Thursday, March 24, 2011

Amy Sol and Lost Mail

A little note before I get to Amy. My fear regarding sending such valuable little things via mail was finally realized. I discovered that Israeli illustrator Asaf Hanuka's reply was lost by the U.S. Postal Service two months ago in the forwarding process from my old address. However, after much deliberation, I decided to go out on a limb and ask him to re-create it, which he's kindly agreed to do. Although I am still mourning the loss of the original (part of me wonders if there have been others lost), I've learned that things usually work out for the best. I am excited to see what he sends.


I have a great affection for Amy Sol's work. It probably stems from my love of wood in combination with my appreciation for pop-art that isn't made for shock value. Her works have a sort of gentle wholesome beauty that you can get lost in. Amy's art is distinguished by the fact that it's mostly painted on wood and, according to interviews, she says that the direction of the grain guides the motion within the work itself as well as her choice of paint colors, which are always velvety grays and pastels.

The subject matter is the same: girls and animals and flowers. So often this type of art is created by women because it represents a place within us created in childhood; a sort of Disney princess moment that we'll never see. To put it on a canvas makes it real and to do so over and over never gets tiring. To see it re-imagined by someone else only inspires us more.

Sent: Tell me three facts about yourself.


Friday, January 14, 2011

First Post of the New Year: Saelee Oh

Happy 2011 everyone! Firstly, a HUGE thank you to all the wonderful artists who responded in 2010 and to those who simply received, thank you again for sharing your talent with the world; you are inspirations! Also, thank you to the followers of this blog, especially all of you who left such supportive comments and posted about Mailbag Art Museum on other sites. As of this post, the return rate is now one in three (13/39), which, by the way, is significantly more than I ever expected when I started this project last August (I was shooting for one in five). It just goes to show that no matter how busy we are, it can be pretty hard to resist the prospect of a little lighthearted fun.


Saelee Oh is an L.A. based artist working with autobiographical themes of nature and femininity. Her art has been shown in Jonathan Levine Gallery as well as asian pop-art gallery and magazine Giant Robot and retailer Poketo. She recently worked with several other artists on a public service/art project sponsored by Juxtapoz to improve neighborhoods in Detroit and turn them into art houses. This actually reminded me quite a bit of the Benesse Art Site on the island of Naoshima in Japan, which I visited in 2007. It's nice to know that this same type of project is happening closer to home as well.

Saelee was actually the eighth person to get MBAM mail way back in September. On the back of the card she explains that she has been traveling for the last six months, searching for a new place to live (she documented her adventures richly in the photographs on her blog). For more information about Saelee Oh, I also recommend this interview she did for Miss Omni Media last March.

Sent: "Do you ever find yourself wishing you could live inside your art?"


Friday, December 31, 2010

Leif Parsons

Holding degrees in both philosophy and design, NYC-based Canadian artist Leif Parsons is known for his cleanly detailed illustration work for such companies as Poketo, LA Magazine and Dwell. His show "He looked at her, She looked at it, It looked back" at Wild Project in NYC is a demonstration of a completely different artistic facet, which features collage and spontaneous line-making. This is the style which he chose for his reply. You can view more of his illustration work here. In addition, I recommend taking some time to explore Leif's labyrinthine website.

Sent: "What's your favorite spot in New York City?"

Received: "here"

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Evah Fan & Brendan Monroe

Today's mail is from husband and wife couple Evah Fan and Brendan Monroe in Hägersten, Sweden. These two American artists met at their own gallery showing, shortly after graduating college (Pratt in NY and Art Center in Pasadena, respectively). Here is a great article from Fecal Face featuring a ton of great photos of their L.A studio back in 2007, two years before they moved to Sweden.

Brendan describes his work as "sort of eerie, but not scary, while also making something I think is fairly beautiful" while Evah refers to her primarily "travel-size" art as "scatter-brained fragments (formed) into some sort of naïve narrative". Both are wonderful and completely different, yet somehow complimentary. These two pieces arrived, stickered side-by-side to a piece of cardboard. After seeing them separately here, I feel like they are meant to be viewed together.


Received: Evah Fan

Received: Brendan Monroe

Monday, December 13, 2010

Words of wisdom from the inspiring Sheilah Beckett

Canadian artist Sheilah Beckett is one of the great female illustrators of the mid-century. Entirely self-taught, she became the first female illustrator at Charles E. Cooper, a highly respected advertising art agency in New York in the '40s and '50s. Today, at 97 years old, she is still drawing (with a Wacom tablet no less) and, in 2005, she published "The Six Wives of Henry VIII". Among her other published works are included several Little Golden Books, a series of Gilbert & Sullivan illustrated songbooks and a paperback printing of Voltaire's 'Candide'. If you are curious to learn more about the career of Sheilah Beckett, I recommend this four part post from Leif Peng's wonderful illustration blog.

I first discovered Sheilah's art when I picked up a copy of John Fowles' Cinderella (Little Brown & Co., 1976) at my favorite Half-Price Books in Redmond several years ago. Upon opening it, I discovered the sweetest most elegant black and white line drawings I'd ever seen in a published work. I have studied her use of patterns and her characters' gestures endlessly (I especially love the way she draws hands) and frequently find myself referencing this book in the same way one references an anatomy drawing text.

So, even though her card came back without art, I love that she replied because I consider her something of a personal hero. And because her answer to the question was so lovely.

Sent: "What advice would you give a young illustrator?"


"Skip the waiting.
Drop the knitting.
Take your dreams to the drawing board.
And work, work, work.
Enjoy the battle!
You'll reap the rewards.

The very best of luck,

You're well on your way."

Friday, December 10, 2010


I just replenished my supply of envelopes this afternoon at Paper Source in Bellevue. I absolutely love their stationery; the quality and colors are wonderful and worth the extra cost. Half the fun of creating these pieces is matching the art and the envelopes, so naturally over the course of this project, between the outer envelopes (A2) and the small return envelopes (4 Bar), I have accumulated quite a rainbow of colors. Today I was inspired to buy some metallic papers in the spirit of the season (and because they are shiiiiiiiinnnnnnnnyyyyy).

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Double feature, part two: Melinda Josie

In addition to Shaun Tan's fishy roommate, I received this lovely watercolored Icelandic stamp from Toronto-based illustrator Melinda Josie.

I love the quietness of Melinda's work; that it is painted simply and then given lots of open space to breathe on the page. Also, there is almost a Scandinavian folkloric sense to her design. She recently won the TD Canadian Children's Literature Award (Prix TD de littérature canadienne pour l’enfance et la jeunesse) for Le Géranium, a French-language kids book she illustrated with writer Mélanie Tellier.

Sent: "Where would you like to go?"

Received: "Iceland!"