Little did he realise that by today, his personal network would have led him to connect with more than 1000 illustrators from around the world, and receive more than 1300 pieces of art thanks to his clever Mail Me Art initiative.
The project asks illustrators to submit work in which the medium, in this case, an envelope or a box, acts as the final work of art.
‘Unlike a traditional letter or parcel, it is intended to be received and admired for its own sake,’ says Di Lieto, who also founded The Little Chimp Society illustration site.
‘While a normal item of mail fulfils a practical purpose such as delivering a bill, a letter from a loved one, a notice from an employer, or a gift sent by a friend, with mail art the box or envelope becomes the centre of attention instead.’
The project has so far seen the submissions form two books and two exhibitions, and this month sees the opening of the third show, at London’s Framers Gallery.
The theme of the exhibition is Short & Sweet, and 240 pieces of mail art from 24 different countries will be on show. Featured artists include Jon Burgerman, Jeff Miracola, Linzie Hunter, Rod Hunt and Steve Simpson.
The show will launch the Short & Sweet mail art book, which will be available to buy, and all pieces are also for sale, with charities Animal Aid, WaterAid and the Teenage Cancer Trust each getting a percentage of the money raised.
The next Mail Me Art project is based on the theme Open All Hours, with another exhibition and book due to launch in 2015. To find out more about submitting your own work click here
Di Lieto says, ‘The artwork is supposed to be fun and to a certain extent disposable, not an in-depth look into the soul of the artist. I don’t care what anyone says, the most sensational piece of artwork can be created for no reason other than to look interesting.
‘It doesn’t need to have a meaning or a reason behind it, or even carry a message!’
Mail Me Art: Short & Sweet runs from 30 July – 3 August at The Framers Gallery, 36 Windmill Street, London W1T. For more on the exhibition and the project visit http://www.mailmeart.com