Are Buddy Jams a New Mail Art Form? ATCs by Erin Young (Innisfil, Ontario, Canada)

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

An interesting development in contemporary mail art is the growing popularity of the Buddy Jam. Canadian artist Erin Young, an energetic and enthusiastic jammer, sent us a package with an invitation to participate in this popular form of collab. We will give it a try!

IUOMA-Ning is the center of Buddy Jam activity. You can see jammer creations and find exchange information in Karen Champlin’s ATC Rebels (Artist Trading Card) group. Dear friend and mail art legend Karen Champlin started the group several years ago and has since moved on. The very capable and talented jammers have established their headquarters in this digital space that Karen first established. We conjecture Karen Champlin is thrilled that she is connected to yet another wave of network innovation.

From what we can observe, the Buddy Jam is rooted in the ATC. A traditionalist might see the Buddy Jam concept as simply an ATC variant. Practitioners, however, have transformed the already popular ATC form into a collaborative process. The old ATCs were used as an ego-centered promotion of an individual artist, so the jammers have made a clear ideological break. The Buddy Jam process is simple, and Erin Young explains it eloquently in her kind note:

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Here is the reverse side of the opening scan:

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Erin Young also included a second Buddy Jam kit:

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Here is a view of all four cards she sent. Each one is approximately 2 X 3 inches, so the format is relatively small.

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And the envelope:

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Many thanks to Erin Young! We plan on turning these around quickly.


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