Each mail artist has tools they’d rather not work without – a specific type of glue stick or particular pen for writing, a certain paper or visual element – items which make it easier to get the job done, when it comes to creating. Occasionally, I have one of those “trapped-on-a-desert-island” conversations with other postal-ish friends (don’t you?) When asked, I always state that my rubber stamps are non-negotiable, the thing that I can’t be without, if the ship was sinking and I had to get off.
Mail artists have long used rubber stamps for their work: Arman, Guy Bleus (with his “mail art administration” rubber stamps), and Picasso Gaglione are just a few names that come to mind. Other folks are maestros when it comes to “soft block carving” (they don’t call it “eraser carving” anymore…) – take a look at the work of dumpster divers anonymous and Eraser Carver if you don’t believe me.
Rubber stamps are easy to obtain and easier to use. You don’t have to take a class to learn how to operate a rubber stamp – all skill levels are welcome here. As a portable mark-making device, it is an invaluable tool for mail artists – you can easily get your message across on multiple items, quickly and efficiently.
Which rubber stamps do I find myself using over and over again? An old alphabet set, purchased for me by the Baron (see above). Anything that looks vaguely “official” or bureaucratic. A modern date stamper purchased at Office Depot. And last but not least: a rubber stamp which says “Red Letter Day” in English and Hindi – a gift brought back from a traveling-to-India friend. The weirder the rubber stamp, the more I adore it.
So of course, that begs a question: what kinds of rubber stamps do you have in your arsenals, dear readers? Do you use them in your mail art works? And if you had to pick just one rubber stamp to take with you to that fictional desert island, which would it be?
Time to discuss amongst ourselves!
Some tidbits of interest:
— a great resource for mail artists: River City Rubber Works
–Keith Bates is a fantastic mail art Networker with a great eye for graphic design. He has designed fonts that can be downloaded for free…
–Ruud Janssen’s phenomenal “TAM Rubber Stamp Archive” blog is a great way to see some of the mail art/rubber stamp work in his archive; lots of history and inspiration!