THUMB! mail art

I interrupt my vicarious hitchhiker stories to announce a call for “mail art” on the theme of, what else, the pollex, the primary digit, digitus primus. The thumb. The more I natter to friends about all things thumb, the less odd they find the subject. In fact, several phone and e-mail regularly with ways to appreciate the primary digit I’d never even imagined. Mail art, for instance.

“Depending on who your source is, the practice of mail art began in 1916 when Marcel Duchamp sent a series of artsy postcards to his neighbors … or it really began later, in the 1950s, with …”  (read more at                                                                                                                       

Mail art may include rubber-stamped images or collage, copy-machine art, poetry, sketching, computer art, postage stamps, anything as long as it’s mailed through the postal service. Some say it bloomed brightest during the counter-cultural movement of the ’70s. Others argue that the point of mail art is to go against the popular, so hurray that not everyone and their tax consultant makes mail art any more. In any case, I like it, and so does my friend Joan. If it interests you:

The call:                                                                                                                                 THUMB! Theme: This is a mail art call inviting your creative visual responses to the theme of the “Thumb,” that thick first digit of the human hand. Whether it’s thumbs up, all thumbs, or pull your thumb outta your, this art will explore the various connotations of the thumb, with irony, with humor, or in all seriousness. 

Open Media: collage, photography, painting, drawing, printing, etc.

Format & Size: postcards from 4”x6” (or 10 x 15 cm), up to A5 size about 5 ¾” x 8 1/4” (or 14.8 x 21 cm) maximum.

Documentation: All received works will be exhibited and the artists listed on this blog  Please include your name, mailing address, and email address for acknowledgment and correspondence purposes –we will send a list of participants, and copies of any press coverage of the exhibition.

No fee, no returns: The postcards will become part of the collection of Thumbing Through.

Remember: WE LOVE MAIL ART! We love the concept, the images, the sense of community and feedback it inspires. We look forward to your participation in this project. Questions?

Deadline to be received: June 30, 2008 

Mail to:  Thumb!,  c/o  J. Desmond, PO Box 2287,  Lake Isabella, CA 93240   U.S.A.     


2 thoughts on “THUMB! mail art

  1. Hey, I have a thumb, well actually two. With really little ridges, so small I can hardly see them. It would take a really good thumb reader to interpret them. But they might make good thumb mail art–which I hope you plan to hang with thumb nails. Speaking of which, when are you going to write about the invention of “thumb nails”? That’s gotta be a hot subject, but then I am steeped in cold and flu medicine just now.

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