Getting involved with mail art is easy to do. Mail artists are a growing international bunch. There are various types of mail art which become organized as group that you can join. If you are creative you may be able to create a brand new defined group or genre. Some mail art is exclusively domestic and some is more international in scope.
Things You Will NeedPaper, postcards, Envelopes, stamps, art supplies and almost anything you can legally mail at a post office.
Most mail art and mail artists have taken like fish to water on the internet. It was not like that in the past where almost all connections to other mail artists was though the mail services. To get involved with mail art you just need to do an internet search with search terms "Mail Art Calls". Add to these call words the present year (like 2o10) and you will instantly find the most recent mail art calls. The mail art calls have resquests and requirements and then an address you can use to put your artistic work/contributions to. There are all sorts of themes to choose from and domestic and foreign addresses. It definately costs more to mail items to foreign countries than in the home country. Getting mail from distant foreign and exotic places in return is part of the fun. Many of the art calls are from old pros in the field that go back quite a long time. Mail art calls will say if they provide documentation and or something sent back in return. documentation can be in the form of a book or booklet that may include your contribution in picture form or just your name and address. A lot of mail artists invent mail pen names for themselves and that is an option you can think about.
There are various groups that participate in the mail art process. Some make the stamps their art , some prefer to make letters and envelopes their art, some only like postcards and have that as a specification for participation. Other groups have something going called add and pass. In add and pass you work on the piece of paper art sent and then mail it to the next person on the list. Other mail artist do something akin to mail art chain mail . Some mail art calls are projects and they request a number of duplicate copies of your work so they can include it in books they put together. The mail art calls pages you will find on internet search engines will offer you many different possible ways to participate. Once you start participating you will learn which groups you have affinity with and which people reciprocate sending you mail. Mail art is a good cause to make use of the pretty stamps the post office offers or you can now even make your own legal picture stamps using home computer internet postage sites online.
Once you have tried mailing to mail art calls on the lists then you can add your own call to the list and decide what your theme will be and what terms you will be offering. That is how mail art works today. It used to be a bit more exclusive because there was not world wide web to generate mailing lists to the number of people who can find it today. Mail art can be fun as you will receive many curious items in the mail. Some mail art artists mail really crazy things. One can mail virtually anything. I once mailed leather shoes and that was before stamps were ready to stick on and had to be licked to get them to stick directly to the shoes. I may have been one of the early pioneers of mail art because I have been doing it for decades. So start your internet search for "mail art calls" for this year. You can send mail art to calls and not send them what they ask for but send what ever you want and they maybe happy to mail back to you. There really are no rules . This is art and almost anything goes.
Becoming a mail art artist is quick and easy. The more talented you are the better. Look at existing mail art documentation sites and see famous mail art from the past so you know if your work is original or not before you get started. The international mail art dimension is a way to make friends far far away and even pick up a few curious pen pals.
Tips & Warnings
Once you get involved your problem will be what to do with all the mail art you receive. Mine has gone into old cigar boxes.