Why Mail Art?
The history of mail art is one of immediacy, intimate and the public , a humility of access.
As visual and social practice artists we desperately need the haptic, the touched, the crafted, the raw and the immediate.
Since so many Oakland artists were laid off from teaching, food industry and cultural institutions jobs, we knew that there was a lot of economic precarity, stress, and need for expression so we thought lots of artists could respond to this simple call. They did.
Time under shelter in place has taken on a different pace and movement; the slowness of making something by hand or sending something by mail, the returning to a past form of communication seemed to match the "out of time space" we have entered.
Social isolation and being lonely for public conversation and street repartee makes all small cues, messages and communications precious.
The act of staking an esoteric cultural site existing outside of the art market in a storefront in our 15th street neighborhood is an act of creative resistance to obliteration of ideas, of color, of diversity
The pandemic is provoking real and imagined shortages, and precariousness of supply chains. Like growing things from seeds, baking bread or talking to neighbors over the back fence, mail art seemed like throwback to meet present need. Holding time and how we value and obtain things is all different now, value systems and time altered.
The Mail Art project is featured in The Art Newspaper and Le Monde
SEND MAIL TO: 349 15th Street, Oakland, Ca 94612
Revelations, Speculations and Emergences
After many months now of global pandemic and living a future we had not imagined, what do we know or imagine? What has been starkly reveled and where are the hints and possibilities? With our third call to artists around this very intertwined globe, we are continuing to build a mail art project to capture this moment we are living through. As an act of mutual support, solidarity and expression–from your experience and hands to our tall storefront windows in the Oakland neighborhood of Dream Farm Commons.
In order to reflect the changes and collective action we are witnessing, we are calling on artists, activists, freelancers, service workers, and front line workers, from our local and international community to send us mail art. We want to hear and share your stories, drawings, writing, photos, anything that can be put into an envelope to share your experiences and reflections of the state of the world. Your mail art will be displayed in the storefront windows of DFC and in a digital catalog on our website. During this time of uncertainty overwhelming the attention economy, we want to take a step back to ground ourselves in the future that we want and to never stop making art.
Please include your name, social media handle, website, email or snail mail address on the back of the piece. You are welcome to include your name and any story of the piece on a 4 x 6 card, or small paper.
The following are two links, sourced from People’s Kitchen Collective, with a growing accumulation of grants, support resources, information, and mutual aid resources for artists, freelancers, service workers and more, in various US cities.
Please reach out with any collaborative ideas or resources to share.
Be kind, be generous, be radical,
Ann, Jess, Carissa, Shilpi, Jeremy & Vanessa