MinXus Mail Bag: More Miss Noma Fun Club Mystery by Ruud Janssen (Breda, Netherlands)

Mail art by Ruud Janssen (Breda, Netherlands)

The volume of mail and considerable time duration involved in the Karnival of Trash meant sidelining some other interesting currents at MinXus-Lynxus, such as the mysterious Miss Noma Fun Club. At long last I am documenting a comprehensive mailing from Ruud Janssen that arrived with a deluge of KoT material. So while this is not exactly “current” it is a great “snapshot in time” from the founder of IUOMA who always sends interesting things. The Miss Noma Fun Club is not the only subject of this mailing, but as you will see it is a theme. I am opening with this great, Ray Johnson-inspired stamp sheet. Here is a closer look:

The ubiquitous mail art cow:

Ruud Janssen’s kind note:

For the duration of the Karnival of Trash (covering about eight months!) I heard nothing from anyone claiming to be Miss Noma nor her fans sending me mail they apparently thought I could pass along to Miss Noma. Will we ever encounter Miss Noma again? I do not know. Miss Noma remains a mystery to me, although some refuse to believe that. The network craze for fan clubs we saw several years ago is slowing down a bit in my estimation. Among the recent fan clubs, fake identities (Karen Eliots, Moan Lisas, Monty Cantsins, etc.) I think Miss Noma remains one of the more interesting characters. Perhaps one day we will know the truth. Unfortunately, I have little to offer.

Ruud Janssen included one of the verbal-visual pieces from that time. I think many will remember this series:

If all of the above were not enough, do not miss the trademark, hand-painted envelope:

As ever, thanks to Ruud Janssen!


MinXus Mail Bag: Origami Theme by Karalie Vest (Molalla, Oregon, USA)

Mail art by Karalie Vest (Molalla, Oregon, USA)

After the long ride of the Karnival of Trash there is a certain homecoming feel to resuming the MinXus Mail Bag feature. Familiarity sometimes comes as a comfort. The end of a long journey leaves us to reflect: What has been gained and lost?

But the point – before I digress hopelessly – is the resumption with this lovely card from a newcomer to our humble blog: Karalie Vest of Oregon. Are these stamps? And we have some Holism play. From a larger perspective, origami appears in mail art often; and it is an excellent match. Like mail art, origami is egalitarian yet can rise to a complex artform. There is a suggestion of minimalism, a joy in simplicity. Karalie Vest manages to integrate origami and mail art perfectly, I think.

Deepest thanks to Karalie Vest!

Karnival of Trash Mail Art Call: Marni Zainodin (Pahang, Malaysia)

Mail art by Marni Zainodin (Pahang, Malaysia)

The Karnival of Trash has produced yet another historic first: This extraordinary Trashpo from Malaysia by Marni Zainodin. This is a large, foldout piece.

Marni Zainodin has created a deeply expressive work using the Trashpo aesthetic and conceptualism.

The reverse side is very interesting, a reflective surface:

Deepest thanks to Marni Zainodin!

Karnival of Trash Mail Art Call: Return of Trashpo Legend Thom Courcelle (Rutland, Vermont, USA)

Mail art by Thom Courcelle (Rutland, Vermont, USA)

Just when you thought it was safe to figuratively swim in the metaphorical sea again, you – dearest Tenderfoot – discover the Karnival of Trash is not only the greatest show on earth, it is also the longest show on earth. We will leave no networker who sent us work undocumented! We did not necessarily save the best for last, but – as I believe was previously promised – the finale of the KoT will be a spectacle! In other words, documentation will continue but on a less regular basis as new projects are worked into the exciting M-L mix.

Here is a work sent by a bonafide, authentic Legend of Trashpo: Thom Courcelle. Thom is a respected “independent” mail artist in his own right today. But he also holds a special place in the hearts of all those who were present in those early, giddy days of Trashpo and DKult. If contemporary Trashpoets are not as familiar with Thom as they are with the various saints and Kult leaders (such as Lisa Lisa, KDJ and St. Mick), then let this be an opportunity to expand horizons and discover the deeper heritage.

Thom Courcelle was, indeed, part of the core group that defined Trashpo and has earned an important place in its history. That he chose the path of the DharmaDaDa and his own more obscure path to truth is of little importance now. Among Kulters, it is our love that transcends all.

Deepest thanks to Thom Courcelle for adding breadth and depth to the KoT.

MinXus Lost Weeked: Painting Cut-Up & Vispo by Cheryl Penn (Durban, South Africa)

Mail art by Cheryl Penn (Durban, South Africa)

Here is a new feature for older work called the “MinXus Lost Weekend.” I have found a large cache of work that, for whatever reason, was never documented (to the best of my knowledge anyway). Actually, I find it hard to believe that this material has eluded the scanner. I will start this irregular feature with some classic and amazing work by Cheryl Penn from the era of the “Authentic Massacre Of the Innocent Image Series.” The long and dusty trail becomes, for a moment, a wistful walk down the memory path. Let’s go back to August 2012.

Belated thanks to Cheryl Penn!





Diane Keys: The Exclusive M-L Interview (Part 3)



M-L: As a member of the Recycling Mail Art group at IUOMA-Ning, Rain Rien Nevermind [a New York Correspondence School veteran] took an interest in you and your work. Some say he was even a mentor to you. Looking back, was your involvement in the Recycling Mail Art group at all formative for you?

DK: In my journey to find kindred spirits, it naturally evolved that I connected with artists like the Nevermind, John and Mehrl Bennett, Richard Canard, Ruud Janssen, Andrew Topel, Tara Verheide, Reid Wood, among others. Many of these people have roots in Ray Johnson’s New York Correspondence School, the “Old” Fluxus, Neoism, visual and concrete poetry. Others are working in that continuum even if they didn’t experience it directly. I did not know this; it was a natural affinity.

“Many of these people have roots in Ray Johnson’s New York Correspondence School, the ‘Old’ Fluxus, Neoism, visual and concrete poetry. Others are working in that continuum even if they didn’t experience it directly. I did not know this; it was a natural affinity.”

I made a found object collage dedicated to Rain Rien that had part of a found sign with the word ‘rain’ in it. I submitted it to a local show on the theme of ‘WATER,’ and I remember the look I got when setting it down alongside the meticulously drawn ocean landscapes and other ‘hotel art,’ as I judged it, that had been submitted by other participants. Yet the online community appreciated it. Rain Rien and his ‘Cow Ear Muffs’ group drew me in, because I love the absurd, parody, non-sensical.

I met DeVillo Sloan by commenting in a Cow Ear Muff discussion thread. He also had a love of creating fictitious, absurd concepts, fake mail art movements and parody. He was talking about the Deletists. Somehow bouncing off of his playful posts, I started a thread about fundraising for a non-profit that would hold funerals for road kill and find alternative sourcing of road kill. I don’t know if mentor is the right word, but I had mad admiration for Rain Rien and felt validated by his unconscious processes.


Diane Keys during the Clothesline Project in Elgin (circa 2010)

M-L: You attended FluxFest 2016 in Chicago. Were you involved in any performances? Did you meet any artists who made an impression on you?

DK: I was finally able to attend FluxFest this past year, something I had wanted to do ever since I first learned about it. It was made easier by the fact that they were meeting at Northwestern University’s’ Mary and Leigh Block Museum of Art for the Charlotte Moorman exhibition. We did Fluxus street performances, and I had decided to bring the entire Trashpo mail art show that I had curated and exhibited at the Elgin City Hall and Green Fest. I brought all the amazing entries in a box and dumped the contest on the ground and let everyone take what interested them so the show could get a second life and be viewed by more people. They were all very encouraging.

I had also decided to do a performance by picking up trash and presenting it to others to see if they considered it art or trash. Many took items to make art out of. I ‘met’ Jonathan Stangroom when he walked by me as I was digging through an on-campus trashcan. He was wearing a bowler hat, so I knew he was a Fluxus person, but he also seemed to  not react to my racooning through garbage in broad daylight.

M-L: You are part of a generation of mail artists that incorporates the internet in their work. You are known as an internet persona as much as a postal persona. How has this impacted your work?

DK: I have created other fictitious worlds. One in particular took off unexpectedly like Dkult, when I was first on the internet, that had nothing to do with art and everything to do with parody and writing. It was my way of working through the effects of living in a world that sexualizes and reduces females. The persona of being a cult leader and trash enthusiast also has some very personal roots in pain. It has impacted my work as I have gotten more deeply involved in making Trashpo than I probably ever would have imagined.

 “The persona of being a cult leader and trash enthusiast also has some very personal roots in pain.”

I don’t actually use much trash in my art these days. I go through phases of using trash and working with ink. I never start with a blank slate. I have white paper, but stain it with coffee, tea, or ink. I make my art in batches and will do this with multiple sheets at a time. This gives me a basic jumping off point to build on. A whole lot of times, it ends up in the trash, but I wait for the ‘happy accidents,’ patterns that form organically that I could never create intentionally.


Catalog cover of one of the first exhibitions including work by Diane Keys