Mail Art is one of the most welcoming and vibrant art communities in the world. It took off in the 1960s, with a whimsical esthetic as varied as the artists who practice it. Collage lends itself well to the spontaneous attitude that Mail Art encourages. That’s not to say Mail Art is always flip or lighthearted, it has been used as a form of protest and as a way for people to shout their darkest secrets. For a few years the gallery I ran, The Trunk Space, did an annual mail art show / fundraiser. We got lots of amazing, clever, and weird (I remember a bag of carrots and a bowling ball one year) art from all over the globe. The funds were turned into micro-grants for local artists.
Following the first Kolajfest I asked to take part in Luellen Joy Miller-Giera’s (Planet Collage) 2019 group show Playing With A Full Deck at the Vogt Visual Art Center in IL. Miller-Giera gave me and other artists her trademarked Kit-Kards containing a playing card and other interesting visual scraps to reassemble as we saw fit. It was a huge show with lots of participants–excellent company.
This was my untitled piece…
This past month, I took part in a somewhat different mail art show, to benefit Oklahoma’s ARTSPACE at Untitled gallery. For this exhibit blank postcards were mailed out to volunteering artists, to be transformed and sent back, secure in an envelope, rather than directly stamped and posted. The pieces will be displayed in an exhibit “Postcard Perspectives” November through December and sold to raise funds for the artspace.
If you’re looking for a little motivation to make some new art, Mail Art shows make for a great excuse. They’re generally free to enter, not juried, you just have to be okay with (probably) not getting your work back. Typically, the pieces are held by the space after the show, or donated to an archive. Sometimes (as with ARTSPACE) the works are sold for fundraisers and the artist doesn’t receive a commission. Make sure you know what you’re signing up for before deciding to send art in.
Here’s some sites that post Calls for Mail Art:
There’s lots more if you look online.