TIA 2005: Art from Ephemera (Mail Art and the Internet)
Text and Image Arts
School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
Fall 2007 - Spring 2009

Thursday, September 27, 2007

mail art and the internet

Here are some links to information available online about Mail Art:

mailart.org - a blog dedicated to the general mail art scene and open mail art calls; also home to the Small Art Project. I love their header/banner image.

Mailartist.com - Education and resources for mailart, ATC's, postcards, envelopes, and artistamps.

The Electronic Museum of Mail Art - their slogan is "the envelope is the museum." Looks like the person in charge of this site is Chuck Welch, who wrote or edited a couple of the books on our bibliography.

Nervousness.org - an online forum for the Mail Art community

And here are links to just a few Mail Art-related projects that are at least partially distributed on-line:

BOOK: Collaborative exhibition of a sketchbook shared by four artists from both sides of the Atlantic. I like the simplicity of the site, which really just documents the project, but the project definitely depended upon the international postal system to create a small network and communication system between the four artists. It's a great example to think about the transition from art practice (the sketchbook) to the mailbox and back to the white box (check out the exhibition page).

The Envelope Collective - an ongoing collaborative experiment in art that uses the transportation of mail as a medium. This one's both a document of past submissions while also using the Internet as an interactive tool in order to get additional examples.

Mail Art Postcard Exhibition - an exhibit of mail art postcards that uses Blogger as its platform. This is another open call so that you can participate! Some really nice examples for our first project.

Coffee Mail Art Project - A mail art project with the theme of coffee. I love this one because there are so many Mail Art sites and Mail Art projects; it's nice to find one with a theme or niche. And I love coffee...

Mail Art Projects - an interactive blog-based index/overview of Mail Art projects. Very meta.

Mail Interviews by Rudd Janssen, in blog format.

The Miniature Book Library - send in 5 miniature books and get four in return. Classic Mail Art model but using the Internet to disseminate the call.

The Poetry Postcard Project - a nice way to give form to your poetry, for any of you who may be writers as well as visual artists. Nice site design.

PostSecret - this guy solicits your secrets on postcards and posts whatever he receives that week each Sunday on this blog format. There are lots of similar projects on the web but I'm pretty sure this is one of the first to solicit secrets from strangers.

SpiralMail - While I enjoy the coffee theme of the project a few links above, on the other hand, I really like the openness of this one. Sometimes you have to try really hard to get folks to interact but sometimes something so simple can inspire communication and participation. Another project that uses the blog format.

Veronica Millon's cross-stiched envelopes. These make me so happy...I'm not even completely sure why. I applaud her for taking advantage of a pre-existing format like PictureTrail but I think the project deserves a site re-design! This is a great example of creating envelopes or postcards from unusual materials.

This is just a small smattering of examples. Many of these links have links to other sites and on-line projects and a search for Mail Art will give you tons of examples to look at.

Monday, September 24, 2007

love, mom.

i found this in my backyard when i moved in.

Mail Experiment

Found this website via StumbleUpon.com, thought it was relivant to our class:


At least the girlfriend got the letter!

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Saturday, September 22, 2007


This is not required reading, but here are some additional resources about and images of artists' stamps, if you're interested and/or looking for inspiration:

Robert Watts: The Complete Postage Stamp Sheets, 1961-1986, by John Held Jr.

Postal Modernism: Artists' Stamps and Stamp Images, by Peter Frank

Kunstterrorist Organisation - click on "see our stamp collection" for some interesting, politically-charged examples

an online gallery of artists' stamps

another online collection


This is the website we'll be using to have our custom postage stamps printed. The nice thing about Zazzle is they have three different sizes to choose from and many different postage denominations. So you can create a fairly large, 2 1/2 by 1 1/2 inch $.26 stamp for your postcards, for example. And the turn-around time is just 48 hours.

Take a few minutes to check out the site and create an account before we look at examples and do demos on Monday.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

This book belongs to...

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

There were more pages to this but I've only posted these 3

Monday, September 17, 2007

we are the institute

we live off-campus in a house that has constantly changed residents b/c it is rented out to college students mostly. as a result, we get a lot of mail intended for people who no longer live here.

however, though we just assume most of these previous tenants were college students like us, sometimes we get things that make us wonder what went on here in the past.

class blog assignment #2

This week, pay particular attention to the mail you receive. Scan an item, but keep in mind that you're putting this material in a public space. If you don't want your home address broadcasted to the World Wide Web, mark it out first. Or post the back of something. Or the front of a postcard. What's interesting about this is that we don't receive a lot of interesting mail anymore. But think about the relationship between junk mail and spam. Once you start paying attention, you'll probably find something.

Library Post-it

I work at the school library and over the years I have worked there, I have come across many a post-it scrawled with call numbers, titles, etc.

this is just one of the many found around the circ desk.

Hammer Block

front, back

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

stamps galore

this is the top i cut off of a package that my housemate's father sent me this summer. exact postage in stamps! and the complete chinese zodiac, too.

Monday, September 10, 2007


the 1st class blog assignment

Upload an image of ephemera, however you define that, personal or found. Save your comments for each other's posts. The idea here is to create a virtual setting similar to coming across a mysterious scrap of paper on the floor. What does that piece of paper tell you about itself? Is there any clue to a narrative attached to it? Does it seem like it might be a personal memory trigger for the person who posted it? Does it trigger memories of your own? How does the tangible translate to the digital/virtual?