Mail Art

Back with insert

I took a class this summer called Introduction to Art:  Concepts and Techniques at Penn State University through Coursera, the free on-line university.  You could submit up to five art projects but you had to do two to get credit for a certificate of accomplishment.  It was a lot of fun.  The readings, videos about artists and the teacher’s demos were great.  Some of the projects were conceptual, which was a good stretch for me.  For instance, selecting an environmental setting to add to, enhancing whatever in the land spoke to you.  I chose a wonderful hole in a big old tree and filled it with shells because it reminded me of how much of the earth was under water at some point and shells appear everywhere as fossils.

The project I enjoyed the most was mail art.  That is the photo above, and here is my Artist Statement.

I Dream of Paris

My process involved taking apart an envelope and copying it on good paper, then collaging over it.  My theme is travel, specifically to Paris.  As a child in a cold, land-locked state, all I dreamed of was traveling to Europe.  I used French ephemera I have collected over the years.   I keep it all in a small suitcase.

The outside of the envelope is decorated with cartoons by Toulouse-Lautrec.  These were from an exhibit at the Art Institute of Chicago.  Since I studied French, a long time ago, I wrote a few sentences on a page of a French language text and pasted it on top.  The inside flap of the envelope is decorated with a road map of the region around Paris and a weather map from a copy of a French newspaper.

The insert is a cancelled passport that I altered with additional ephemera, some from Italy, Hungary and other places I have traveled.  There are a few pictures of bicycles in the insert.  I rode my bike a lot when I was a kid, always thinking about going somewhere far away.

I would like the viewer to think about the fact that every journey starts with a dream and that dreams can become reality.


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