Monday, August 10, 2009
evolving into a global mail artist
My fairly recent discovery of the global community of mail artists has had an enormous impact on the way I think of etegami. Wikipedia has this definition of mail art: Mail art is art which uses the postal system as a medium. The term mail art can refer to an individual message, the medium through which it is sent, or an artistic genre. Mail art is also known as postal art and is sometimes referred to as Correspondence/Mail Art (CMA).
This may or may not be a sufficient definition of Mail Art. One site I came across further specified that the artwork must be visible to the people handling the mail on its way to being delivered. In other words, it's not Mail Art unless the mailman can see it. Art on postcards, such as etegami, qualifies (as long as it's not enclosed in an envelope), but art on the envelope itself also qualifies.
Though I think of myself as primarily an etegami artist, the astounding variety of styles and approaches towards mail art around the world has been a wonderful stimulus to my work. The images I posted above are of an etegami I am submitting to a mail art exhibit on the theme of The Sea. The drawing on the top is a porcupinefish (harisenbon) in repose. The drawing below it is the same fish in defense mode. This is the first time I've drawn on both sides of the card. Drawing on the side where the address goes is a little tricky, but it was a cool experiment, and I think I'll do it a lot more from now on.