Mail art – or correspondence art – is not new. The idea of decorating a postcard, envelope or package and sending it through the post was originally made popular by the late Pop Art pioneer Ray Johnson, arguably the godfather of the movement. One recent venture, Mail Me Art, has proved particularly bountiful, with submissions winging their way to UK-based Darren Di Lieto from North and South America, continental Europe, Asia, Australia and New Zealand. Di Lieto, founder of the Little Chimp Society illustration website, launched Mail Me Art more than a year ago, and it snowballed into more than 600 submissions before it closed. Di Lieto didn’t impose any restrictions on contributors, including professional, as well as amateur and leisure artists and illustrators. Submissions landing in Di Lieto’s letterbox ranged from 8cm-long postcards to 1m-long pieces of cardboard. There are lavish parcels, pieces of wood, intricate illustrations and an array of doodles, including work from illustrators such as Michael Slack, Jon Burgerman, Kristian Olson, Catalina Estrada and Jeff Miracola. One of Di Lieto’s favourites is a piece by Dan May. ‘I can’t believe it made it all the way from the US without being stolen,’ writes Di Lieto on his website. An exhibition of the work opens next week, with proceeds going back to illustrators, and a book featuring 200 pieces is published to coincide with the show. With Mail Me Art Two due to open soon, you’d better dig out the brown paper packages and string.
The Mail Me Art exhibition runs from 3-9 April at the Red Gate Gallery, 209a Coldharbour Lane, London SW9.
Mail Me Art by Darren Di Lieto is published by How Books