Friday, January 21, 2011

Chuck - Seattle's Best Photo Guy PFF #36

It works both ways, Chuck. This all started about two years ago this Spring when I started doing what I always wanted to do - ART - as a second career. The full story behind the art work included on this piece of mail art is covered in my post in June of 2009 called First Cup Of Fascination. Chuck also covered it pretty well this AM on his blog - One A Day - Mostly Seattle.

I paid a visit to Seattle in late January two years ago to make a trip North into Canada to spend an afternoon with Author and Artist Extraordinaire, Nick Bantock.  How it came to pass that I would spend an afternoon in his studio is a story in itself but not the subject of this post. The subject of this post is an artist with a camera lens who just happens to be my brother-in-law.

One of the first (if not the first) piece of old paper that I acquired was a 'book' of sheet music that contained four pieces of music for the Pianoforte - the forerunner of the Piano. Contained in the book were four songs about Venice, Italy, the first of which was entitled 'Dawn'. I knew that Chuck had made a trip to Italy several years ago and had taken many photographs of Venice. When I asked him if he had any photographs of Venice, he pointed me to his web site so that I could look at what he had available. I found a photograph which I knew would be perfect for a model - a cup of coffee.

As I mentioned earlier, Chuck posted a scan of this piece of mail art this AM on his blog. As a matter of fact, I grabbed the image from his post because this is the first time I've been able to show you  what a piece actually looks like after it's traveled through the mail system.

I also would like to thank Jennie Hinchcliff, one of the co-authors of Good Mail Day for the idea of using an unthreaded sewing machine to create perforations for stamps of my own design.

 I'm off next week for another trip to Seattle to: see Chuck and his wife (my sister) and to shop for old paper. And of course, I'll have to sip some coffee from Seattle's Best (AKA Photo Guy) and Starbucks while I'm there. And oh yes - I'll be looking at photographs for models for more mail and Old Paper Art while I'm there.

And please stop by Beth Niquette's The Best Hearts Are Crunchy, view some of the other participants blogs, and thank her for once again hosting Postcard Friendly Friday.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Buster Brown & Tige

In 1902 successful Sunday Cartoonist Richard Outcault, who developed the comic strip character The Yellow Kid, came up with a new character - his name was Buster, a little rich kid with a pompadour haircut and a (talking) dog named Tige. Bottom line is that Tige is believed to be the first talking animal in the comic strips, and it largely went unnoticed.  Buster had no last name - until 1904. That year at the St. Louis Exposition, Outcault sold the licensing rights to Buster to the Brown Shoe Company.

In June of 2009 I published a post of a piece of letterhead from the Brown Shoe Company upon which I had placed an image of a piece of sheet music for which Richard Outcault had drawn his version of the song title: the Buster One Step That was a letterhead.

This billhead is dated August 22, 1907. The Brown Shoe Company was not yet incorporating Buster into their marketing, but Outcault was making Buster more human, better to appeal to people as just another kid. The Company virtually adopted Buster and gave him a last name. They then sent kids out across the country with bulldogs, dressed just like Buster and Tige appear here. They made guest appearances at Brown Company shoe stores all over the U.S.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Good Mail Day Thank You's PFF #35

Somewhere in the recent past in Seth Apter's Studioscapes Project, I found a reference on one of the featured artist's blogs to a Mail Art Tribute contest for Nick Bantock. I jumped at the chance and I'm glad I did when I did, because there were only two days left for submitting mail art when I discovered the contest and read the rules.

Several months ago (see my post of September 2nd, PFF #27), Seth had also presented a Freebie contest for those folks who commented on one of his posts. The post was called the Book Guild and was a listing of favorite books of over 150 artists, myself included. The prize was a signed copy of a book called Good Mail Day, by Jennie Hinchcliff and Carolee Gilligan-Wheeler, plus a piece of Mail Art by Jennie herself. A most excellent book judging by the title, and I would have dearly loved to have acquired an autographed copy for my slim library, which includes every book that Nick has authored except for one - the Capolan Artbox. I was a bit down in the dumps when I discovered I hadn't won the book (Have YOU ever won anything?), and I put the book purchase on the back burner.

While Christmas can always be considered a Good Mail Day, in my case, my oldest sister (Penny) and youngest (Judy) collaborated (and probably conspired as well) to purchase a copy for me as a Christmas gift.  I devoured it. Plenty of really neat ideas, some labels and cards to be used, and at least one really helpful hint for me which I had not considered using - a sewing machine with no thread in it to be used to create perforations for your own stamps. Up to this point, I'd been making due with an Xacto blade, which doesn't result in the same type of perforation, and I'd never really been happy with this method.

To see the results of my Tribute Entry, visit A Tribute to Nick Bantock Mail Art. My piece garnered third place, page three in the book to be published, and a copy of the book to put in my library. The piece displayed on the web site doesn't include the removable label which was hiding the number that needed to be included as one of the criteria for valid entries to the contest. The piece is not entirely my own art work, but I did do Nick's initials in Gold Leaf, I used several pieces of ephemera I'd obtained from Mary Green, a chop I'd made myself from an eraser, and a couple of stamps. I also used a reprint of a piece of old paper that I'd put a parrot on (The Parrot Confectionery), and a not-so-old playing card which I'd found on the street - all perfect elements for a piece of Nick Bantock Mail Art.

I don't know where the mail art avenue is going to lead me. Mail art is primarily exchanged artist to artist, although I've been selling some of mine along the way. My envelope art was selling off the wall in a local gallery over twenty years ago, and although I'm no longer associated with a gallery, I continue to mat and frame some of it because people want it and enjoy it. I am going to do another piece of mail art for the Quick Finish event at the Western Heritage Artists show in Great Falls in March, but that's the subject of future posts as we get closer to showtime.

If you like the view here, take the time to visit Beth Niquette at The Best Hearts Are Crunchy for more inspiring, colorful, witty, wacky mail art and postcard images for Postcard Friendly Friday!