As described by an admin at a local college's art department, "Mail art is simply art that has been sent through the mail, but generally is made knowing that the piece will journey via the post. Painting, drawing, collage, photography, and writing can all easily be mail art. Stamps, how the piece is addressed, and the marks made by the post office all add to the final art that arrives at its destination." I'm mailing this postcard to that college in order to be part of a big Mail Art show. I hope it makes it there in good shape, but if it doesn't, that's part of the randomness of the process.
You'll notice that I've used both paper and plastic windows from my security envelope stash to make this. The fish is from an old guide to salt-water fish of Florida. The backing is a painted piece of cereal box cardboard.
You don't need an art show for a reason to send out mail art; you just need a willing partner who lives at a different address. (Or, I suppose you could mail something to your child, and your child to you, if you drop off the art at a mailbox... just make and mail it secretly, so your recipient will be surprised.) Now that almost all correspondence is done online, it is truly a thrill to get something nice (not a bill, not junk) in the mail. Pick a cousin or an aunt or a camp friend, and say you'll send them art if they'll send you some back. It's a visuals-based version of a pen pal. An art pal! I know I find it easier to draw or paint something than write a small-talky letter.
I'm Debbie Way, an artist and writer who enjoys making things.