Mail art is art created specifically to be sent through the mail. I've participated in shows where a painted, embellished, addressed and sufficiently postage stamped men's shoe came through the mail. I've gotten a stuffed toy with an address tag around its neck and postage...somewhere. Since I began rubber stamping in the 1980s, I have loved mail art, not knowing at first that it had a name, but knowing it gave me pleasure to fill the envelopes in which I paid my bills with images and words.
The first two samples are drawn on corrugated cardboard and colored with soft-lead color pencils, my favorite medium. Sent as postcards, they have the address and message - and postage - on the back.
Below is an illustrated, regular greeting card-size envelope. Since the whole of the front is filled, simply turn it over putting the postage and address on the flap side. Problem solved.
The final two photos are of pieces sent to a mail art exhibition which were then auctioned to raise money. There will be another show this year, Postmarked 2013 for the Claremont Forum's Prison Library Project. The requirement was that the art, address and stamps all be on one side. The sock puppet is done on corrugated cardboard. The yellow bunny, my alter ego and profile picture in a smaller size, was cut from heavy watercolor board, a front and a back, which I glued together around the outside edge. On his back, the bunny has a backpack with a flap that can be opened and contains a message to whoever won him in the auction. You can see he is more than a foot tall and very sturdy. Both also colored with color pencil.
Please come back tomorrow for a companion post about rubber stamping.
(All images copyright Marylinn Kelly)