Tuesday, May 30, 2006
e is for envelopes
Letter writing is absolutely, positively a dying art....and it makes me worry. I mean, I love email just as much as the next girl. It’s easy, in most cases it’s fairly effective, and it gives you that instant gratification feeling of sending the written word in just about the fastest form possible. But, personal it is not. While there’s a level of excitement to receiving an email from a friend, it can’t compare to finding a good, old-fashioned, stamped envelope waiting in your mailbox.
It’s this feeling that made mail art so easy for me to embrace. During my senior year of college, I did two independent studies based on the rather obscure art form. I found from my research that mail artists thrive on the idea that they are sending their creations out into a world that may not normally take notice of the creativity around them. They love taking their art outside the setting of museums and galleries and bringing it to people exactly where they’re at. It means that there’s no escaping it.
In an attempt at something similar, I sent painted envelopes to about 30 state governors, several local TV and radio “celebrities,” and various friends and family members. I began to look at everything as having mail-able potential, the postal workers came to know me by name, and over the course of several months, I literally made hundreds of envelopes. I had become thoroughly entrenched in the world of mail art.
But time passed and life took on its usual hecticness, and even I succumbed to the world of emails and instant messages. Lately, however, the call of the decorated envelope has been whispering in my ear once again. Every day that I open my mailbox to find stacks of advertisements and boring white bills, I desire to fill the postal world with brightly painted envelopes, artistic packages, and more mail-able creativity than anyone could possibly imagine.