a message dated 6/29/2006 8:13:52 AM Eastern Daylight Time, mdorich
Just call me Petunia
In Search of an Art Show
28-September: The first two elements of the painting of the year 2008 are in mind. First the hand in the gesture that in the United States is universally known to mean stop but in Iraq is a gesture that means, " Hi !, Come here !". The second will be a Roosevelt dime as the moon.
Portrait of Norman Mailer: On the belly of the fish +/-1985
7-September: The Iraqi Emergency Flag may be finished. Americans can hold it in front of a mirror and see who is responsible for this.
I have been several times asked, "Why did you paint it backwards?" "Because I wanted to", I reply.
1-September: This is a card I didn't mail to a cat I haven't seen in over twenty five years who didn't take his meds and wigged out earning a long hot summer in City Jail. He got out the day I made it. Perhaps now it won't get lost in the mail.
15-August-07: Sometimes, art requires that one walk the razor's edge between painting and disturbing the peace. It may not be my fault that the half dozen miniture poodles next door don't like the sound of my artillery. Having painted with toothpicks and now with a cannon, I can say, with confidence, that it does not matter what your method may be, all that matters is that you employ it. Do something and see what happens.
mdorich has inspired me. I will paint the phrase, "Live Free or Die", in English, backwards on the Iraqi flag. That way, Americans might get the message.
9-Jul-07: The project is an ongoing and evolving process. A new card is to be painted and added to the set of five. I await inspiration and clarification of events. The current flag project is well underway although I have no idea what to do with the 13 paintings. It is the process rather than the product that is important. So long as we strive to do something, something will come our way. You will recognize it when you see it.
28-Apr-07: I have been privileged to communicate with so many people in diverse parts of this country and around the World, I am delighted to know that my paintings are filtering into the hands of people I will never know in places I can not even imagine. I am greatly indebted to those who have given me their trust and allowed me to send the Postal Art Cards into their lives. I am proud that I have been able to transend the mere rattling of a keyboard and demonstrate that there are real people and things on the other side of the computer screen. Perhaps this has all been foolishness but I have had fun and somewhere out there are forty thousand of my paintings. It seems, to me, that I have acomplished something. When these last packs of cards are mailed, I will pursue other interests.
17-Apr-07: Winding Down. This deal is done.
Its been fun. Here are some answers to questions you didn't ask.
Why give them away?
Why did you send nine sets of cards?
Why thirteen sets to people overseas?
26-Mar-07: Mostly through Stumble Upon, we have given 149 packs of 45 cards to individuals who expressed an interest in them. Of those, thirty four 65 card packs have been sent to people outside of the US. While the hope of establishing a self funding system of distribution has not been realized, the dream continues. I am not bitter that only fifteen percent of recipients even bother to replace the postage necessary to mail them the cards. Some have been very kind and have sent stamps and other things of artful interest. It is with that knowledge that I continue. This is not about money. Putting on the individual cigar bands has become tiresome, but in personalizing the gift, we have provided a labor intensive product, made in America, at a price that not even Wal-Mart can match. Where these cards go after arriving at their launch pads in towns, small and large, around America and the World, I can not imagine. I suspect they will be stashed in drawers to be discovered many years from now by the yet unborn. Thirty eight thousand of these things are out there somewhere and from there going somewhere else. The futility of this project may be self evident, but how else is one to send postcards to the future?
4-Mar-07: The difficulty of overcoming people's fear is still a problem. Many folks are unable to understand that it is possible that we may only want to give them something for nothing. In their suspicion, they look for the hidden agenda. Let me say once again: My secret agenda is to get the 600 pounds of postcards out of my house and into your house. I printed them in the mistaken belief that I would be able to sell them. No one would risk selling them and few were willing to buy them. About 200 pounds of cards remain. We persist.
10-Feb-07: A Tribute to a Dead Celebrity Some may find it distasteful but it says what I wanted to say. Have in recent days sent cards Poland, Scotland, Portugal, and The Netherlands. Stamps have been refreshed and the project continues.
I have pledged to send my paintings to every corner of the Earth. I
will keep my pledge. If there are ten people in Iran who would like
thirteen five card sets of Postal Art Cards, let me know and I will
send them via the United States Postal Service.(Airmail Letter Post
4 - 7 Days $9.75)
26-Jan-07: Three folks sent postage for thirteen offers, an official USPS ballot postcard to choose Elvis or the parody he became for a postage stamp, some of the stamps themselves, and an interesting and mysterious machine part.
21-Jan-07: A story in PNAR got picked up by WhatReallyHappened.com. Got a whole lot of traffic and the average of two out of a thousand asked for some cards. Sent twenty sets to a cat in a hollow in West Virginia used by the NSA to listen .
17-Jan-07: In a moment of pique, I was prepared to give up on people and just let this thing simmer. I considered saving the cards that remain and sending them out with cards of 2008, a new painting to be done this fall and winter. For all I know, I may be in an internment camp by then and I don't think that they will allow me to bring my computer or my credit card. Playing with glass and toothpicks will probably be a violation of regulation. So, because this might be our last chance, I will continue to pursue this project until the expense is too much to bear. I will spring for another 10 US Free Offers. I depend on the kindness of strangers and, to date, most have let me down. A few have been wonderfully kind and have sent beautiful and rare stamps, some have sent stamps equal to or exceeding the postage required to send their Postal Art Cards. I got a lovely postcard, six bucks, and a paperback of science fiction porn from a nice lady in England.
January 15, 2007: It is time to make new things.
January 13, 2007: Draloo Arts, Inc is a fully licensed and profoundly unprofitable corporation wholly owned and operated by Michael Steven Woolard. What began as a lark has evolved into another thing. The early goals of this corporation provided the structure and direction necessary to send out large numbers of these cards to an unsuspecting public. I played the game and lost, miserably, some would say because I have given away over 33,000 cards and yet have sold only 185. While it is true that this Corporation has had the cash suction of a tornado and that total gross sales are $36, how is it possible say whether I have won or lost? Perhaps one day this outfit will make a Buck. Till then, I'll take my pay in Fun!
Janurary 8,2007: There remains enough postage
for two Free Offers. After that is gone, the deal is done, at least
in the US. It is a disappointment that so many people choose not to
replace the stamps used to send their mailbox artshows. If some stamps
arrive, we'll keep it going. The project has been time consuming and
expensive. I will continue to send packets to patrons in diverse parts
of the Earth. I need to paint for a while so this project will simmer
on a back burner.
Janurary 6,2007: Thirteen five cards sets of Postal Art Cards arrived safely in Egypt and Russia.
December 29, 2006:A patron in India asks: "how is picture sending project coming along?"
I have been sending out a few packs of cards each week. I like the pace. It allows me to better follow up with the people who get them. Each person gets several sets which they give to friends. I am becoming more interested in sending them to people in foreign lands than sending them to folks in my country. I am waiting to learn whether the cards I sent to people in Egypt and Russia arrive safely. I would like to send some to China and other interesting places. The message is not just what is printed on the cards, it is, more importantly, that the cards exist and that I can send them and that you can receive them without molestation by my or your governments. This is a practical demonstration of what freedom is. It is also a lot of fun.
December 2: Tonight the cards debut in an art show in Seattle. I can not imagine how people will react to these things in that setting. Sixty five card packs have safely arrived in Poland, Romania, Denmark,France, Canada, England, Belgium, Switzerland, and India. They are on the way to Australia. The cards sent to Iceland were held up by the Customs office. They may have rejected the Postal Art Cards on a technical trade issue or some other bureaucratic entanglement. I have not heard from my friend in Iceland and I fear that she may have suffered "Special Rendition" and now languishes in the unfamiliar climate of eastern Cuba. These are exciting times.
November 21: Three people have sent me collections
of vintage US postage stamps. Their generosity is heartwarming. The
artwork of the fifties stamps is much more interesting than the stuff
we have today. They are a rich source of imagery. When I get the time,
I will use them as background images for these pages. We are making
good progress sending the paintings to the ends of the Earth. It seems
that if you ain't playing with fire, you ain't having fun. For the holiday
season I must turn my attention to answering the question my daughter
first asked ten years ago.
November 2, 2006: During October We gave away over 12,000 cards in Operation Trick? or Treat? The three to five spams I get on my mail server have disappeared. I have received no e-mail for several days. Experience tells me that if you send out that many of these paintings, someone will write something.
Draloo writes to a Lady in Indiana:With
a little luck your cards will arrive today in time for Halloween. I
hope you have fun with them.
Is there a difference between seeing them on the screen and holding them in your hands?
Draloo replied: I appreciate your offer to try out local bookstores but I think I am going to concentrate on sending the nine set free offer to individuals who stumble onto this project. I have given away over 31,000 cards. A lot of them are moldering in landfills. Some of them are framed and hanging on people's walls. Many of them are laying in drawers somewhere. I think I will just let this simmer for a while.
10/19/06: At the risk of having great numbers of cards consigned to the trash heap, we have sent large boxes of cigar banded five card sets to art spaces and cafes around the country. Some will perish but some will see the light. Art for art's sake is justification enough. I persist.
10/1/06: Art is making Something out of Nothing. People will see what they want to see. This project will be a success because we make up the rules. It is the artistic community that is the last bastion of fearlessness and freedom in America. While there is still time, we must express ourselves freely. Refuse to be afraid!
9/21/06: We need not search for an art shaw. The art show will find us. The paintings have spread to Europe. They are being exhibited in galleries in the United States. They have been seen in the L.A. Peace Museum. How they found their way there is a mystery. Among the many which now molder in garbage dumps, some have filtered out and are being seen and understood. The truth they contain is more apparent with each passing day. The President has outlawed thoughtcrime. I proudly plead Guilty. As I have said, " If your fear has cost you your freedom to think, then you need not fear losing anything else. You are already a Zombie." .....The message is getting through.
9/8/06: Among the many things that amaze me is that so many people are so suspicious of my motives in trying to give away what truly is wonderful artwork. Of those people who have received these Postal Art Cards, none, that I know of, have been disappointed. I am giving these paintings away because, frankly, in my early delusional enthusiasm I printed fifty two thousand of them thinking that folks might actually buy these things. I have given away over twelve thousand and sold one hundred and eighty five. I think that they are relevant to our nation's current disaster and need to be seen. Also, my wife tires of having four hundred pounds of postcards stacked in the living room.
Historical note: By the time I first heard of Ray Johnson, I already had fifty two thousand Postal Art Cards stacked in the living room. Nineteen years ago I attended a Gauguin exhibition at the National Gallery in D.C. I had been painting on glass for five years when I first saw a windowframe, on the glass of which Gauguin had painted an image.
8/8: I believe that these paintings are more powerful than the impassioned rattlings of a million keyboards. The fact that these paintings affect people viscerally qualifies them as art, bad art perhaps, but art all the same. We are not engaged in a struggle of bad and good. Our fight is for truth
8/3 There is a new Art Show in New Hampshire. I have two bricks, 370 cards, in the fire and may toss in a few more. I have great respect for the performance Art of Mr. Kanning. It is an honor to be in his Art show.
7/28 The Convention Art Show has been declined./ Update 8/8: maybe not!
7/26 I hope to give away 4800 cards at the Veterans for Peace Convention in Seattle next month. The USPS Priority Mail Flat Rate boxes will finally pay off. At one time I actually believed people might buy these things. They can hardly stand to look at them!....."Do it to Julia ! " they scream!
7/16 I believe in the truth of the paintings and will persist in this folly
What truly baffles me is that I could have given away twenty eight thousand Postal Art Cards in all fifty states and in Paris, and that over ten thousand people could have visited this site since May,22, and viewed sixty seven thousand pages, nearly all of which invite comment, and yet not one person has a single question.
Finally a Question in November