By Cassandra Thomas
There’s a competition in your mailbox. You’ll find large letter stamps and creative talent on its way to the UK, fighting for a chance to be published in an art book, sold at an exhibit or posted on the web.
Mail Me Art (MMA) wants artists to mail them art via stamps and envelopes – next day delivery is acceptable. Participant and winner for May 2009, Jonathan Cusick, 31, mailed MMA a mailman with a special package made of cardboard.
“I wanted to do something different and that would raise a smile,” said Cusick. “I would have loved to have followed my little man along his journey to have seen people’s reactions in the Royal Mail -- I painted their uniform and satchel.”
Darren De Lieto, founder and co-editor of illustration-news portal Little Chimp Society, runs the British-based project. Little Chimp Society is a social network that supports the online community for all artists and gives those artists an opportunity and if doesn’t matter if you’re super talented or low in confidence. Lieto was willing to answer some questions about MMA, but didn’t stay in touch as promised, maybe there’s too much in his inbox.
The inventive mail-art, once notebook doodles, are now found in MMA exhibits being seen by people all over who would have never had the ability to see it – ‘an artist’s vanity.’ Professional and amateur artists, all ages from all over the world, mail in their work on a number of objects ranging from postcards and envelopes to boxes and pieces of wood.
“It’s a place that loves artists of all kinds,” said Tom Kane, 52, creative director of Cheil advertising and June 2009 winner. “I love the fact that any artist can participate, no one is excluded.”
Prizes are given to the winners. The winners get awarded recognition; miscellaneous items (pin badges, Football Hero cards, Tresson vinyl toy, etc.), collectable illustration pieces, a signed copy of “Mail Me Art Going Postal with the World’s Best Illustrators and Designers,” or added to the MMA gallery. Submissions are posted on the website and/or in the exhibit. According to the MMA website, the artists receive 70 percent of the sale value. MMA has hopes of releasing a follow-up book, possibly called “Mail Me More Art” and if the project continues to be successful, they’ll run another exposition.
“It’s so inclusive and accessible,” said Jonathan Hannaby, 30, participant in the MMA project. “You don’t have to be a professional artist to enter and you can be in any part of the world.”