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!

 

Lost Legend Found: Meta-Trashpo by Thom Courcelle (Vermont, USA)

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

 

We’re thrilled to see art by Thom Courcelle circulating in the Eternal Network again after a lengthy absence. We’re even more thrilled that some of his wonderful work found its way to our humble MinXus-Lynxus blog.

We believe Thom Courcelle is a wonderfully inventive & talented artist generally. He is also one who has earned the designation Legend of Trashpo fairly & squarely. Thom Courcelle was part of the extraordinarily hard working & deeply creative group that launched Trashpo & made it a network phenom. His friendship & regard for Diane Keys made him an early & devout Kulter.

So Thom Courcelle ranks among Diane Keys, KDJ, Nancy Bell Scott, Erni Baer, Lucky Pierre, Richard Canard, Borderline Grafix, Jim Leftwich, Gerda Osteneck, Jain Lions, Rebecca Guyver, Mail Art Martha, Svenja Wahl & select others (apologies if we forgot) whom we know today as Legends of Trashpo.

Mail art is intense & time consuming. No matter how much artists love the network, it is not uncommon for them to take breaks often due to life’s changing demands. Some never return. The best we can ever do is be understanding, helpful & let people follow their individual paths & evolution. But it’s always great when someone, especially someone much beloved like Thom Courcelle, returns. We hope he can manage to stay connected because he brings so much to all of us.

 

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Not Just Your Average Jonestown: The Rise of #dsfcult (Dopesick San Francisco)

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Mail art by DSF (Dopesick San Francisco) (aka Michael Kelly) (Plymouth, Massachusetts, USA)

 

We could begin this entry with a pithy, allusive statement such as: “By 2020 every mail artist will have their own cult.”

But any Tenderfoot who grazes even casually in these Elysian Fields of the Mink Ranch knows we are longtime DSF fans & can thus cut to the chase sooner than later. We’ve even named him among the Top 10 Mail Artists Active Today. And Dark Wall says it’s high time we fish in the MinXus Mail Bag for more recent work received from DSF that might have escaped earlier efforts. So here are some examples. And we want to give you an update on this #dsfcult business.

DSF is prolific & hardworking. He has a knack for producing memorable images (usually using the postcard form) & seeing they reach the right recipients on the ground & net for maximum exposure to benefit us all. The cards, stickers etc. are released in what could be considered “editions” with occasional hand alterations.

 

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Now for the Eternal Network news in case you missed it: DSF has now declared himself a cult. Apparently he is not content with the old Ray Johnson notion of fan clubs, but then we’ve all seen the influence & success of DKult for nearly a decade (preceded earlier by the Church of the Subgenius). #dsfcult might easily have the best marketing of them all. You can access a floating, changing body of material easily. You can even participate:

http://picdeer.com/tag/dsfcult

DSF/Michael Kelly has been embraced by DKult and the Trashpoets for some time. Relations remain strong despite this quasi-schism. Diane Keys & her court have no concern a neighbor has declared himself a cult. In fact, it as an inevitable & logical part of the evolution of mail art.

DSF 3.26.2019 - 3Mail art by DSF/Michael Kelly (Plymouth, Massachusetts, USA)

Things have also changed in the DSF line-up due to the sad passage of Karina the Dog who was DSF’s double & artistic inspiration.  We have noted previously the phenom of animals becoming mail art “stars.” Karina the Dog is one of the greats – RIP. In the wake & grief of Karina’s passage, DSF was left to re-invent himself necessarily. What we might be witnessing here is the emergence of a new persona.

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And finally, a few words about DSF we believe are of importance & offer insight into an artist who can be as cryptic & indeterminate as anyone in the network. In previous posts, we have praised DSF for his continuation of the Punk/anti-art stance that gave mail art energy & a new incarnation spanning the 80s into the first half of the 90s. Whether DSF had any connection to the earlier postal wave is unknown to us, but he clearly lived the life of the Marginals.

With the Punk aesthetic came nihilism, angst, alienation & despair, which was yet a continuation of the existential despair that ran through Western culture in the 60s & 70s &, yes, mail art too. BUT in a close examination of DSF’s work you will find an uplifting message about the human spirit & salvation. He is a realist but comes from a philosophical place far different from the despairing Punks of yore. DSF is much more a modern reconsideration of time spent on “Desolation Row” with different conclusions.

Deepest thanks, as ever, to DSF/Michael Kelly!

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Mail Art Triptychs: A Retrospective

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Mail Art triptych by De Villo Sloan (NY, USA) for Karen Champlin (Illinois, USA) (circa 2013). Part of a call by Bifidus Jones (Minnesota, USA)

 

In yesterday’s blog we mentioned the creation of mail art triptychs a few years back & promised to find some examples in the labyrinthine MinXus-Lynxus Archives. Ever true to our dear devoted Tenderfoots, here are some examples from this interesting phase. The artists tend to be folks still active in the current network.

The triptychs were straight-forward three panel affairs (such as the one above) or tri-panel structures associated with the popular surge in artist’s books that was also taking place at that time. These include books with a total of six panels that can stand upright or even cards (ATCs) in sets of three.  Participants were generally aware that other network artists were experimenting with the form.

 

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Mail Art triptychs by Nancy Bell Scott (Maine, USA) (circa August 2013)

 

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Mail art triptych by Carina Granlund (Finland) (circa 2014)

 

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Mail art triptych by Kerri Pullo (Arizona, USA) (2011)

 

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Mail art triptych by Lucky Pierre (South Carolina, USA) (circa 2015)

 

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Mail art triptych by Marie Wintzer (Japan) (circa 2012)

 

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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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