MinXus Mail Bag: Retrospective-In-A-Bag by Jayne Lyons (Lakeville, Minnesota, USA)

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Mail art by Jayne Lyons (Lakeville, Minnesota, USA)

 

Recently Jayne Lyons celebrated her first year in the Eternal Network. This was, we think here at the ranch, a cause for celebration indeed because Jayne Lyons is a Tenderfoot who is emerging as an engaging “mail art persona” & sharing art that crosses a wide spectrum & appeals to many friends.

The significance of one year in the network appears to shrink in comparison to the decades of accomplishment we see in, for example, John M. & C Mehrl Bennett, Richard Canard, CrackerJack Kid, Ficus strangulensis, Sinclair Scripa (Tania), Carl Baker… you get the idea. Yet even a relative veteran knows a year is a long duration (sentence?) in Mail Art Time, which is not conventional time as experienced by “Normals,” as the SubGenius folks say.

Jayne Lyons has made important contributions to Trashpo and DKult; vintage, crafts, folk art-oriented mail art ( known as Mail Art Nouveaux at the Mink Ranch); and now she is involved in vispo & asemics. The pieces on display in this blog are a mailing of scale that provides a convenient retrospective of her work in the network thus far. The pieces are large & numerous.

This is yet another occasion to mourn the cost of mailing art. Once mail art was an inexpensive, egalitarian way to share material art lavishly with an appreciative audience. We understand this is no longer the situation & thus appreciate more this tremendous collection from Jayne Lyons done in classic mail art form.

 

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Stamp collage on the reverse:

 

 

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Mail Art by Jayne Lyons (Minnesota, USA)

 

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“Ode to Sloan” February 27, 2019. By Jayne Lyons

 

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Mail art by Jayne Lyons (includes asemic vispo by De Villo Sloan)

 

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MinXus Mail Bag: Collage by Thea Hollister (Seattle, Washington, USA)

Mail art by Thea Hollister (Seattle, Washington, USA)

A huge “Howdy” goes out to Thea Hollister of Seattle who makes her first appearance upon our humble MinXus-Lynxus blog with two solid, oblong & suitably cryptic pieces of mail art collage & a wonderful envelope.

Of course, we also offer a wink & a secret MinXus handshake to this promising new Tenderfoot. Dark Wall made a point of mentioning how much he liked this work by Thea Hollister. He fished out of the brimming mail bag he fetched from up by the highway on this stunning April day.

 

 

We point out how many Tenderfoots we see joining the network from Seattle. That is only a positive reflection on the cultural climate of that great polis. We also point out that Seattle was a mail art center of great note in the Golden Age of the 80s. So what comes around goes around & all is well in the kingdom, etc. etc.

 

 

And from the Chance Operations Department: Here is a malfunction from a Thea Hollister scan that produced – we think – an interesting collab:

Deepest thanks to Thea Hollister!

 

MinXus Mail Bag: Bonniediva’s “Bon-Zine” (First Edition!) (Gurnee, Illinois, USA)

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Mail art zine by Bonniediva (Gurnee, Illinois, USA)

 

Resuming a theme begun in yesterday’s blog, Bonniediva is another relatively new networker who is receiving faves & raves for her unique vintage-Pop approach to art and – more recently – her FAB Bon-Zine. Bonniediva does not need the humble MinXus-Lynxus to further her praise. In fact, we would gladly nominate her for a Hardest Working Woman in Mail Art Award. Bonniediva’s artwork seems to be sprouting underfoot like marvelous magical mushrooms.

Tenderfoots know we are great fans of zines, having been in the network during at least one golden age of the genre (1980s). So we want to document the contemporary zine, which seems to be alive and thriving. Bonniediva also kindly sent us a first edition of the Bon-Zine. Without reproducing the entire issue, we’ll note its presence in the network.

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The Bon-Zine exhibits the norms of contemporary zines we see; it also has the DIY and charmingly eccentric feel of the classic mail art zines. The Bon-Zine is smaller than the older zines; and it is more self-consciously aesthetic than the earlier zines. The Bon-Zine is also self-aware of its ironies & kitsch; the earlier zines were not. One big difference is that the classic zines used content by many different writers & artists. Mail art was an ideal source of content. Thus, mail art and zines formed a happy union. Today, the zine is more autobiographical, which tends to help establish the persona that each mail artist develops.

We do not believe the high-80s zinesters were particularly cognizant of design. They were pioneers of new copy technology. They were influenced by the crude anti-art of Punk fanzines and posters, but this had not yet hardened into an aesthetic via several generations of art students. Truth be told – we believe – much Punk art and music was produced by people without talent and without the slightest interest in gaining skills. Yet it is the ghost of Punk aesthetic – refined & reformed – that brings life to Bon-Zine.  Another form that persists in Bon-Zine is the collage made populist by Fluxus and mail art.

 

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Mail art zine by Bonniediva

 

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As the 1980s progressed, the number of zines in the USA increased dramatically. They were fascinating and mostly underground publications. By the end of the decade before the internet turned zinesters into bloggers DIY zines were likely in the hundreds. We simply do not know. They exist in collections, archives and entire runs of some can be found online; but our knowledge is partial. We cannot estimate how many have ceen lost, so watch for old zines! Here in the 21st century, we can hopefully be more thorough in our documentation of these amazing productions.

Deepest thanks to Bonniediva!

 

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MinXus Mail Bag: Correspondence Art by Jayne B. Lyons (Lakeville, Minnesota, USA)

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Mail art by Jayne B. Lyons (Lakeville, Minnesota, USA)

Mail art is highly praised for offering its participants a “level playing field” with equal access. Networkers are thrilled to find a receptive audience, collaborators and mutual support from like-minded friends. The notion of the artist working in obscurity and isolation is shattered in the mail art community. Our view at M-L is that mail art has actually delivered on these utopian-seeming promises for a long time. We hope this unique community can endure as we experience rapid change around the globe.

Yet mail art breeds its own “stars,” “overnight sensations” and “popular girls” (as the great poet Tom Clark called them). This is simply human nature. Something essentially human would be lacking in the Eternal Network were we not to have our own heroes.

Here at the Mink Ranch we have become particularly aware of new talents, personalities and just interesting folks emerging in the Eternal Network. We note trends we fancy we see in work that finds its way to our humble mailbag. We remark on both innovations and traditions. Due to time spent on the “long dusty trail” we talk about (some say too much) the “historic figures” still among us and those who – as the DKulters say – “walk with Ray in the Great Landfill.” After all, this is the Eternal Network so we try to stay in touch with those only a boat ride away.

This is sure turning into a Sinclair Scripa style rant for one postcard. Point is, Jayne B. Lyons is certainly a “Popular Girl” in the mail art world these. She has been named a Legend of Trashpo (some say without actually making Trashpo), she has wowed the Lords of Vispo & Asemics with her compositions and she is a fave among the “newbies” that are swelling the ranks of IUOMA.

So here is a very nice card from Jayne B. Lyons that is neither Trashpo nor asemic fireworks, just engaging mail art that is both literary and rooted in folk art – a definite trend in contemporary mail art. Deepest thanks to Jayne B. Lyons!

 

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MinXus Mail Bag: Best Hair Contest “Also-Ran” for Jonathan Disegi (New York City)

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Mail art by Jonathan Disegi (New York City)

 

Those four-years-too-late entries to the MinXus-Lynxus Who Has The Best Hair Contest continue to pour in. We reiterate: The best hair contest ended in 2014 and the marvelous prizes and titles offered at that time have all been awarded, dispersed and Empress Marie Antonette – our fair judge – has departed, never to return.

What was a mystery a week ago is becoming a tragedy as more bright-eyed hopefuls pathetically grasp for a brass ring that is gone. Deepest thanks to Jonathan Disegi – a Tenderfoot whom we do not know – for sending this most captivating entry. (But five pages are missing?)

In 2014, that lofty Aryan scalp would likely have fetched a few mink pelts in the Contest of Dulcimers. Small consolation, we know. But as Shakespeare said, “What shall be the holly glare in the eye of the Ki/ng when he arrives in Leicestershire after the battle/ has done and truncheons are feasting?”

As is our custom, we offer a big “Howdy” and a secret MinXus handshake on this – his first appearance – upon our humble blog. A first appearance at MinXus-Lynxus is usually an occasion for celebration. But we understand that for this new wave of contest entrants, this momentous moment of passage is tinged with disappointment and bitterness. Thus, we have created an “Also-Ran” category for all the losers who are continuing to send entries to the Who Has The Best Hair Contest.

 

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MinXus Mail Bag: Welcome barbargirl (Key West, Florida, USA)

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Mail art by barbargirl (Key West, Florida, USA)

 

A big “Howdy” and a secret MinXus handshake are extended to barbargirl who makes her debut at the humble Mink Ranch with this lovely and beautifully composed, post-card-size collage.

IUOMA-Ning is experiencing yet another wave of new talent. These artists are enriching the network and we are seeing distinctive talents and approaches emerge. We think of barbargirl as part of this new new wave. With time, perhaps we will be able to learn more about her and her art. These artists are proving beyond a doubt that the cynical purveyors of gloom who constantly proclaim the death of mail art are false prophets.

barbargirl’s collage, in addition to revealing an astute eye for powerful imagery, shows some very interesting subtlety and layering with the use of stamps and small fragments. Many of the shapes and lines are asemic-suggestive.

 

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Deepest thanks to barbargirl!

Lost Bonniediva Collage Rediscovered! (Gurnee, Illinois, USA)

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Mail art by Bonniediva (Gurnee, Illinois, USA)

 

Such drama queens we are here at the ranch!

This lovely collage with verses was never “lost” as much as it was “misplaced.”  But making lemon juice from sour cherries, we squeeze this as an opportunity to share a hitherto unseen piece from Mink Ranch fave – the ever-exceptional – Bonniediva! The collage is vintage October 2017. And a fine harvest indeed!

 

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And the envelope:

 

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Deepest thanks to Bonniediva!

 

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