September 30, 2010

September 29, 2010 – Mailart and me and some exciting mailart news!

I feel guilty that I still haven’t taken the time to do the Sudoku mailart, as I suspect that there is a very clever postcrossing reference number in there as the other side has LOTS of references to NL (The Netherlands) and there are 6 boxes to fill. I just don’t want to ruin the effect!

In addition to the new postcrossings on the wall (from Brazil and Turkey as well as the US and Finland) I have some great private swaps from Ammy (Singapore) and from a contributor in Bethlehem, PA.

Down at the bottom are two piece of mailart from regular mailart contacts @okadascat and @grthink, who are incidentally great follows on Twitter.

Grthink is the person who first introduced me to mailart after responding to an ad I put on gumtree a year ago. After pointing me to postcrossing, he then showed me the way to mailart and I found my way onto IUOMA

Since that fateful day nearly 2 years ago, I can honestly say that mailart has heavily changed my life. Whereas before I discovered mailart, I was a science and technology person with a passing interest in art, I can now say I am an artist. Mailart has done this.

For me, art lessons at school were always a nightmare. I couldn’t draw to save my life and I wasn’t raised in an artistic family where images and sounds were valued. I could look at something and say it was quite nice, and I still do, but no more than that.

When it came to critiquing or creating art, I could not do it. Throughout school I was hopeless at art and deemed by the teachers to be a non-starter. So I gave up on it and labelled myself a scientist. Heck, so much so I became a physics teacher!

When I found out about mailart, I decided to give it a go. Instead of having a cynical-eyed art teacher looking over my shoulder and creating works that were “just not good enough” suddenly I was creating works that were bringing a smile to peoples faces all over the world. They would show their appreciation by putting something cool back in the post to me and by posting on my blog. my REAL wall, along with IUOMA and you people out there made this happen.

I found in the REAL world, that REAL people don’t need perfect lines or subtle chiaroscuro or whatever the hell it was that my art teacher wanted me to do. They wanted pretty pictures in the morning made by another human being that expressed whatever I wanted to express at the time.

This was my liberation.

I still can’t paint. I still can’t draw. But I photograph and I rubber stamp and I do things on 6×4 inches that I wouldn’t dare on a larger canvas. On top of all that, I put together all your works and stick them on my wall all the time, thus discovering installation art in my own way. It’s not about books.

So now that I’ve discussed mailart and me, let’s get onto the big news for today.

As some of you know, I work in a university in the education department. Today I was chatting to the Art education department and conversation strayed onto my REAL wall (as it temds to do when you talk to me these days). I explained how mailart had changed my life and the head of Art Education was fascinated.

“I’ HAVE to sign you up to talk to our trainee art teachers about mailart” she said, and we went on to discuss how we could use my experience of discovering art in the classroom.

Yes it does seem a little odd, a physics teacher teaching art teachers how to teach art, but perhaps also it makes perfect sense. So on the 12th October, I’m going to teach a session entitled “Mailart – art in the global dimension” to a group of art teachers, starting with a mailart show of pieces received and will encourage them to send out mailart. We then intend to encourage mailart exchange within the group while they are going through the course with a view to putting on a show at the end of the year!

So this is a mailart call with a deadline to be received by 12th October in London. If you have been affected by mailart, please send a postcard to my REAL wall at the normal address,

my REAL wall
PO Box 63138
W14 4BR

with any design at all and I will put these up in my inaugural mailart lecture and try to convince them to send you one back!

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