MinXus Mail Bag: “Organized Chaos” by Erin Young (Innisfil, Ontario, Canada)

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Mail art by Erin Young (Innisfil, Ontario, Canada)

A big “Howdy,” a secret MinXus handshake and a wink go out to our new north-of-the border Tenderfoot Erin Young who so kindly sent us this stunning mail art. This is a wonderful abstract piece and roughly post-card-size. Information is included on the reverse side:

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Erin Young is wowing the network with the FAB pieces she is mailing. Based on what we see appearing online, she has a wide-ranging talent. This piece that we are so thrilled to add to the archives explores chaos and order. The colors are wonderful and the work has a tactile, haptic dimension as well. For us, the piece does invoke the idea of chaos; but it has the suggestion of underlying unity and structure as well, especially in terms of shape. Here is a related piece that was also enclosed:

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This was a very helpful inclusion in terms of understanding the process, and note the finger painting. Erin also included a kind note:

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These (above) arrived in an envelope:

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And the reverse:

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Many thanks to Erin Young!

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MinXus Mail Bag: Walmarth Advertising Supplement by Cascadia Artpost (Olympia, Washington, USA) with Mail Art Martha (Beckenham, UK)

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Mail art by Cascadia Artpost aka Jack Lattemann (Olympia, Washington, USA) based on art and concepts by Mail Art Martha (Beckenham, UK) and Diane Keys (Elgin, Illinois, USA)

Cascadia Artpost has helped realize the artistic visions of Mail Art Martha and Diane Keys through marvelous models and now an incredible publication which is currently circulating in the Eternal Network.

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Trashpo and DKult have always promoted an ideology of anti-consumerism and pro-recycling. Trashpo is, after all, a form of recycling. Mail Art Martha was well-known in the network for her trash trolley and use of found material long before she joined forces with DKult. She has helped make DKULTUK one of the best known and most innovative DKult chapters in the world. Mail Art Martha’s Walmarth Corporation is an entertaining and witty parody of corporate, consumer culture. Cascadia Artpost’s painstaking realization of Mail Art Martha’s ideas through detailed, special effects style models makes Walmarth Corporation one of the crowning achievements of Trashpo in the half-decade that it has been producing a large quantity of art.

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For those who believe Trashpo is simply collecting candy bar wrappers on the street and mailing them to people, Cascadia Artpost and Mail Art Martha reveal that the practice yields a wide variety of literary and visual creations. All that is required is imagination. The center section of the Walmarth Advertising Supplement includes usable stickers:

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Both Mail Art Martha and Diane Keys have created numerous Trashpo devices and inventions. Cascadia Artpost references these in the publication and offers new products as well.

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Diane Keys has proposed ideas for a Trashpo and DKult economy aka the D-Konomy, although the specifics of the program are not entirely clear at this time.

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And the back cover of the Walmarth Advertising Supplement:

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We have no doubt that this ingenious work by Cascadia Artpost is one of the great achievements of Trashpo and is destined for a place in Eternal Network history. We also applaud the collaborative nature of the work, which integrates and acknowledges the contributions of Mail Art Martha and Diane Keys, among others.

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Scannerpo by Finn Badger (Columbus, Ohio, USA)

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Spontaneous scannerbed composition by Finn Badger (Columbus, Ohio, USA)

Finn Badger wrote: “I do sometimes think I should get a new scanner, as this one is very temperamental, and getting more and more reluctant to scan. But then every now and again it makes its own art, so I’m more and more reluctant to axe it. And I never think these thoughts near it, since it has a mind of its own, makes its own art, and so who knows what else it might be capable of?I often play around with the scanner art to see what other effects come out.

“Inverted goat envelope/hand.”

MinXus Mail Bag: Cryptic Warhol by Stan Askew (Pasadena, California, USA)

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Mail art by Stan Askew (Pasadena, California, USA)

We are thrilled to share new work recently received from our SoCal fave artist Stan Askew. A main attraction is this gorgeous Andy Warhol collage on sturdy cardboard that showcases a great iteration of Stan Askew’s cryptic symbol system. “Cryptic” definitely describes this particular mailing, as we find an even higher-than-usual dose of the indeterminate. Here is the reverse side of the Warhol collage:

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Next is a retro work. Given the blank card that accompanies it, we can only assume Stan Askew is inviting us to get creative and make some art ourselves. With his art arriving upon our doorstep, we find it easier to gaze and appreciate:

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Also included is some exhibition information. We are not sure if we have more collage material here or some excellent work to ponder (or both). Regardless of how it is interpreted, Stan Askew has an amazing eye for images.

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And the reverse:

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Every aspect of a Stan Askew mailing is top notch:

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Many thanks, as ever, to Stan Askew!

MinXus Mail Bag: Drenched in David Stafford, But Seriously Folks… (Santa Fe, New Mexico, USA)

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Mail-art by David Stafford (Santa Fe, New Mexico, USA)

The inclusion of a pipe-bedecked David Stafford in the holiday card he sent us this year puts us in a mood for a bit of puffery as well as the obligatory, profuse and predictable gushing thanks you have come to expect at MinXus-LynXus.

Conservatively, the mail-art network has existed for 50 years. Anyone with a little knowledge of the history can usually cite someone else who already did it (and better) when something seemingly new appears. David Stafford might well be the exception. We venture to place him as a top satirist working in the network today and strikingly original with few to no precedents.

The envelope he sent contained two postcards, both variations on the Underwater Living Systems piece. Here is the reverse side of the opening scan:

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David Stafford is clearly a skilled graphic artist with a literary bent. This is a powerful combination. His satire can shift quickly from economic, social and political themes to culture and mail-art itself. Indeed, his success (including a small but rabidly supported fan club at the IUOMA), we believe, is due in part to his application of a critical eye to the current mail-art scene. Here is a panel from the second card:

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In these cards, David Stafford has managed to present a searing commentary on the commercialization of the holidays and the artificiality of bourgeois customs. His use of surrealism and the absurd are evident. For one thing, New Mexico is associated with the desert, not oceans. The commentary on the condominiums is extremely subtle and clever: “Underwater” is also a terms for real estate investments gone bad in the wake of the economic disaster that began in the USA in 2008.

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Many thanks to David Stafford for another outstanding year of mail art.

MinXus Mail Bag: We Dig “Excavations #1” – Svenja Wahl’s New Zine (Heidelberg, Germany)

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Cover of Excavations #1 featuring a collage by Svenja Wahl (Heidelberg, Germany)

Svenja Wahl’s Excavations zine produced considerable buzz in the Eternal Network even before the release of the first issue. The drama of the apparent loss of work by liketelevisionsnow (New Hampshire, USA) bound for Excavations in Heidelberg, Germany, intensified the drama and spawned an Excavations-related publication before anyone had glimpsed the zine itself. (liketelevisionsnow’s work ultimately arrived in Germany safely.)

The danger of this kind of hype is that it can raise expectations to unrealistic levels. Svenja Wahl is so respected for her art that these high expectations can be understood. As a result, she experienced some anxiety. Fortunately, dearest Tenderfoots, we are pleased to report that Excavations #1 exceeds our expectations; we are confident it will exceed yours as well. We consider zine culture to be one of our strongest areas of expertise. We testify with confidence Excavations #1 is tremendous.

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The list of contributors is impressive and includes different generations of networkers working in the avant, vispo and collage areas. They tend to be from Germany specifically and Europe generally. A geographic focus often emerges in this type of zine and provides a valuable view of trends concentrated in a particular part of the world. We applaud Svenja Wahl for dedicating the issue to the great Belgian writer and artist Guido Vermeulen (1954-2014).

In case it is difficult to read the scan, contributors to Excavations #1 are Patrizia PC(TICTAC) (Germany); Hanna Baier (Germany); Vittore Barone (aka Vittore Baroni) (Italy); Angela Behrendt (Germany); Eduardo Cardoso (Portugal); Giancarlo Da Lio (Italy); Thorsten Fuhrmann (Germany); Lisa Iversen (USA); Susanna Lakner (Germany); liketelevisionsnow (USA); Peter Muller (Germany); Jurgen Olbrich (Germany); Cheryl Penn (South Africa); Sabine Remy (Germany); Matthew Rose (France); Sandra Simone Schmidt (Germany); De Villo Sloan (USA); Tizianna Baracchi (Italy); Guido Vermeulen (Belgium); and Svenja Wahl.

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Page by Patrizia PC(TICTAC) (Starnberg, Germany) from Excavations #1

Excavations is an assembling zine. Each contributor mailed Svenja Wahl 22 pages (44 panels) of original work, and she assembled them into a zine and distributed them. Svenja Wahl placed the loose pages in handmade folios; the effect is somewhat like a Fluxus box. The pages are highly individualized, so it is very unlikely that any two zines are exactly the same.

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Page by Hannah Baier (Kassel, Germany)

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Page by Vittore Barone (aka Baroni) (Viareggio, Italy)

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Page by Vittore Barone (aka Baroni) (Viareggio, Italy)

Excavations #1 contains approximately 40 pages. We are including representative pages here rather than documenting the entire issue.

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Page in Excavations #1 by Eduardo Cardoso (Sines, Portugal)

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Page by Lisa Iversen aka Skybridge Studios (North Manchester, Indiana, USA)

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Page by Susanna Lakner (Stuttgart, Germany)

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Page by liketelevisionsnow (Tamworth, New Hampshire, USA)

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Page by Cheryl Penn (Kwa Zulu Natal, South Africa)

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Page by Cheryl Penn (Kwa Zulu Natal, South Africa)

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Page by Cheryl Penn (Kwa Zulu Natal, South Africa)

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Page by Cheryl Penn (Kwa Zulu Natal, South Africa)

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Page by Sabine Remy (Dusseldorf, Germany)

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Page from Excavations #1 by Guido Vermeulen (Brussels, Belgium)

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Page by Svenja Wahl (Heidelberg, Germany) in Excavations #1

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Page by Svenja Wahl (Heidelberg, Germany) in Excavations #1

Whether Excavations only produces one or several issues or it becomes an institution, we are sure Excavations #1 will become a classic and it will be revisited again and again by many in the years ahead. We extend congratulations and thanks to Svenja Wahl and all the contributors. Excavations has a blog, so stay tuned:

http://excavations-mag.com/

MinXus Mail Bag: The “Lost” Excavations Collages by liketelevisionsnow with Svenja Wahl (Tamworth, New Hampshire, USA)

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Collage by liketelevisionsnow (Tamworth, New Hampshire, USA)

Fave artist and mail-art friend liketelevisionsnow sent us a package of his beautiful collage works. This mailing is so exceedingly generous and amazing that we can scarcely think how to express our thanks adequately. Fortunately, we can keep the gushing to a minimum as there are back stories to relate we think will help contextualize this work by liketelevisionsnow (ltvs) for Tenderfoots. The opening piece (above) is a gorgeous, original collage mounted on cardboard worthy of instant exhibition. Documentation is included on the back:

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In an accompanying message to us, ltvs wrote: “Thank you for writing the review of the ‘Glitches’ video. It was very well written and very much appreciated. I would like you to have this original collage entitled ‘Auto Suggestion’ as my way of thanking you.” Tenderfoots might recall we provided extensive coverage here at MinXus-Lynxus of the DK glitch art feature in the eminent of Redux: An International Magazine of the Arts:

https://minxuslynxus2.wordpress.com/2014/11/04/redux-an-international-magazine-of-the-arts-features-diane-keys-and-video-by-liketelevisionsnow/

This was a very exciting “Happening” for us to say the least, and it is we who should be heaping ltvs with gifts for including our humble review in such an august publication and such a worthy feature on Diane Keys and glitch art. Regardless, we treasure this wonderful collage. And as if that were not enough, ltvs sent us a truly remarkable publication:

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This beautifully produced “zine” (the term is used tentatively to describe a publication of this quality) contains 21 plates of a series of collages ltvs made for Svenja Wahl’s (Heidelberg, Germany) Excavations zine project. Here is our announcement of the launch of Svenja Wahl’s Excavations project from last summer. (Yes, now – technically – we are talking about a publication by ltvs and separate publications by Svenja Wahl, but they are closely related):

https://minxuslynxus2.wordpress.com/2014/07/29/minxus-mail-bag-collage-by-svenja-wahl-new-zine-launch-heidelberg-germany/

We will provide for you some representative excerpts from Excavations by ltvs as it is not our intention to reproduce the ltvs zine entirely in digital form, but we do very much want to share the art with you:

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We have been able to reconstruct a backstory that provides insight into why and how this series was created. Svenja Wahl has asked each participating artist to mail her approximately 22-28 pages of original content for inclusion in issues of her Excavations zine. ltvs thus created these pieces and mailed them from New Hampshire to Germany. The situation, sadly, became MMM (More Mail-Art Melodrama). Alas, we gather that the hard copies were lost in the postal system. They did not arrive. MIA. Then it was a tragedy. Most artists can relate to the heartbreak and anxiety this would cause for all involved. BUT ltvs had the foresight to keep digital versions of the series (something we should all do always!). He turned near-tragedy into a remarkable project considerably enlarging Svenja Wahl’s Excavations concept.

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Collage by liketelevisionsnow (Tamworth, New Hampshire, USA)

In his letter ltvs further explains: “I’m also sending a recent collection of my collages called ‘Excavations.’ The collages were done on printed copies of Svenja’s piece, which in German was also titled ‘autosuggestion.’ The Excavations were done for a zine that Svenja is working on at present.”

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Due in part to the collaborative nature of the work with Svenja Wahl and the ltvs sensibility, the series has a remarkable serial quality employing and at times working against repetition. Visual syntax is present creating (arguably) an ambiguous but clearly present narrative.

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Again, we deeply appreciate both the original collage and the Excavations publication sent by liketelevisionsnow. We hope we have given Tenderfoots an adequate view of this work without “letting the cat out of the bag” completely. Surely more work from the ltvs/Wahl series will surface elsewhere. We have issues of Svenja Wahl’s Excavations zine to look forward to as well.

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