May 10, 2011

my REAL wall presents…Little Big Stories at Pimlico Library

Regular readers of this blog will be aware that this year has seen my REAL wall getting involved in a number of mailart shows in London. In February, I put out a call for a mailart call for my local library, called Little Big Stories, where we asked for postcard sized graphic novels in the post to display in Pimlico library.


The idea was to collect in a few stories on the walls to get people interested in the graphic storytelling medium and to draw attention to Westminster library’s awesome stock of graphics. I worked with one of the librarians from the comics buying team on the show from start to finish, and the show came together through the Westminster libraries blog and here on my REAL wall.


Being the first major public mailart call I’ve run, I must confess I didn’t know what to expect. Initially we set our target at 30 pieces, and after a couple of weeks, we thought we’d be lucky to even get to this. This is the very first story that came in from Conor Donegan in the USA.

Untitled - Conor Donegan (USA)

About 2 weeks in, something happened. Suddenly the blog started to fill up with comments from people saying that they’d be sending in stories! Me and Francis couldn’t believe it! Within a week we had shot over 30 and set our sites at 50 pieces. That target proved far short of our final number too.


By the time the deadline of March 12th arrived, we had collected in 150 Little Big Stories, with 20 arriving after the deadline, which went in anyway. Another 3 arrived after me and Elena had left for our honeymoon.


Sadly, me and Elena were not there to help them put the stories up, but Francis and Nisha done an excellent job of mounting the works and putting them on the walls and the exhibition has been really well received by visitors, with some even asking at the desk for the artists details and if they had books out on the shelves!


The show ran from 4th April to 4th May 2011 and has only just come down, but it’s been a huge success. I’d like to say thanks to everyone who took part who made this happen and thanks to everyone for your comments and feedback too. The library were really surprised to find that their blog had so many hits during the time of the call – they’d never had that many comments or Retweets from a blog post before, so congratulations to us on that too!

There’s not enough room here for all the photos, but you can check out some more on my flickr site, and below are all the received pieces.

But just because the show is over at Pimlico, don’t think this is the end for Little Big Stories just yet. Me and Elena are looking to make a book to put on the shelves containing all the pieces received and more! The idea is to sell copies of it to raise some extra money for the library in these lean financial times so that they can buy even more great graphic novels for their shelves.

I’ll keep you all posted about that, just watch this space.

February 24, 2011

Twitter Art Exhibit in Moss, Norway

At the end of 2010, a little phenomenon happened on Twitter. Every artist I follow was suddenly tweeting with the hashtag #twitterartexhibition and saying that they were sending a piece to a guy called David Sandum.

I went on over to his site to see what the buzz was about, and saw that he was running a very cool mailart project requesting postcards for a show at his local library in Moss in Norway. He stated that he intended to sell as many pieces after the show in order to raise money to buy childrens books for the library.

Mailart and a good cause – I couldn’t resist!

Twitter Art Exhibit closeup

I sent in The Haunted Ballerina (Back), which i’m still really proud of.

My piece sold last month, for something like £17, which can buy a book or two.

Today, David posted pics of the pieces on the wall at the show. You can see The Haunted Ballerina in the first column, 3rd down.

Check out the rest of the pics of the show at Davids site

February 4, 2011

Little Big Stories – Pieces received

If I’ve received your piece for Little Big Stories, I’ll put it up on my flickr site then post it up here! Please leave a comment if you see yours, and when you send leave us a comment below with a URL so I can link you up! Deadline is March 11, 2011, so do hurry and get your pieces in!

Received pieces so far
Untitled by Conor Donegan (UK)
“Life and Death” by Jaromir Svozilik (Norway)
Fluxus Artistamps by Tiziana Baracchi (Italy)
“Two balloons” by Michel Della Vedova (France)
“Time Travel Taxi” by Peter Brazier (UK)
“Through the Looking Glass” by Cathey Bayless (USA)
“Groucho Marx goes for a walk” by Darryl Cunningham (UK), author of ‘Psychiatric Tales
“Telling a story” by Mim (USA)
Untitled by Peter Tran (UK)
“How to post art No. 725” by A.1. Waste Comics
“Love in the time of mailart” by Rebecca Guyver (UK)
“The outrage” by Mailart Martha (UK)
“One day in life” by Lindenhof (Germany)
“Penny Black” by Valentine Mark Herman (France)
Untitled by Tania Krosse (France)
“Big Stories on Small Paper” by James Weaver (USA)
“Spring Thaw” by Laura Podob (USA)
Untitled by Enzo Salanitro (Italy)
“Ithaca” by Michalis Kotsaris (Greece)
“The Blue Cloud” by Mariano Filippetta (Italy)
Untitled by PJ (USA)
“Six seasons” by Helder Coelho Dias (Portugal)
“Science Marks”, “Yours and Mine”, and “Mail Love” by Snippy Snippy Crab Kristine (Australia)
“The Vision” by Biomechanicsinc (Belgium)
“The Days of Imp Pilot” – by Baos3113 (USA)
“Presenting the mailartist who wanted to be famous” – By Andrea Jay (USA)
“Stories in a portrait 1, 2, 3” – Dewi (USA)
“Chromosomes” by JJAlltheway (Australia)
“8705” by Johannes Gerard (The Netherlands)
“Love Story” by Nhigh (USA)
“The End” by Bob Marzewski (USA)
“Literature Man” by Grant Snider (USA)
Untitled 1-30 by Simon Warren (UK)
“Paper Vision (2008)” and “Pendant la revolution 1986)” and “Paper” by Serse Luigetti (Italy)
“The envelope of childhood dreams” by Chantal Batchelor (UK)
“Where’s my mailart?” by Camelorama (USA)
“Temptress” by Jonathon Linkletter (Canada)
“The Intercorstal” and “A Ghost Story” by Garth A Hopkins
“Miss Moti and the Ultra Girl” by Kripa Joshi
“Yummy” by David G Lindberg (USA)
“Upbringing” by skeptlorist
“A day of the dead” by Helen Macdonald (UK)
“Kate Humble and Bill Odie build the horse of Troy” by Amy Oliver (UK)
“Night of the munchies” by Red Inca (UK)
36 stories from the classes of Rebecca Guyver – I’ve scanned and uploaded these to flickr with some of the quotes from the back of the postcards
“Alices Fall” by Daniela Dente (Italy)
Early String Theory” by Tyson Cole

If you’ve pledged a piece, I’ve put your name and weblink up here. If you still have to send a piece, what are you waiting for! The address is below

Mailart Martha Envelope

If you’re still not sure what to do, why not have a chat with some mailartists at the Little Big Stories mailart groups on IUOMA or on Facebook

January 8, 2011

my REAL wall special edition : Student mailart show inspired by my REAL wall opens today!

Intro to student mailart show 1

As regular readers of the blog now, in October, I presented my first ever mailart lecture to a group of secondary art teaching students, and worked with their tutor to get them sending mailart to each other through the course of their placements in schools.

These days it’s not unusual for students to have to put together an electronic portfolio of their work, and we had initially planned to do this but when I happened to start talking about my REAL wall with the head of art and design education, we came up with a plan. REAL portfolios. Why would you let all this artistic talent go to waste, let’s send mailart instead! This seemed a much more appropriate (and fun) way to put one together over the course of the term, while inspiring and supporting each other. And it seemed a pretty odd bit of advice from the e-learning advisor too…

Student Mailart show Roehampton University January 2011

After a term in schools we wanted to put the pieces together that came out of this project and put on a show to showcase how the REAL portfolio project went.

It went brilliantly.

My creation

I cannot begin to get into words how exciting it was to see all the students looking through each others works and going “WOW!” and the feedback I got from the students was phenomenal. It seemed that all the effects that mailart has had on me, uplifting, supporting, inspiring, developing and so on had all happened to the students.


It was so great to hear that people would actually look forward to doing their weekly assignment, they loved to receive this little personal snippet from another student and know that while they were out in schools they were not alone in their experiences. It was great.

That’s quite enough chatter from me, but I wanted to include the blurb that accompanied this show, which was written by Jo Davies, the head of Art and Design Education at the university where I work

PGCE Secondary Art and Design 2010-11 Mail Art Exhibition

The PGCE Secondary Art and Desgin MailArt group has been set up in response or rather to counter the online networking communication that prevails in all workplaces and institutions of education and is inspired (ironically) by Andy Hoang, E learning advisor and artist, who is involved in a wider global mailart group himself.

The aim of the project is for students to keep in touch while out on school placements and boost each other’s morale through what can be a very isolating experience in a creative way. It was felt that this practical, ‘hands-on’ approach to communication and sharing of ideas and experiences through the PGCE course would suit Art and Design students better than a social networking or other online form of communication. The personal time and attention given to this craft based task may be seen as a reaction against the distance and virtual forms of communication increasingly used throughout the rest of the students’ training and a recognition of the need to acknowledge and support each other in a more meaningful and tangible way.

My creation

The PGCE Secondary Art and Design students sent one postcard to each of the rest of the group once a week throughout the Autumn term. A timetable was to make sure that everyone in the group makes and sends a postcard as well as receives one every week. The postcards are handmade or at the very least hand altered so that some art practice is going on as an antidote to all the other less inspiring paperwork they are filling in and include messages of support and inspiration to remind each other that they are ‘all in it together’!

The exercise will be repeated during the Spring and Summer terms and the long term aim is for students to carry this oninto their NQT year and beyond. The group already has an offshoot with two of the students running a mail art club sending postcards between their two placement schools, linked to a self portrait/identity project! The project has also ‘caught the eye’ of the National Society of Education in Art and Design who will be including the project in an article in the launch of their new magazine, AD.

So that seems to have gone well enough. Want to know what it looked like?


Barely 2 years after starting my REAL wall I seem to have started something I could never have dreamt of. I can hardly believe it.