Friday, December 14, 2018

2018 Holiday Card

As the year ends, I always send out a card to celebrate the holidays and commemorate the coming new year.  Rarely would they be considered traditional Christmas cards.  Whatever is happening the in the world, I strive for an optimistic message (this is 2017).
As the year concludes, with all the problems in the world and the embracing of ignorance and denial, it is a challenge to remain optimistic. As the smoke was clearing from the latest devastating California wildflowers, this is the card I came up with.  Happy Holidays….

Friday, November 23, 2018

November Mail

It is always nice to have a post office box crammed full of mail art when you return from a long trip.  And, that is just what I found this week. There was a fold out booklet from Peter Müller, a rubber stamped postcard from William Mellott, a new piece from e. coles in England, and Marina Salmaso must have made a trip from Denmark, because her envelope was mailed from England. In Lithuania, Mindaugas Zuromskas is also making cards with British postage stamps (I have created plenty of work with Her Postal Majesty myself – I get it).  Melissa Wand is turning her post office photos into postcards.  That’s a great idea.  I always tend to photograph small post offices when I am on my road trips. Here is the list of the mail art shown here:
  1. William Mellott– Taiwan
  2. Valdor – Catalunya, Spain  
  3. Kerosene– Québec, Canada
  4. Mindaugas Žuromskas
  5. Melissa Wand – Wisconsin
  6. Fleur Helsingor– California
  7. e. coles – England
  8. Deble Faulkner – California
  9. R.F. Côté– Québec, Canada
  10. Peter Müller – Germany
  11. Marina Salmaso– Denmark
  12. Bonniediva – Illinois 

Thursday, November 22, 2018

Mexican Sunsets

Mexican Sunset, acrylic on paper, 12"x9"

Typically I don’t paint sunsets, and purple is not a color with a prominent place in my palette.  But, when you are on vacation, rules can be broken, extra desserts, sleep in late, do nothing if you like, and paint sunsets.  I am home from Mexico now, so it time to get back to my routine.

Thursday, November 15, 2018

Tile-Inspired ATCs

I love mosaics and ceramic tile.   San Francisco has plenty of wonderful examples of tiled public art (including right around the block from my home).  That said, I needed to come down to Mexico to be inspired for a new series of ATCs painted on playing cards.  I suppose it took escape-vacation mode to make these happen.  More soon….

Saturday, November 10, 2018

24th Annual Pink Week.

The Pink Week microART Invitational opens tonight at the Sparrow Gallery in Sacramento.  The show remains up until November 30th.  Of course I have a micro piece in the show.

Friday, November 2, 2018

Scrappy Scrapbook

For about two years I have been working on the same scrapbook. I’ve reached the point where the book is full.  In other words, it is becoming difficult to close the book.
It all started at one of San Francisco’s library book sales where they sell donated and discarded books for $1.  I already owned a guide to London’s National Gallery from a visit I had made. I really had no practical use for a much older version, circa 1960.  Or did I?
My original thought was to cut the images out of the old book for collages.  Instead I started filling the book up.  It began with left over paint on my palette and scraps from other projects.  Collage bits, old postage stamps, maps, chocolate wrappers and other ephemera kept getting added.  The folks at the San Francisco Correspondence Coop contributed many of the artists stamps and some of the rubber stamps.  And finally, some of the random scraps I have received in the mail.  Some of the results are shown here.

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Critters, Crawlies and more in my Mailbox

Some of the recent mail art received in my P.O. Box including a nice handmade booklet, some ATCs, artist stamps, and a bit of Halloween fun that includes FrankenBeuys — a tribute to Joseph Beuys.  Here are the artists show here:
  1. Anna Hollings (New Zealand)
  2. Fleur Helsingor(California)
  3. Keith Chambers (California)
  4. Lubomyr Tymkiv (Ukraine)
  5. Sally Wassink(California)
  6. Jennifer Utter (California)
  7. Sergey Nenashev (Russia)
  8. Gregg Biggs (California)
  9. Pamela Gerard(California)
  10. Dori Singh (California)

Saturday, October 27, 2018

Remembering Santiago Maldonado

Just received a set of artist stamps from Samuel Montalvettiin Argentina  The stamps commemorate the disappearance and murder of the young activist Santiago Maldonado who was demonstrating for indigenous rights in Patagonia.  You can read more of the story on Amnesty International’ssite as well as a BBC article.

Saturday, October 20, 2018

Bay Area Fall Colors

Yesterday painting (9″x12″, acrylic on paper).  Inspired by a little fall color this week after a drive up to the top of Mount Diablo with an afternoon hike around the peak.  80°, golden hills and a bit hazy — waiting for the winter rains.  I love the Bay Area, but October is the one month I still miss New York State and New England —just a little bit.

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Ghosty ATCs

Tis the season for some spooky ATCs....

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

A Postal Ghost Story

This is a ghost story for Halloween. But, if you expect to be scared, you will be disappointed. Most ghosts are simply there. They are a presence some of us are sensitive to, and just that, a presence. We recognize those times when we do not feel quite alone. In some instances, those presences seem negative and hostile, but most ghost stories are fairly ordinary. I could tell some frightening tales, but they will be for another day. After decades in San Francisco, I can attest to creepy Victorians and haunted offices in former brothels, just to get things started.

This ghost story goes back to Buffalo, New York to an old house on Norwood Avenue. It was the first home my parents owned. When the house was built in 1896, it was essentially a tract home, identical to the row of houses on the block. It its day, it would be what we now call a McMansion. By the time my family moved in, it was 1969 and the house had been altered and renovated a few times. Maids’ quarters adjacent to an attic were expanded into an apartment. Walls built, walls knocked down, stairs blocked off. There was an attempt to remove and cover much of the Victoriana when one owner aimed for some 1940s Beverly Hills glamor. That said, it was their huge wall of built-in book cases that sold my parents on the house.

The house could be spooky, but I would never say scary. The cellar was dominated by a massive, ancient furnace. The previous owner, an antique dealer, did things like board-up or nail windows shut to thwart burglars. He even added a huge steel door. In 1969, the cellar was still a warren of original rooms for things like laundry and storing canned goods. The cellar came with a pile of debris under the stairs. When my father began to remove the debris, he discovered it was covering an opening to an old well. The pile was immediately put back on top of the hole and remained there. 

The attic was equally mysterious. I don’t believe anyone ever explored the crawlspace above the apartment. Some things are best left undisturbed.

We lived there about eight years, a brief period in the house’s history. But, as my childhood home, I remember it well. The house made a big impression. I still dream about it. Now that we can access so much minutiae online, my curiosity lead me to search. With old census records and directories one can see who used to live in a house years ago. When you find the names of former residents, a quick search of genealogy websites might even yield photos.

The place on Norwood saw a lot of occupants. By the 1920s rooms were let and the house started to be carved up into small apartments. The resident that captured my attention, and imagination, was Barton Molyneux. He and his family lived there in 1910.

Barton Molyneux was a successful inventor, not quite famous, but he did invent machines to sort mail. Before his inventions, mail could only be sorted by hand. With his machines, the postal service could process and then deliver mail much faster. As an artist who makes and sends mail art, I felt a connection. 

One can’t say for sure if Barton was one of the presences who remained in the house. This could just be a story with an interesting coincidence, or, we can wonder, can ghosts play a role in the choices we go on to make in our lives?  

Saturday, September 22, 2018

Orange Art in Progress

Last night, as they were drying, I realized these orange pieces of painted paper were having their moment as an art installation.  They deserved a quick photo.  As for the portrait of Dürer’s father — I am repurposing an old art guide as a scrapbook, using paint that would otherwise dry up on the palette as well as scraps from my collage work.

Thursday, September 20, 2018

Mail Out — Mail In

I’ve been sending out a lot of mail art lately and the best part is, I get all this great stuff in return.   Here are some of the recent pieces received:
  1. Esther Kwan – California
  2. Pamela Gerard– California
  3. Janet Elliott – California
  4. Crackerjack Kid – New Hampshire
  5. Meral Agar– Turkey 
  6. Dori Singh – California
  7. Peter Müller – Germany
  8. Valdor – Catalunya, Spain
  9. Marina Salmaso– Denmark
  10. R.F. Côté– Québec, Canada
  11. Katerina Nikoltsou – Greece 
  12. Dame Mailarta– British Columbia, Canada
  13. Mindaugas  Žuromskas

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Stone Circles in the Mail

I’d like these pieces even if I did not know the story behind them, but I do….
E. Coles just sent me a new series inspired by a visit to the  Castlerigg Stone Circle in Cumbria in North West England.  A Late Bonze Age religious site and art installation inspiring mail art thousands of years later.  Very cool indeed.

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Artist Stamps from Sally Wassink

I recently received some groovy artist stamps from  Sally Wassink.  Part of an on-going collaboration with the  Portland Stamp Company (check out more on their site).

Friday, September 14, 2018

Play Money


You never know what you’ll find in a dollar store, especially if it is a 25 Pesos store in Mexico.  Big stacks of Mexican play money was one of my best discoveries in 2017 — it immediately was incorporated into some mail art I sent from Mexico.  I came home and began sharing the play pesos with other artists for their own mail art.  This summer I sent a new batch of Meximail and included a few faux pesos in each envelope.
What a great surprise when William Mellott incorporated some of the play money and sent it back.  This gets me thinking, I need to start including American play money when I send mail art off to other countries. I hope other artists start sending me some play money from their countries too. Yen, Krona, Pounds, Australian Dollars, I want it all.  And now, off to find a dollar store….

Abstract Art at Wilder Ranch?

I love old farm buildings.  I often feel compelled to grab the camera just for the shapes which remind of me geometric abstract art.  I am sure, by now, some art history student has written a PhD thesis on the Influence of Agricultural Architecture on Abstract Art.  Does Piet Mondrian’s early workoffer us a clue?  Now and then I feel the need to paint one of the buildings I photograph.  This rather straightforward painting is of the old granary at Wilder Ranch State Park near Santa Cruz.

Monday, September 10, 2018

T is for Tofu

Hans Hess has a call for art for letter-themed mail art for an upcoming exhibit.  I have chosen to go for the letter T. 😀

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

Due Date

Recently I acquired  a pile of old due date cards that used to be in the back of library books.  The cards are obsolete.  Most of the books they were once found in have since been decommissioned.  There are date stamps on the some of the cards going back to the 1930s.  Fast forwarding to 2018, I ignored the author, the actual book itself and just took the title.  With the cards I have started adding little paintings that imagine a current book based on a past title.  These are a few of the new series.

Saturday, September 1, 2018

Library Recycling

Start with a cover that is all that remains of old disintegrating book, next take some obsolete due date cards.  The results are a large postcard on the way to Spokane for a library-themed mail art call.

Thursday, August 30, 2018

Florida Hijinks

What to do with a bunch of old instamatic photos from the 1970s. Instamatics were popular point-and-shoot cameras that used square format, 126 film in easy to install cartridges.  My own first camera was an instamatic.  The low quality of the camera and the cheap film has left us with faded snapshots 40 years later.  
Technically these are not “found photos” as I know the source. I ended up with a stack of some of my grandmother’s photos albums.  Albums filled with snapshots from Florida vacations with her friends and coworkers.  My grandmother had a successful careeras a department store buyer and these pictures were taken on well-deserved vacations.  Look closely, she is in some of the shots.  There is a lot of drinking, smoking, and partying going on as well as fishing and lying in the sun.
Because the photos are not family photos, they had no personal, sentimental value for me.  Get out the scissors, reach for the glue!  Here are some of the originals now repurposed in a new series of photo collages.

Monday, August 20, 2018


Last month, when I was in Mexico I picked up these geography-themed loteria sets at a 25 Peso store.  I was trying to think of way to use them in some mail art — then I saw this story about how the Mayans invented a rare shade of blue.  That got me started, it was going to have to be about blue.  A series of pyramids were painted on the backs of the loteria cards.  Too delicate for postcards, they ended up in envelopes. This series is being mailed out this afternoon.

Thursday, August 16, 2018

Awesome Envelopes!

Every now and then you have to just post some of the amazing envelopes that the mail art arrives in.  These are from the mail artists Adrienne Mason, Monica Lee, Crackerjack Kid, Pier Roberto Bassi, Marina Salmaso, Virgo, Eduardo Cardoso, Maria Quiroga and Ed Giecek. 

Friday, August 10, 2018

Collage and Color

Braving throngs of summer tourists on Haight Street, I make my way up to my post office box.  It is always worth the trip, here are just a few of the pieces of mail art that were waiting for me in the last few weeks:
  1. Gregg Biggs – Museum of Unclaimed Ephemera – California
  2. Jennifer Utter – California 
  3. Sagebrush Moderne – California 
  4. Skooter Fein – California 
  5. R.F. Côté— Canada
  6. Katerina Nikoltsou – Greece
  7. Robin Sparrow– New Zelaand
  8. Serse Luigetti – Italy

Monday, July 30, 2018

A Slice of Summer

A Sandia Series of mail art, handmade postcards is off in today’s mail.

Thursday, July 19, 2018

Home from Vacation

After a few weeks of fun down in Mexico, I came home to a big pile of mail. It wasn’t just junk mail and bills, there was plenty of good mail art waiting for me.  The list includes Adrienne Mason’s layered collage, new mail from Argentina, a tattooed hand, an old wallpaper sample repurposed as a postcard by Jennifer Utter, and mystery food embedded and preserved under layers of tape from Pedro Bericat.  I particularly liked Punkie Ebert’s Yes We Do Care  flag postcard – in these times, it is challenging for Americans to feel patriotic about our country.  Punkie reminds us that we will keep resisting until we deliver ourselves from this disaster. Finally, some follow-up from the Beyond Beat show down in Venice that included a poster and a set of artist stamps. Below is the full list of what is shown in this post:   
  1. Adrienne Mason– Canada
  2. Punkie Ebert – California 
  3. William Mellott– Taiwan
  4. Torma Cauli– Hungary
  5. Maria Quiroga – Argentina 
  6. Kathy Barnett – Missouri
  7. Jennifer Utter – California 
  8. Pedro Bericat– Spain
  9. Gregg Biggs – Museum of Unclaimed Ephemera – California
  10. Asli Omur – California 
  11. Beyond Baroque Literary Arts Center– California