MinXus Mail Bag: Vispo Collabs by Jim Leftwich and Evan Damerow (Roanoke, Virginia, USA)

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Mail art by Jim Leftwich and Evan Damerow (Roanoke, Virginia, USA)

This summer we received two large packages of mail art from visual poet Jim Leftwich in Roanoke, the first of which (chronologically) we are documenting in this blog. The vast majority of the pieces are collaborations between Jim Leftwich and Evan Damerow. (The exception is one very interesting asemic work at the end.) According to Facebook, Evan Damerow resides in New Zealand. His work was unknown to us before the arrival of this missive.

While Jim Leftwich seems to us inclined toward the prolific naturally, we attribute some of this outpouring of work this summer to the 2015 Marginal Arts Festival. The event seems to have been a great success and a perusal of the documentation will be rewarding to Tenderfoots, no doubt:

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The Anti-Brain Rot mail art call and exhibition also accompanied the festival, which occurred in July (2015). Here is some partial documentation of the entries via C. Mehrl Bennett (Columbus, Ohio, USA):

https://cmehrlbennett.wordpress.com/2015/07/15/the-anti-brain-rot-mailart-exhibit/

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Unless otherwise indicated, all the pieces shown here are Jim Leftwich-Evan Damerow collabs.

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These Leftwich-Damerow collabs hold specific interest to the trashpoets and D-Kulters in the network (many of whom are rabid followers of our humble blog), as Jim Leftwich is acknowledged as having created some of the earliest Trashpo (2005). These pieces (the current work shown here) use found material, have the organic structure so recognizable in most Trashpo and also show the anti-art stance and the On the Road spontaneity of Trashpo composition.

Trashpo is a form of visual poetry. (Many current practitioners are either unaware of or disregard this fact). The pieces documented here make abundant and innovative use of text, text-image associations and juxtapositions, cut up, disruption, asemics and other approaches that are related to poetry and the poetic as well as the tenets of Trashpo rather than mere collage. In short, they are excellent examples. The work transcends Trashpo in many ways yet still offers insights into Trashpo theory and practice for the working trashpoet.

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A bonus in the package was the piece below: “Spirit Writing” by Jim Leftwich (1997), a piece of historical significance because it was made so early in the context of the current thriving and burgeoning asemic movement. Jim Leftwich, however, and as many know, has reservations concerning the use of the term “asemic” and having his own work labeled as asemic writing. So we encourage Tenderfoots to consider the perspective of visual poetry here, although we believe the tide of history is very likely to identify Jim Leftwich as an asemic writer (among other designations):

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A closer look:

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Many thanks to Jim Leftwich and Evan Damerow!

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MinXus Mail Bag: New DKult Doodle Therapy Collab Pages from Rebecca Guyver (Suffolk, UK) with Figgy Guyver & Diane Keys (Elgin, Illinois, USA)

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Mail art by Rebecca Guyver, Figgy Guyver (Suffolk, UK) and Diane Keys (Elgin, Illinois, USA)

Rebecca Guyver’s DKult Doodle Therapy TLPs (Tacky Little Pamphlets) are becoming a phenom in the Eternal Network, especially among trashpoets and Kulters. The contributors’ list is growing and impressive. Even the legendary and enigmatic Meeah Williams (Brooklyn, New York, USA) has contributed to a new edition.

Creation of the doodles is highly collaborative and involves a process similar to the stalwart add-and-pass. Rebecca Guyver kindly sent us this packet of in-process doodles that we are thrilled to be able to share. We also look forward to seeing the completed TLP somewhere down the long & dusty trail. Rebecca Guyver’s note:

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And back to the doodles:

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The envelope is a wonderful bonus with wonderful colours and, apparently, handmade paper:

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And the reverse:

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A close-up:

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Many thanks to Rebecca Guyver, Figgy Guyver, Diane Keys and others who might have contributed. Dark wall is experimenting with his own DKult Doodle Therapy, which he will pass along:

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MinXus Mail Bag: Schwitterspo by Eric Durante (Waldwick, New Jersey, USA)

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Mail art by Erica Durante (Waldwick, New Jersey, USA)

Erica Durante is an awesome correspondent, especially given her gargantuan responsibilities as President of DKult New Jersey (DKULTJER).

So far this summer she has sent us two pieces we are thrilled to share today. The first (above) is mounted on sturdy cardboard. Eric Durante has ventured squarely into the textual-visual realm (and makes an additional connection to music) with both pieces. There is certainly an emphasis on materiality.

Lately in Trashpo circles, there have been discussions about the influence of Kurt Schwitters. Indeed claims have been made Schwitters is the true “Godfather of Trashpo.” A certain faction of trashpoets see themselves aligned with and pledge allegiance to Schwitters, sometimes disavowing other historical connections. Discussions about the relation of Schwitters to Trashpo are not new. Some time ago we proposed the term “Schwitterspo” be adopted as a subset of Trashpo to accommodate this group of Kurt fans, although DKult can never be DKurt.

We are not suggesting Erica Durante is making a conscious homage to Kurt Schwitters and Schwitterspo in these pieces, yet artists frequently channel ideas that are “in the air.” This great mail art builds upon a rich avant tradition from the 20th century that owes a great deal to Schwitters. Erica Durante brings it into the 21st century and makes it uniquely her own.

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An earlier piece received from Erica Durante uses her file card approach but also has the Schwitterspo tonality:

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And the reverse:

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Thanks as ever to Erica Durante.

MinXus Mail Bag: Doodle Therapy for the Great Confusion by Chepin (San Franciso, California, USA)

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Mail art by Chepin (San Francisco, California, USA)

Chepin’s reputation as a gifted and active correspondence artist precedes – in our awareness – her arrival upon our most humble blog. We were surprised and very glad to receive this wonderful postcard-size piece from her. We are equally excited to share it with Tenderfoots. We are not sure about a horizontal or vertical presentation, but we like this angle best. Her kind notes on the reverse side add some interesting information:

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Chepin is a member of the All Things Trashpo group at IUOMA-Ning, which geographically places her in DKULTNOCAL territory. We believe it is possible that this work, then, takes some inspiration from the doodle therapy developed by Diane Keys (Illinois, USA) and Rebecca Guyver (Suffolk, UK). Doodling is prevalent in Trashpo circles these days. Is it possible there was some thought of asemic writing on Chepin’s part? We would not rule it out. The work is at least asemic suggestive.

We will add Chepin’s work as a most original example to the contemporary doodle canon. As for the Great Confusion: That is a term associated with a number of cultural, religious and even political events. We have used it specifically in reference to Neoism. Perhaps Chepin is making that association as well.

Welcome and deepest thanks to Chepin for beautiful and intriguing mail art as well as cryptic and intriguing messages.

MinXus Mail Bag: Collaborative DKult Narrative by res and Tammy Riggins (Clarksville, Tennessee, USA)

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Mail art by res including stamp by Tammy Riggins (Clarksville, Tennessee, USA)

“Trashpo has no future, only a present.”

– Diane Keys

Of course the reigning Queen of Trash Diane Keys never said that; it is a reworking of a quote appropriated from Ray Johnson and altered. The fraudulent quote is, however, an authentic example of the “collaborative narrative” that drives DKult as a mail art activity.

res, a gifted network newcomer who seeks to stay under the radar on the internet (thus the lack of personal info), took to the DKult collective narrative like, as they say, a duck to water with this wonderful, large collage she sent us. In a kind note she informed us: “The center bunny stamp is by Tammy Riggins. She gave me permission to reuse it.” So both res and Tammy Riggins have contributed to the lore of DKult. We want to take this opportunity to extend a biggy “Howdy” and a secret MinXus handshake to both res and Tammy who make on this eventful day their first appearance upon our humble blog.

We are always thrilled to have new artists who are not “insiders” contribute to the DKult narrative. Trashpo is a form of visual poetry made with found material. That requires little explanation and anyone can do it. DKult, we gather, is more mystifying to the uninitiated. Really, it is the equivalent of one of the many mail art fan clubs built around people, objects, activities, etc. For instance, the IUOMA has a Richard Canard Fan Club as well as a Moan Lisa Fan Club. We might have called it the DKFC (Diane Keys Fan Club) only it would be associated with fried chicken and The Colonel (just joking).

DKult differs from a regular fan club due to the “collaborative narrative” where any participant can – in any way they want – contribute to the story of the past, present and future of DKult. This experiment has been going on for five years now with spectacular results and many, many contributions. Unfortunately, the narrative has become so complex, convoluted and contradictory that it is nearly impossible to follow. That probably contributes to the current state of confusion. We have a huge cast of characters, some actual people, some fictional, and some – we are not sure.

res does blaze new trails here, taking DKult back to medieval times. No one has done this before. We have in other DKult narratives references to the Roswell, New Mexico, UFO crash in the 1940s and DK’s psychic ancestors in Russia at the time of Rasputin but nothing further back, as far as we know. We have a clandestine organization named T.O.X.I.S. bent on the destruction of DKult (for some reason) and a place in Mexico called The Clinic where maybe you have been but do not remember. res has also created a work dense with arcane symbols, anachronisms and floating signifiers, which all are staples of the DKult narrative. It is a great contribution.

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Deepest thanks to res and Tammy Riggins!

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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MinXus Mail Bag: “Love is Blind” by the Blessed Father (San Diego, California, USA)

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Mail art by the Blessed Father (San Diego, California, USA)

We have received two fantastic mail art communications from the Blessed Father and his Church of the Right Now, which we have been slow to document due to a general piling up of material at the bottom of the mail bag and the slow summer months. So we extend our apologies to the Blessed Father and other Tenderfoots who, no doubt, daily await the appearance of their work upon our humble blog.

This first piece by the Blessed Father is a conventional-size postcard with some very unconventional material. Sometimes we wonder if our correspondence with this So Cal Holy Roller will result in a shared cell in the Big House. (Suggesting last year that we were “weed” farmers on a very loud envelope had us a bit skittish.)

We can always plead, protest and generally fall back upon the argument that what the Blessed Father is doing is “art.” We believe it is and have – in our West Coast Mail Artist Survey – identified him as an important contemporary figure. One of the Blessed Father’s special talents (in addition to finding excellent models) is stamp making. The reverse side of the card showcases his skill:

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Given the elements of the mail art genre, the persona of the Blessed Father is nearly as important as the art. The Blessed Father is an engaging – and enduring – character. His antics and the Church of Right Now provide numerous narratives that at their core satirize Evangelical Christianity and reveal the all too abundant hypocrisy attached to it. The Blessed Father’s “schtick” indeed seems timeless and (no pun intended) bottomless in terms of rich material. The Blessed Father joins the Church of the Subgenius and more recently DKult along with dozens of other lesser known ranters and temples that form the curious world of mail art religions and philosophies.

Confusion exists concerning the relationship of the Church of the Subgenius and Neoism since they both blossomed in the mail art network at roughly the same time. They were two separate entities on one level, no question. Yet they were also intertwined on a more practical level. For instance, Neoist tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE was named a saint in the Church and a number of his historic performances took place at Church-sponsored events. Thus, the “multiple user identity” concept as well as less noble and artistic scams to raise money involving fake religious groups and scholarship funds seamlessly passed from Neoism to the Church of the Subgenius. This strengthened the already strong tendency in mail art to invent imaginary people, places and organizations. The Blessed Father is a contemporary manifestation right down to his use of a costume.

In a second package, the Blessed Father kindly sent us a T-shirt and we have scanned the primary image on the front:

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The shirt is very high quality. The image, based on the date and subject matter, suggests some earlier iteration of the Blessed Father persona and narrative. R. Crumb comes to mind. The evolution of the Blessed Father from earlier, underground mail art (now very much a vestige of the past) is apparent in this amazing piece. The envelope is a stamp masterpiece:

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Note the nod to “Bob” Dobbs of the Church of the Subgenius. Here is a detail scan of a few of the stamps:

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Deepest thanks, as ever, to the Blessed Father.

 

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