This is the next part of our ‘Beyond the Pen’ guest series on Ink Nouveau. This week’s guest is Julie from Okami-Whatever. Be sure to check out her blog at Whatever ~Brian Goulet
Mail art is a worldwide cultural movement that began in the early 1960s and involves sending visual art (but also music, sound art, poetry, etc.) through the international postal system. Mail Art is also known as Postal Art or Correspondence Art. The term networking is often used to describe Mail Art activities, based on the principles of barter and equal one-to-one collaboration.
After a peak in popularity in the late 1980s and early 1990s, the Mail Art phenomenon has gradually migrated to the Internet, whose “social networks” were largely anticipated and predicted by the interactive processes of postal collaborations. Nevertheless, Mail Art is still practiced in the new Millennium by a loose planetary community involving thousands of mailartists from the most varied backgrounds.
“Out of the reasonable assumption that the commercial gallery system is limited and perhaps corrupt, many artists emerging in the 1970s and 1980s around the world decided it would be more feasible to exhibit their work not through galleries and ancillary museums but through the postal system, especially if they lived in areas where galleries and other artists were scarce. For the production of imagery, they drew often upon xerography (photocopying) and the earlier technology of rubber stamps. They would also announce exhibitions in venues previously devoid of art, such as city halls in remote parts of the world, ideally accepting everything submitted and issuing a catalog with names, usually accompanied by addresses and selected reproductions. While such work had little impact upon commercial galleries (and the “art magazines” dependent upon galleries’ ads), one result was a thriving alternative culture, calling itself “The Eternal Network”, as intensely interested in itself as serious artists have always been.
There are blogs (MailArt365) and bloggers and groups (IUOMA) devoted to mailart. Not withstanding the above, many of us use this medium as a creative outlet (at least this is the case for me) and a way to connect with others.
Mediums are everything from fabric to paper, paint to ink, collage, photos, one mail artist is even mailing his grandparents’ china. If you can put a stamp on it and the post office will accept it, you can mail it.
Here are some examples of my mailart: (the first and third use fountain pen ink)
Blogs: Whatever and Whatever Artsy Stuff