’m doing a short presentation about mail-art at my school. The main angle is the international connection. Although I haven’t put together the presentation I have put together a bunch of starter packets. My hope is that people will take the packages filled with random bits of paper and stickers, and then mail out to someone. Who knows I that’ll happen but it’s my hope.

Made With Susanna Lakner

The work resting on what looks like a very comfortable couch. I made the faces on the right and sent them as postcards.   A few m...