February 28, 2010

my REAL wall – February 28, 2010 – Excuses excuses

At the start of this month, I was invited by Sunnysidey to join the Unofficial Thing-a-day 2010.

Never one to turn down a challenge, I accepted and set about resurrecting everybody’s favourite miniature-Hero. Then, just for a laugh, I thought I would also enter the official Thing-day, and make a REAL wall every day for February.

What I had failed to take into account was the fact that I have a full-time job, hobbies and other commitments too, so after less than a month, I have to hold my hands up and confess, I had to let some of these slip. Well alright both of them.

mini-Andy lies still injured upstairs in the mezzanine floor with Tweet-twoo wondering when the next photoshoot is going to take place, and the backlog of postcards has been building up.

So here is my end of the month REAL wall for February, and my sincerest apologies to anyone who was expecting prolific creative output this month, coupled with my excuse list on the side.

It’s not a bad list of excuses though right…?

February 28, 2010

my REAL wall – 27 February 2010 – Welcome fish

Today, we decided to add 4 new additions to the house. After hours of deliberation we decided on some names and we’d like to introduce you to Stripey Fish (bottom left), Red Head (Top centre), Orange fish (bottom centre) and Spotty fish (hiding as usual – he’s very shy)

These lucky fish will have a rotating wallpaper of your postcards on the side of their fish tank to keep them company. This week Heleen from Holland will be keeping our fishy pals entertained with her pimped photo envelope showing her recent "visit" to see us at my REAL wall HQ!

Pimp my photos is a mailart call I have had out for a while. I have a load of photos that I printed out that I don’t do anything with. If you can help me make them look cool, send me your address and I’ll send you some photos in an envelope for you to pimp them up and send them back to me.


February 24, 2010

my REAL wall – February 24, 2010 – Finding time to eat

Elena’s job sometimes means that she has to stay overnight at her other place and regular readers of this blog will know when that happens most the time because I will release 2 or more REAL walls into the wild.

Naturally this burst of blog activity doesn’t come without it’s sacrifices, and Elena worries about me when she’s away for the night. Often, when she’s not around, I revert to my old single guy habits, you know the sort of thing – not shaving (nobody notices), not eating and working obsessively into the night on projects.

Tonight, I wanted to use this blog to send Elena a little message. Tonight I’m actually EATING and not spending the whole night working on my REAL wall.

…well sort of.


Thanks to Cherie Bright from Texas for sending the Status Update!

February 19, 2010

my REAL wall does romance

my REAL wall does romance, originally uploaded by andytgeezer.

I’m not that big on Hallmark card events, so Valentines day went by without so much as a card exchanged, but today I got home and Elena had made some lovely cards and tags as a surprise.

So today’s only card is an Elena creation just for me. More of your postcards tomorrow.

February 17, 2010

my REAL wall says Restore Stonehenge to Wales!

Those of you that have been following the return of mini-Andy on Unofficial TAD 2010 will have been shocked to read about the unfair treatment of the Saharawi people of the Western Sahara, and I noted from the feedback that many people didn’t even know that such a situation existed out there.

I’ve had the idea for a while that my REAL wall could serve an educational purpose for issues like these, and urge anyone to send in post that can perhaps educate readers of my REAL wall in the big issues of politics or social injustice. I would love that my REAl wall became a place that was informative and educational as well as entertaining.

Generally speaking I’m not very political at all, so I’d rather not have really horrible stuff on here but I hope that by using my REAL wall as an alternative, lightly entertaining soapbox, that people may be persuaded to read about and engage with some of the issues sent in. They can be local or global issues, but by sending them here we can all hear about them, in amongst our daily dose of mailart, postcards, knitting and letters.

Ideally, I’d like you to send in issues on postcards or in mailart that are close to your heart, in which pens and papers can make a difference. We saw recently with the council fiasco that mass mobilisation of pens and paper still has the power to bring about change, so why not let’s try!

[May I put in a disclaimer at this point – not all views expressed in these campaigns are mine. I’ll try and feature all the campaigns that are not downright nasty, even if I don’t agree with them. The REAL wall does agree with freedom of speech, but not with any bad vibes type stuff]

Today’s issue comes in from an anonymous source in Wales and is a call for people to sign the Stonehenge restoration petition. One of the beautiful things about the UK is that we have the right to petition the government by collecting signatures if an issue vexes us, and we can then deliver this protest straight to the Prime Minister in number 10, Downing Street. If a petition has enough signatures he might even take notice of it and do something about it.

The card says the following…

In recent years there has been a renewed calling for cultural artefacts that were removed from one nation to be restored to their place of origin. Greece having become a thriving democracy has secured a UN resolution for the return of the Elgin marbles. Like Greece, Wales has developed into a thriving democracy and believe that time is now right for Wales to reclaim her cultural artefacts. We believe that the stones currently making up the structure known as Stonehenge were taken from Wales unfairly and that the British government should give consideration to the case for having the stones returned to Wales.

Having been to Stonehenge once in my life I can say that I personally won’t miss them if they go back, so why not help out with the campaign, sign the petition online and let the Welsh have their rocks back.

February 14, 2010

your REAL wall – my mailart on display at the December 2009 Sketbe mailart exhibition in Thessolonaki, Greece, December 2009

I think this is the first time that my mailart has been on public display in a mailart show in a gallery.

My mailart piece is the one in the top right hand corner, with the tube map and rubber stamps. A few others may have received this or be in line to receive one, as I’ve gone through a bit of a funny phase of making these lately.

In the last year I have developed a thing about expressing change in my mailart. To me a picture postcard represents the ultimate expression of freezing a moment in time, both spatially and temporally. What better way of capturing a moment than to take a picture and what better way to freeze that moment in the collective consciousness than to create a postcard.

So in my mailart I look to subvert the trend by taking postcards and images from the past and fusing them with the present, and if I can the future.

To do this, I take antique postcards and images and then look for the equivalent image today, either by going there and photographing the exact location myself, or getting the next best thing

Initially the idea of cutting these old pictures in half repulsed me I confess. It was like desecrating the past. The past it seemed, held a power over me and I I viewed it as sacred and unchangable.

After I cut through the first few though, I realised that by combining images of the past with those of the present I could create a link between the places in time, then by sending them away I could break the hold of the past on my psyche spatially too.

Fusion of past and present within the borders of the frame was a liberation not only for me but also, I felt, for the postcards, which had stayed frozen in a past they could not escape.

If you click the first image, you’ll go through to the flickr page where you can see the notes on the other pieces on display that I know. My mailart joins the esteemed company of some of the most awesome mailartists in the world, including the incredible Cross-Ryu and Dosanko Debbie, as well as the prolific Test Tower and Jennlui.

I am indeed humbled

February 14, 2010

my REAL wall – Elena’s Favourites from year 1

In case you were wondering why your photos didn’t make it on the year 1 wall
yesterday, this could be the reason. While we rummaged through the received
mail, Elena saw some that she really loves and decided to put up a
semi-permanent exhibition on the front of our boiler cabinet. If you didn’t
make it on yesterday’s wall, you may have made it on here, where you will
likely stay until something REALLY awesome comes along to take your place!

Some pieces I know very little about as they were sent to her via
postcrossing, and some of you have more than one piece on the wall, notably
Rejin Leys, Okadascat, Dumpsterdiver and Cross Ryu.

Did you make it into Elena’s favourites?

February 13, 2010

my REAL wall – One year anniversary edition (Click the photo to see annotations!)

It was a year ago today that I decided to close down my facebook account and start accepting REAL post only for my REAL wall, so today to celebrate the first year of my REAL wall, me and Elena spent a few hours sticking as many of the received post on the walls of the house as possible.

It’s been quite a year and no-one could ever have guessed that one silly idea that I had one morning would blow up into such a success.

Since starting my REAL wall, I discovered postcrossing, IUOMA, sendsomething and swap-bot. I’ve sent nearly 100 postcards on postcrossing and appeared on the postcrossing blog.

Also, to defy all the facebook-loving friends who were sure that leaving facebook would spell certain love-disaster, I met the girl of my dreams, who turned out to be possibly the only person I know who is NOT on f acebook. She’s perfect! And now we’re engaged!

Not only does she not find it inconvenient that I’m not on facebook, she loves it! It means I spend more time doing stuff with her in REAL life, and Elena makes most of the walls with me.

my REAL wall has also seen lots of other media action, most notably my REAL wall vs Hammersmith Council, after my local council sent me a demand letter for £5000 for business waste disposal after they assumed that the amount of post I was receiving must have implied I was running a business! This led to appearances in all sorts of newspapers.

Then last month, the stairs in the centre of the picture were in the money section of the Sunday Times, but try as we might we couldn’t get any postcards in there.

In just a year, I gained the confidence to become a fully-fledged mailartist, and my REAL wall has been involved in a number of art projects, including the month-long inaugural Twitter #mailart project in July, The 100 and Thing-a-day 2010 (official and unofficial) and I’m pretty sure there will be plenty more.

Postcards sent from around the globe have travelled with us far and wide to Austria, Romania, Portugal, Switzerland and of course all over the UK. People have sent pics of their own walls too, from Holland, Australia, Iceland, Malaysia, France and beyond.

So, one year down, countless postcards later and my REAL wall has far exceeded my expectations. Thanks for all the support everyone and here’s to another one!

February 9, 2010

The mountains from Meribel, France

A very happy “thank the stars it’s not January” to the REAL wall, where I return as today’s poster [but not poster girl].

There are very few joys during January in my experience (bar Andy’s birthday and a couple of other minor happenings). Hence, we decided it was time to break the bleak routine by skipping town to go skiing in France on the [possibly] world famous disco train which takes you out of London at 9pm on a Friday, and drops you at the foot of the slopes at 5:40am on Saturday.

You may be surprised to hear that around 1am, as soon as the bar carriage stops serving overpriced booze, the atmosphere changes instantly from fun and carefree to sleepy, grumpy and somewhat hostile as fellow passengers insist on crashing out. Disgrace. What has this world come to.

You’re seeing the view from our apartment and a range of postcards, whose brief subject summaries I thought could be linked somehow to provide us with a little tale:

The fat man drives a rocket postbus between Moscow and Texas with a rifle and his collection of pencils. His pig asks him whether he’d prefer to take a rollercoaster to New Zealand, to which the fat man tenses his brow like a baseball player, and eventually replies he’d rather be squashed by an elephant as if he were a cob of corn.

And there we have it. Fat man gets a mention twice obviously, but please don’t take offence.

Good to be back,

February 8, 2010

my REAL wall features Okadascat

Today’s featured REAL artist is the totally brilliant UK based knitter Okadascat

For me and Elena, knitting begins and ends with Okadascat and every parcel through from this mysterious northern knitter makes us both squeal with delight.

The REAL wall correspondence affair began not long after I began my REAL wall, when one day I received a small random square of wool in the post with some mailart calls. Being new to the whole mailart thing back then I wondered what the heck the mailart calls were, but was fascinated by the wool. Up until this point I had figured that the only things that could be sent through the post were made of paper. Fabric in the post? Weird, but strangely compelling.

So I tracked down the artist and had a poke about on www.okadascat.blogspot.com/, where I found loads of examples of yarn-bombing and street furniture cosy knitting. Somewhere up north Okadascat was getting up to yarn-based mischief, keeping bollards warm with custom made wooly cosys. This was my kind of fun, so I cheekily sent her an email asking if she could make my REAL wall a new banner.

Much to my surprise, a full size knitted banner appeared in the post at the end of that week and it’s been all over the place with me since.

Thinking that things couldn’t get any better than that showed yet another bit of underestimation on my part and when the whole council fiasco got under way, one of the outstanding pieces that came through was the wooly protest mail from Okadascat, which was knitted onto a card.

The wooly star which arrived in late 2009 spurred Elena to pick up some knitting needles and we spent New Years Eve indoors knitting and making mailart, which is really testament to how much of an influence this wooly stuff has had on us.

The latest piece, a complete surprise too, was mini-Andys new hat and scarf, which will come in extremely useful when he takes to the road in March. We couldn’t believe our eyes when this one came through.

So, even though other knitters do exist out there, Okadascat has opened our eyes to a whole new angle on knitting. Before her, knitting was really just functional and not all that glamorous, but now we all know that knitting is actually the new cool.

All hail the one and only Okadascat!