Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Using Old Franked Postcards

Recently I was given a stack of unused franked postcards.  They still could be mailed, but one would need to add some additional postage stamps and bring them up to 34¢ each.  Not one to let things go to waste, I turned them into mail art for my on-going Hide Some Art in a Book Series and added some postage stamps.  Here are just some of them sent in today’s outgoing mail.

Friday, October 13, 2017

Mexican Mail Art – Part II

The first batch of mail art was mailed from Mexico a few weeks ago.  I am not sure if anyone has received the postcards yet.  I started working on a new series of ATCs when I was still in Puerto Vallarta.  Two explored the local palette, including the day of Tropical Storm Pilar (which was a humid, rainy day but not much of a storm where I was).  When I got home, I finished the series and used more of the play money and lotería cards I picked up at a 25 Pesos Store and a local bookstore.  Like so many San Francisco artists, I can’t resist using lotería cards and have been incorporating them into my mixed media work for 20+ years.  What is it that draws us to these cards?  A new batch of mail art was dropped at the post office yesterday and is on the way.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Mail Art Going Full Circle

This summer I started altering vintage postcards by simply adding hand painted colored dots.  As I started mailing out these postcards, I decided to add a step, and began to include an envelope of dots so recipients could alter a postcard and send it back to me.  Below is some of the global mail art I have received in return:
  1. Pier Roberto Bassi sent an altered postcard back form Italy.
  2. Pamela Gerard repurposed a French postcard that was first mailed from Orléans a century ago.
  3. Another set of postcards from Italy. Lucia Spagnuolo altered a local postcard plus another one that was from a performance art piece she did.
  4. In Germany Peter Müller altered a Tibetan postcard and then added another piece where some of the dots were made of crushed bottle caps.
  5. Susan Stewart sent swampy greetings from Cypress Gardens in Florida.
  6. Pia Zaragoza altered a local, but vintage, San Francisco postcard.
  7. Katerina Nikoltsou sent a piece she calls “Couch Time” form Greece.
  8. Karen Lindquist New Mexico-anized this punk postcard.  I love the chili earrings.
  9. And finally pink dots moving through landscapes in a trio of altered postcard from Anna Hollings in New Zealand.

Thank you to everyone for sending things back.  Now it is time for me to head to the post office and see what new mail art is waiting for me.

Monday, October 9, 2017

Welcome Home


When you come back from a long and great vacation it is always nice to return to a P.O. Box jammed full of mail art.  And that is just what I found upon returning from Mexico.  Here is a sample of what I found waiting for me: 
  1. I need to show both sides of Barbara Stasiowski’s latest postcard.
  2. Ed Giecek sent me a bunch of stuff including a Fake News ATC.
  3. That is a postcard from Eberhard Janke that made it all the way from Germany, intact, no envelope.
  4. A new piece from William Mellott with two new ATCs for my growing collection – be sure top check out his ATCs – they are awesome.
  5. A vibrant Island from Torma Cauli.
  6. Kerosene’s envelope included this little cut out figure, a new moon ATC and she knows I love all things map.
  7. Sometimes the envelope is the mail art, including this one from the Sticker Dude.
  8. Pier Roberto Bassi’s envelope made it all the way from Italy.
  9. An anonymous mail artist sent me something from BAMPFA.
  10. And speaking of envelopes, Mike Dickau sent one full of wonderful artist stamps.

Friday, October 6, 2017

Saved by Raimonds Staprans

At some point, we all get to have at least one horrible job.  Most of us end up with a few.  If you have only had good jobs, count yourself lucky.  Hopefully all my bad jobs are in the past.  In the early 1990s, when I first arrived in San Francisco, I ended up working for a small company in the financial district.  The firm was very small at first and had all the hallmarks of dysfunctional family, with the name partners being the parents, we had an eccentric “aunt” and there was me stuck in the middle between two, let’s say erratic, personalities.  In the seven years I worked there, the company grew and the stress and tension escalated in the office.  The best I could say was, at least I was not in the New York office.  After I left, I did a bit of temping and was stunned by how accustomed I had become to working in such a toxic environment.  The various downtown offices I ended up temping in, with few exceptions, were decent places and far more relaxed and, dare I say, normal.
I still do not know how I lasted for seven years.  But one thing that I liked about the job was one of the partners was a serious art collector with a very good eye.  When we rearranged the art, we were always encouraged to select pieces we liked for our offices and work areas.  My favorite piece was a beautiful painting of a big orange chair by Raimonds Staprans.  I spent most of those seven years next to that painting.  It was my workmate, my companion and it helped keep me sane.  A second Staprans hung above the copy machine.  When I was occasionally chained to that machine, I had a view of some calm, blue boats.  He painted many chairs, the painting featured in the exhibit (show here) is a different one.
Twenty years later, I finally had an opportunity, my very first, to see a retrospective of Staprans work.  Full Spectrum: Paintings by Raimonds Staprans has been up all summer at Sacramento’s Crocker Art Museum.  Galleries filled with his stunning, vibrant paintings that show Staprans is a genius with light and color.  The work can appear deceptively simple at first glance but his paintings are far more complicated.  And while examples can be found online and in books, no photo or jpeg can possibly do justice to Staprans’ paintings.  At over 90 years old, it is time that his work gets even more recognition and needs to be exhibited even more.  I am grateful that the Crocker Museum has put on this exhibit, but it is mind boggling that he has not been given more museum shows in the Bay Area.  I believe the only other California museums to feature his work so far are San Jose and Pasadena. 

If ever I get to meet Mr. Staprans in person, I will be sure to thank him for helping me survive office hell.