Mail Art Primer

The concept is very simple. Mail art is any type of creative work that can be mailed through th epost office. Of course, this includes decorated envelopes and pouches as basics and quickly becomes more elaborate. The last mail art I received ( a plastic bottle filled with tiny collage items including several decorative pens and clip art) came unscathed through the US postal service without a word of discouragement from the postman. This piece of mail art had been slit and the items arranged inside carefully. Then the slit was securely closed by a mailing label. Don’t think you have to push the contents in through that tiny hole. Now that would be a pain.

A typical addition to mail art is a faux postage stamp, one you have collaged, drawn, painted, etc. (more on that in a future post). A word of warning though. Do not attempt to defraud the PO by using your stamp instead of legitimate stamps. Use both stamps. The faux stamp can be placed anywhere on the mail art, except in the corner where real stamps belong.

I recommend taking your mail art to the post office to get it weighed for the correct amount of postage. It’s also a trip to see the reaction of the postal worker when you hand over your mail art for inspection.

You can send mail art in a swap, to friends or to a complete stranger. Do not accept money for your work. That’s against the ethics of the art. Mail art is usually quick and can sometimes be done in an assembly line. Most importantly, mail art is fun.

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