Art School


Mail Art with David Wilson

David Wilson demonstrates that mail can be a powerful and tangible way to connect people. Follow along in this special episode of Art School in collaboration with SFMOMA to learn about collage techniques and make your own mail art to share around the world.

AIRED: January 25, 2017 | 0:05:06

- My name is David Wilson,

and I'm an artist in Oakland, California.

(upbeat music)

I create drawings based in times that I've spent

sitting outside drawing from observation,

and I also organize events that bring artists

and a kind of wide net of creative individuals

together for an event or production of some sort.

I'm currently working on a collaborative project

called DESI.

We are inviting people to send us things in the mail,

and we will then be continuing to produce

these collage print postcards which we send back.

So it's very much in the spirit

of using art to create community.

And so you might find something coming your way

if you send something our way.

It's being hosted right now by the Berkeley Art Museum

Pacific Film Archive,

so today we're gonna be talking about

communication in the form of mail.

Beautiful thing about a piece of mail

is that you have someone's undivided attention,

so you have really a very powerful voice

and also a very focused ear

in that kind of moment of exchange.

There's a lot of ways that you can use this project

to express yourself directly.

You can really send anything in the mail.

Someone sent a coconut with an address and stamp on it.

It's important to think about an approach

that makes sense for you.

It's good to have a set period of time

for creating your collage

because clearly you could spend 10 hours

creating a collage,

or you could spend 10 minutes.

In this case I think 10 minutes is probably more of the fit.

It's good to perhaps give yourself

a focus for your collage.

So for me I decided to focus on colored paper

to cut from,

and then also I recently found

a stack of these Elvis portraits.

I like to kind of just cut out things

a little bit at random,

and then start to combine the collage.

Play around, loosen up,

and then use those materials

and combine them into something.

The goal is to really fill the page.

Just let yourself kind of get loose.

That's part of the pleasure of collage,

is making something out of pieces of something else.

(upbeat music)

Since we're gonna be making a photocopy edition

of this envelope,

everything you do is going to be black and white in the end.

So that will kind of create another layer

of this design.

You can either think that through

and think about contrast,

which is kinda what I'm thinking about here,

how you know darker paper and lighter paper will combine.

Or you could not think about it at all

and just be surprised.

So I actually kinda like how it landed,

so I'll just do a little bit of adjustments.

But in the spirit of kinda the Dada automatic surprise

art form, I'm just gonna kind just go for it.

It's okay if your collage goes beyond the page,

you can always trim it afterwards.

We got some eyes, little pouty Elvis mouth popped in there,

and then a lot of this kind of abstract just shapes

to kinda flow all together.

Just create a black and white photocopy

on a nine by 11 piece of paper.

Photocopy machine has long been used by artists

to create zines,

to create different kinds of underground publications,

or fliers, so we're gonna be using that very simple tool,

but a very powerful one to create an edition

and envelopes.

Photocopy machine is its own layer of the artwork.

So you've taken away the color,

but you've kinda replaced it with

some of this interesting tone.

I think it's always nice when you open it up,

rather than just seeing the blank paper,

you see a little extra design.

I'm actually going to run this through a second time,

and print the design on the back side.

You can actually take an envelope and take it apart

and trace it as a template.

Place it on the center and just give it a quick trace.

Since this is a handmade object,

doesn't have to be precise.

And you just cut it out.

You have your template cut out and ready to get folded.

So I fold in the sides,

fold up the bottom,

fold down the top,

and now with my glue stick,

put a little glue here.

Now you got yourself a sweet envelope.

Connect with someone you know,

maybe send some support to someone

that is is need of it right now.

Perhaps you want to use your voice

and share your current thoughts about the world

to your elected officials.

You can send something to President-Elect Trump,

let him know what's on your mind right now.

There's a lot of options.

I hope to see you in the mail.


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