Tuesday, February 27, 2018

I Have a PO BOX

Jon Wayne
PO Box 1045
Lexington NC 27293
USA

There’s no reason for me to start another outlet to send mail-art. Not that I send too much or too little, I just have too many things in the air at once. Right now I have a few collaborative projects going; I have regular correspondence, and things that I send to friends. Adding another avenue to my “makings” seems like a bad idea. Why not focus more on one of the other things instead. You know, finish a project or elaborate on an existing one.

1045 is well worn and handsome.
I’ve been thinking about setting up a PO Box for some time. There’s the usual worry of lunatics finding your address and sending you something they shouldn’t. Thankfully I haven’t had to worry about that, over the past six or seven years people have been respectful that I use my home address. Although it’s a worry, that’s not my main reason for setting up a PO Box. Over the years I’ve wanted to take risks in what I mail to people. I have no interest in disturbing or upsetting someone, but the anonymity would be nice. The surprise of mail-art isn’t there if someone already makes mail-art.
None of the post office boxes in my town were available, all of them had waitlists. I had to get a box out of town, near where I work, which isn’t half bad. The town on my PO Box is completely different from my home address, another layer of separation. I set things up online, filled out my form, and went in to claim my new address. I paid less than 90 dollars for 13 months. I got the smallest one. When the lady handed me the key she wrote detailed instructions about how to find my box. If I hadn’t mailed things with her before, I might have been annoyed. I didn’t use the directions just followed sequential order.
Handwritten directions to find my box.
I like the look of the boxes offices, classic. My box is in the location of my hometown post office, the first I remember going to as a kid. My mom would sometimes drop things off in the slots just to the right of where my current box lives. Since I work in the area, and mostly mail from that post office, I thought it wouldn’t be too much of a burden to drop in there every couple of weeks even though it’s over twenty miles from my house.

I wanted the first round of items to potentially be met with a response. I wanted a slightly higher chance that people could mail me something back. If people responded to me then maybe I could stay excited about the rather expensive project. To enlist people who might respond to me, I asked online friends who might want some mail. Pretty quickly I had a list of twenty people (none of which I knew) that I could mail. To add to the list I went online for random addresses. For some reason, I decided to send to both The White House and to a small art gallery in southern Texas. Oh yeah, I sent something to the MOMA as well. I ended up dropping the first round of unsolicited mail on Monday February 26th.

The first round of mail from the new address.
In the envelope I put an add and return in there, one of my four by four add and pass boxes, and a short description of the whole project. I went with two older projects to get things started, basically just changed the addresses on them. My alias is Jon Wayne, which I find to be both ridiculous and potentially part of my future “movements.” I’m going to send things in groups called “Movements.” Movement One is called “Randos.” For the second movement I’m going to mail to an apartment complex in Chicago. The idea was given to me by someone who travelled to Chicago and really liked that particular building.

In the future I’m going to make stickers and ask people to put them all over their town. The sticker will say to mail me something. I’ve also got an idea about mailing postcards to people about their day. You know the whole check “yes” or “no” sort of thing that people did in middle school? Maybe I’ll mail to famous people? I’m hoping for a 10% return rate.
Organization keeps the identity secret.

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