Zine Art Gippsland. Mail Art.

Digital Camera

      On the 20th June 2016 the Manna Gum Community House officially launched Zine Art Gippsland by becoming a member of the International Union of Mail Artists (IUOMA), a collective with more than 4356 members posting envelope to A4 size artworks across the world.  IUOMA was born on August 16th 1988 and has its roots in the Fluxus Art Movement.   Fluxus spanned the globe, but its main centre was in New York City and it boasted a number of already internationally renowned artists such as George Maciunas, John Cage, Nam June Paik and Yoko Ono.  The Fluxus Movement took its inspiration from the Dada and Futurist Movements before them giving rise to George Brecht’s comments that ‘in Fluxus there has never been any attempt to agree on aims or methods, individuals with something unnameable in common have simply naturally coalesced to publish and perform their work. Perhaps this feeling is that the bounds of art are much wider than they have conventionally seemed or that art and certain long established bounds are no longer very useful.’

      Fluxus art was a social movement that emerged in the 1950s and 1960s aimed at changing the balance of power in the world.  It was in many ways a response to two World Wars and the threat of a nuclear holocaust brought about by the conflict between superpowers, primarily Russia and the US.  Fluxus built bridges between the conflicting states and Mail Art continues this tradition of peace and friendship today across all nations, races and creeds.

       Fluxus sought to change the history of the world and to make art a centre of personal pleasure, growth and healing.   The main aim of Fluxus artists was to merge boundaries between art and life.   In a moribund post-War climate Fluxus made humour a central tenet of creativity and this would serve to mock the elitism and conservative ‘high art’ that had kept  mainstream artists out of the fashionable contemporary art markets.  Fluxus brought art to the masses and Mail Art continues in this same tradition.

        In keeping with the 1960s revolutionary temper Fluxus put the element of chance at the centre of art and creativity.  Chance meant that one should embark on a piece of work without having a conception of the eventual end. Art is the process of creating, not the finished product.

Mail Art Class at the Manna Gum Community House.

001 (2)                002 (2)Noelle’s Mail Art to Richard Baudet, France.

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Pat’s Colouring-in Mandalas.

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Jenny and Tiger.


Closing date for entries 18th November, 2016.

The Mannagum Community House, Foster has launched a Mail Art Group, which will allow local professional, hobby artists and others to create works to post and exchange on international websites, galleries and in private collections. Contributors who do not wish to be identified can enter under pseudonyms.

We welcome all contributors to our first ‘callout’.

What is Mail Art?

Mail art is an artistic movement centred on decorating envelopes, cards or small scale works and sending them through the postal service in response to callouts.  Local mail art can also be delivered by hand.   Works can be any size up to A 4.  There is no copyright, no costs and there are no returns.  Works are displayed on websites, in galleries or in private collections and sometimes in books or in zine anthologies.   The mail art movement developed out of the Fluxus movement in the 1950s and 60s and it has since grown into a global movement that aims to connect people of all ages and beliefs for the purpose sharing a variety of cultural views and experiences.

What are Zines?

Zines are self-published, single or small-circulation, booklets, papers, or brochures.  Hand-made zines can be sent through the postal system or delivered by hand.  Zines generally contain thoughts and ideas on topics not generally published by the mainstream media. Zines emerged from radical groups and individuals who felt the inability to express themselves through the usual publishing channels.

Mail art and zines are regarded as an expression of care, compassion and self-empowerment, please join us.

Entries to: Mannagum Community House, 33 Station Road. P.O. Box 176, Foster Victoria 3960.

Tel: 5682 1101. Fax 5682 1406. Email mannagum@dcsi.net.au


Julie Elman’s Fear Project.

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  Outsider Art Project // Fear Project – 

• Fear of being alone:
I can relate to the feeling of feeling alone with a crowd of others. On days when I don't think I am really making connections with those around me, I might as well be in a box, isolated, left with my own thoughts. I imagine this feels like being on the outside looking in, but in this visual, I turned it around so that this person is on the inside looking out. The key here is separation, a wall. Boxes tend to show up in my work as a common motif, so of course, the box over the person's head made its way into this piece. The images brings up feelings of being trapped, encased, apart. It could also signify how one's thoughts reverberates in one's own head, bouncing around the confines of the box. The writing I often use in the background of these pieces adds visual texture and a sort-of "mumbling." I know lots of people constantly have these running conversations going on in their heads, so I try to imagine what this particular person (in this case, Hannah) would be saying to herself. Doing this helps me connect with the fear, even if I don't necessarily feel it (or feel it as acutely) as the subject of the piece. The darkness above reminds me of dark clouds looming, following this person wherever she may be.

• Fear after the lights are out:
The image of sheep came to me instantly with this piece. If I had sheep standing on my head, well, that would indeed be a crushing weight. Counting sheep is a common "strategy" in helping oneself to fall asleep (so I've been told! Not sure how people really do this, though). So, sleep and sheep — they go together. Counting all the ways one failed during one's waking hours … That is what this person seems to be doing. "Shoulda, coulda, woulda" comes to mind. I used dark blue along the top of this piece, because it felt sort of storybook-like — threatening, but not overbearingly so. The words written in the background, again, are that running internal dialogue many of us have to cope with. The glitter along the top: I felt compelled to add that because it added a bit of fantasy and hope to this piece. Of course, the sheep stand in the way of truly getting a glimpse of this gold lining in the sky.

• Fear of speaking honestly:
There's definitely a wedge driven between this couple. I placed their faces on opposite ends of this piece. Musical notation is what ties them together. ("Faux harmony" planted that musical seed in my head.) The red background ties them together. But the quality of what's being said and heard is different for each person. Actually, I have no idea what the husband in this pieces is saying (I've never met him). I'd be curious to know what he thinks, or how he feels, about this piece. Does he feel the same way as his wife?

• Fear of losing one’s voice:
This person was preparing for surgery when I did this piece. He's a dynamic individual who relies on his voice to express himself — and so the possibility of losing it was devastating. I divided the piece up into two halves. The left side felt like what was known. Sunny. Good. And then the right side … darker and going into depths unchartered and unexpected. I used the word "passion" on the left side. The middle part, to me, represents a churning, a sense of chaos, a change. The word spitting out of this middle part: "silent," but the letters are mixed up. After I finished this piece, I stepped back and realized that the middle part looked like a fancy ribbon on a gift. Perhaps, in some way, this medical scare was a gift to Steve.

• Fear of being wrongfully imprisoned:
The subject of this piece was actually arrested (and wrongfully so. The charges were later dropped. It all boiled down to a First Amendment issue). I thought of figures in orange prison garb (that's what prisoners in town wear. I live in a small town, and sometimes I see prisoners being escorted from jail to the courthouse). The figures in this piece stand helpless. Again, the boxes encase their heads. The use of the black bars is obvious — cells, locked up, lack of control. To think that a certain percentage of people who are in prison are innocent is very, very scary to me (and others). This is one fear I don't like to dwell on very much. What kind of recourse do innocent people have when they're locked away.
Julie M. Elman is an associate professor in the School of Visual Communication at Ohio University in Athens, where she teaches courses in publication design. She has an MFA in photography from Ohio University and a BFA in commercial art from the University of Dayton (in Ohio). She worked within the newspaper industry for 15 years, as a designer, photojournalist and picture editor. She is co-author of The Newspaper Designer's Handbook, 7th edition, with Tim Harrower (McGraw-Hill, 2012). Elman designed the New York Times best-selling photography book The Rise of Barack Obama (Triumph Books, 2008) for Pete Souza, who is the chief White House photographer. She also designed the book Stories from the Anne Grimes Collection of American Folk Music (Ohio University Press, 2010). She has been working on the Fear Project since February 2012.

Friday Art Group: Foster.

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                                              Work by Pat.

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                                                Bicci and Tiarna.