THE OFFICIAL SITE COPYRIGHT (c) RESHMA VALLIAPPAN. 2017 ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. DMAE.
So you have come to this post after my update on obtaining my work.
But, what exactly is Mail Art and what would you be getting from me?
So here are a couple of questions and answers that would help you understand why I am starting this initiative.
1. What is Mail Art?
Mail art (also known as Postal art and Correspondence art) is a populist artistic movement centered around sending small scale works through the postal service. It initially developed out of the Fluxus movement in the 1950s and 60s, though it has since developed into a global movement that continues to the present.
Media commonly used in mail art include postcards, paper, a collage of found or recycled images and objects, rubber stamps, artist-created stamps (called artistamps), and paint, but can also include music, sound art, poetry, or anything that can be put in an envelope and sent via post. Mail art is considered art once it is dispatched. Mail artists regularly call for thematic or topical mail art for use in (often unjuried) exhibition. Ref:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mail_art
2. Why am I starting this art initiative?
Let’s see, some of you are probably going to be wondering why the price is really cheap compared to my other art prices. Nonetheless, many are going to be thrilled that they can get their hands on my work. And I would be thrilled myself to be able to share some innermost fears, vulnerabilities, thoughts, intimacy, secrets, desires, dreams, visions, past, future, present…
Ever since we have begun using emails, skype, whatsapp, and all those other techno communication methods, traditional means of communicating have become a marginalized section just as how online book shopping have replaced the traditional bookstore. Just imagine how Julius would have felt when Cleopatra was delivered rolled up in a carpet. Do you remember your first letter from a friend or a pen pal or a secret admirer? Or just a post card saying hello, thinking of you, and all those cheesy things…
I remember all of mine. How I jumped with excitement the minute the postman came. The excitement as I ran in and hurriedly opened my letter but careful enough to not destroy the content. The smell of the paper and ink. Some were washed off due to the rain..but I remember all of this more than I remember how an email felt.
And this brings me to human connection that we have lost.
I do not know what it is like for others. But I do know that I grew up having many distant pen-pals, communicating through snail mails. And I could tell them things which I otherwise would not share with anyone around me. I guess the distance and the fact the person was a stranger made it easier for me.
But what I am doing here is going a step ahead. I don’t consider myself a stranger to many and vice versa. I do share many of these moments in person, at lectures, by talking, through my written works, facebook status…I’ve learnt to become an open book which leaves me at a vulnerable position. But so far, I have seen more benefits out of doing so. It’s made it easier for others to see that my label does not make me any different than what they are.
I once gave a lecture on Art and Ability from a disability point of view. And from the experience of a person with psycho-social disability/mental illness. One of the questions I had to ponder upon was ‘Why do artistic people with severe mental illness kill themselves?’ Or we just end up hearing about them after they are dead? I just had a few examples on my mind that day.
Why? Why, with all that creativity that kept them alive they still chose to take their own lives? Of course, society says ‘Oh well, that is what crazy people do after all’.
But I yet asked myself…why why why…yes, I know that feeling of wanting to take my own life. I live with it everyday and sometimes it just seems that I am on the verge of doing it and have done so many times before but survived it…or more so failed the attempt.
It’s been about 2 years that I asked that question. No one had an answer that could satisfy me. But the other day, I had an eye opener. I realized that the answer was always there. It’s called ‘aloneness’. Every day, many of us lie to ourselves that we like being alone and that we have learnt to be okay with it. We try believing so much that we are okay with it but its plain BULL SHIT. Unless, we truly are those ‘enlightened beings’ as constructed by society, we are always going to feel alone and not be okay with the feeling of it. And we can force ourselves to believe otherwise…but the day truth decides to show itself or we decide to see it, we come crashing down to realize the hypocrisy we have constructed for ourselves…again out of some social fad that has suddenly sprung up. Really being okay with being alone takes a lot more than just practice. I have felt alone my entire life and continue doing so no matter how much someone might tell me otherwise. No matter how many close friends I develop. No matter how many colourful masks I keep wearing. No matter how much philosophical bull shit I throw at myself to tell myself ‘It is okay’ when it is actually not.
So this brings me back to my initiative. I need a reason to wake up everyday. Very often I am flooded by suicidal thoughts which are difficult to fight against especially because they turn out to be the side-effects of my anti-epileptics. With these come another range of overwhelming photo-sensitivity, increase in unwanted voices and paranoia. What I realized has been keeping me going is the human connection I have managed to build with a few people on a daily basis.
No doubt I love being alone, but yet again the paradox of my ‘illness’ is being alone can be dangerous to myself. I need to be in touch with the real around me and yet have my own space.
On the other hand, I use art for advocacy in my work. Thus, this step would be taking it even further. Remember how Vincent Van Gogh wrote to his brother? Well, I have many family members I could choose to write too, but I wouldn’t. I am trying to reach out to the world. And this would be just another way that my voice could be heard…perhaps then making it a possibility for others alike to be heard.
The End. I shall not ramble on any further and bore you.
Here is what you shall be receiving:
1. A Mail Art from me. It would be a fairly simple drawing of my current state of being/experience. It could be dark, funny, crazy, nonsense, philosophical, or simply meaningless.
2. What you need to do?
Send an email to: email@example.com
Your message should contain :
Subject: Order for Mail Art
and Your Full Name & Your postal address <—otherwise I can’t mail you! Do not worry your address will not be disclosed to anyone.
The payment details will be sent to you.
Peace and Color to all of you!
Here’s an example of something I just created which reminded me when I was 11 years old and Fido Dido was my favourite cartoon hero. (No you would not be getting this particular one. You would have noticed the variety of styles I have – thus its purely going to depend on random selection)