Mail Art Supplies – Andrew Oleksiuk

When I go shopping I keep an eye peeled for mail art supplies – things that I use to repurpose into postcards or for collage for use in my mail art activity. Mail art can be seen as a irreverent commentary on certain other (clears throat) network technologies. Basically mail art supplies tend to be flat or made of thicker paper, stickers, tape or unusual marking devices and paints. Swap-O-Rama offered all but three of the items you see here; I decided to supplement my adventure with a trip to American Science and Surplus. If you’ve never been, ASS is a Chicagoland institution. They have catalog ordering and a website, but their Jefferson Park (Chicago) retail store is a frenzied wonderland of the weird, offering everything from gag gift items like bacon shaped Band-Aids to actual military surplus (like Howitzer shells). Shopping there should be on every artist’s resume. Mail art is a fascinating art form somewhat related to ‘zine publishing of the ’80s. You do have to put a real stamps on objects to legally send them via US post. It helps to know US postal laws for mailing strange objects (in these post-anthrax times). A related art form, artistamps, is also a fascinating parody or subversive commentary on government art.

These are some sort of Mexican game cards. Perhaps someone can explain the game to me. I see them as collage materials, (each could be made into two postcards) although one would have a different association if you are familiar with the specific game or imagery.

These are some sort of Mexican game cards. I see them as collage materials. Each could be made into two postcards. (8 sheets plus card deck, $2.00)

Red tape for collage. For easy to adhere large red sections of a postcard or envelope.

Red tape for collage. For easy to adhere large red sections of a postcard or envelope. ($1.00)

Automobile service tags to be repurposed as postcards. (50 for $2.50)

Automobile service tags to be repurposed as postcards. (50 for $2.50)

Actual Sharpie pens, pack of 24 luscious colors. My testing showed some of them to be quite dead. (pack of 24, $3.00)

Actual Sharpie pens, pack of 24 luscious colors. My testing showed some of them to be quite dead. (pack of 24, $3.00)

Computer labels for address and collage. ($0.03 each)

Computer labels for address and collage. ($0.03 each)

Signs as labels to be repurposed as postcards.

Signs and labels to be repurposed as postcards. ($0.15 and $0.25 each)

Kids marine theme stickers (60 for $2.00)

Kids marine theme stickers (60 for $2.00)

High School Musical Stickers - hey, I like popular culture! (booklet of 80~ stickers $1.00)

High School Musical Stickers - hey, I like popular culture! (booklet of 80~ stickers $1.00)

Neon green nail polish - for when you message has to be really, really green. ($1.00)

Neon green nail polish - for when your message has to be really, really green. ($1.00)

Round sandpaper for use as postcards. These were a tad pricey, but everyone loves getting round sandpaper postcards in the mail. (2 for $2.00)

Round sandpaper for use as postcards. These were a tad pricey, but everyone loves getting round sandpaper postcards in the mail. (2 for $2.00)

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