Listen to our introduction audio guide to the Mail your Art project
In this time of email and instant messaging there is something quite unique and precious about receiving a package or beautifully decorated envelope in the mail. Artists have been using this method of creation, taking art into the every day out of galleries since the 1960's, when they created art swaps. This has occurred between artists and communities all over the world. There are many different formats of this and ways of sending your art across the country or world.
The images above are from my project heART to heART an international project I created where 12 artists circulate their art to each other around the world for a year and end up with an amazing sketchbook of lived experience and connection!
You may choose to join one of these communities or create your own path by choosing a friend or family member to send your art to! The guide below focuses on this:
Creating your Art
Who will you create it for?
As soon as you opened this webpage you may have already had a clear picture of who you want to send your art to, if so you are welcome to skip the following meditation and if not please use this as a guide....
Listen to the mediation
One of the key things about posting art is its size as prices can dramatically vary based on the thickness and size of the envelope and whether it is considered a parcel or not. I researched A LOT for my project heART to heART for the sizes and prices in different countries and found that 5 in X 8 in (127mm X 203mm) paper was perfect to fit in 5.11 in X 9.44 in (130mm X 240mm) envelopes which is the maximum size for some countries to accept as envelope size. They also had to be less than 1.96 in (50mm) thick!
The easiest thing to do is look at the rates of the post office where you live before you start creating! Some artists choose to see postcards for this very reason. You may want to create something larger but be aware of weight, size and thickness! You might to make it foldable or include instructions if it is 3D and for the receiver to make!
The next thing to consider is the contents of artwork. Some of these questions might help you clarify:
What are the memories you have of that person? And how could you represent them visually?
Will it contain words? If so will it be typed or handwritten?
Will it be a poem or a letter or a memory?
What language will it be written in?
Will it have a message?
Will it be visual?
Or can it be a recording of a dance or performance? Could you send a USB stick or a DVD?
Could it be a map?
You may want to spend some time recalling times spent together or brainstorming what your chosen person likes in order to create your artwork.
As you begin, if you are using paper, think about the texture and colour you might want to use.
Possible materials can include (but are not limited to):
Collage from magazines
Chalk pastels (these may need a fixative!)
Different ways of print making
Remember to let the artwork dry before putting it the envelope!
You can choose whether the envelope is part of the piece of art or separate to it. It could be an extension of the art or something completely different. Allow space for the address, stamps and a return address if case it can't be delivered.
The next step is to send it and wait with fingers crossed that it arrives!
Map artwork I recently sent to my niece from India to Canada. I bought a map then drew our family and where we lived in the world. The plan is to add more art and postcards to it as we travel!
There are thousands of artists sending art all over the world. Click the images to explore further inspiration and ideas! Please feel free to share what you find in heART space. I can't wait to see your creations!
Mail Swap by Artist, Ryosuke Cohen
Interesting book on making mail art
How to make envelopes
Tips and inspiration for letter writing
Click the image above for a link to letters to and between artists.
To view all the other projects from heART space click the button below: