Friday, July 5, 2013

Mail Art

I've always been skeptical of "on-line" classes questioning how can one really learn without  the live classroom setting and interaction with an instructor and support of fellow students. I recently discovered "Coursera" a 100% free and credible website offering classes sponsored by major universities and taught by their professors.  I enrolled in their virtual "Art Concepts" class which was a little off beat but interesting enough to keep my brain active.  Once enrolled in a class, students are able to interact virtually with other students of all ages and backgrounds from around the globe.

One weekly lesson was an introduction to the history and development of "Mail Art" as an artistic genre.  I was surprised to discover how the development of the modern postal system brought about an entirely new means of personal communication.  

Since the beginning of time, people have been communicating with one another through some form of mail. Whether the correspondence was in the form of a story, letter, parcel, or picture, it carried a meaningful message. Throughout the ages, mail has gained power in its ability to make a statement to the masses. During the late 19th and early 20th centuries, envelopes and postcards became tools for social, political, cultural, artistic, and personal expression. 

Vincent Van Gogh's letter to his brother is an example of mail art.  The drawing likely depicts a subject in a Van Gogh painting.

One assignment was to design and assemble our own piece of mail art.  My interpretation of "mail art" represents a story or event from my childhood to be shared with someone who had shared the experience with me.  For instance, picking fruit in an orchard when we were kids -- a nice memory!

Watercolor Notecard insert

Envelope made from junk mail

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