Saturday, July 24, 2010

The Evolution of the Postcard: Part 1

When I return from a cake float, the postcards take over my life (generally two full days per image). Since many people have asked how I print them, I thought I would spend a couple posts detailing their evolution.

As mentioned previously, I've always wanted to do a Mail Art project but never dedicated myself to it. I used to assign it to my classes at Oregon State and Washington State University Vancouver. One of the most unique projects I received was one student sent her boyfriend to my house collaged in letters as "male art." I also received plates of cookies, mailboxes, shovels, and ransom notes. The mailman's expression each day leading up to the due date of the assignment was priceless.

James Luckett's involvement in the Postcard Collective has been an impetus. Since moving to Indiana, he continually sends me cards whether or not they are found (below) or made. This one resided on my refrigerator for weeks (he is the only reason why the Twitter account is still functioning most likely due to this note):

Sara Shoemaker Lind
, a photographer I met during my residency at UCross in 2007, has sent me some unusual things over the past couple years that always inspire me to be a little more creative with snail mail. Here's a paper bag I received from her last September (little did she know that I have saved all the paper bags I've used for my lunches since 2002 and am formulating a series around them so it was especially meaningful):

When I was in Tucson, I wanted to meet Camden Hardy who is responsible for the Postcard Collective. He handed me the entries from the first round and I was able to see many variations on the handmade vs. commercial printing. Even though I had created my first card at that time (not too happy with the print quality and backing), it reaffirmed my belief that I had to print them myself. With each card, the backs become more important and I often incorporate photo shoots (underwater cameras, cake decorating ladies at Marsh, etc.) to acquire images just for this purpose.

I put a call out on the blog for anyone who wanted one to let me know and thus began my address list. Of course, I added some people that I thought might want to receive them and knowing that this was going to be expensive and time consuming, I kept my number to 35 though I make 40 each round.

All the responses I receive via text and email are documented. In fact, there is a separate part of this project that won't make an appearance until the very end involving the extensive "Documentation" - the objects, the commentary, the expenses, the postcards, what people start to send me in response, and so on.

I love the element of chance when sending them in the mail. So many are ripped but I've noticed that several people's are torn in the same place from the same mailing. Over half way through, I really wish there were more postcard stamp options because the polar bear is getting a little repetitive. I wanted to send one from Canada just for a visual change and oddly enough, when I received mine at the post office today, there wasn't one postmark to be found!

For some cards, I have a specific idea right away but for others, I agonize over the process. The one I am making today belongs in the latter category. After a brainstorming with Hannah last night, she gave me an idea which will be the focus for the back of the next card. Again, I am using James as an example. This is his entry for the first Postcard Collective exchange:

The postcard backs so far have commented on the method of cake decoration (Barton Springs), the statistics to make that particular photograph happen (Tucson, AZ), maps outlining the exact locale (Louisville, KY), the style of some postcards that incorporate a low opacity image as background (Niagara Falls), and a vintage card back with the number of the cake float and the discrepancy in today's cost of mailing a card vs. way back when this one was printed (Lake George, NY). The next card will incorporate a universal note in ode to one of the artists that inspired this project... (much like James's discussion of seeing Marcel Duchamp's Etant Donné in his card above).

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.