For the last couple of weeks, I've fallen into a bit of an analog art hole (#TitleOfMySextape) and didn't do a whole lot of digital art stuff. Instead, I started doing more watercolor stickers, which I really like but have zero idea how to price or market, and then when I stumbled on a super-cheap glass plate at Carla, I got back to doing something I loved to do back in school: Monotypes!
Looking back, it's not really surprising how hard I fell for monotypes back when my arts teacher showed it to us the first time: It's a technique that combines artistic intention and skill with, well, a certain amount of physical unpredictability and randomness. It's kinda like traditional media glitchart. It even has that "You're using tools wrong." feel, I mean, a non-reproducible printmaking technique? Drawing, but in a super-round-about way? Painting, but evil?
It's very me.
So I did that a lot and after I had the basic technique figured out again, I figured ... I can make stickers with this, right? Of course I can! It's a messy process and there's still a lot of things that could be improved: For example, while I have shifted from masking tape towards using a mask for monotypes-on-stickerpaper, which means less danger of ripping the paper, positioning the sheet on the mask is still extremely annoying, But still, it's fun and I like quite a few of the results. (It's a bit like I do my glitchart: Throwing loads of stuff at the proverbial wall and seeing what sticks,)
But aaaaaaanyway, this blog post is not actually about any of that. Or at least only marginally, It's about something that has been bothering me for a while and that I have now found a solution for that I like:
For context: I have a deep and abiding appreciation for all things analog and postal: Letters, postcards, the act of sending physical objects around the world, imagining them being handed over from post company to post company and person to person, ...
It fucking rocks!
Now, obviously I'm also a very digital person (#TerminallyOnline), but the internet can't replace the postal service, it just can't. (Miss me with digital postcards and NFT stamps, I hate it and everybody who thought that was a valid way for the post office to stay relevent in the 21st century.) So basically since I started doing glitchart and the whole wider glitchart-but-as-physical-artifact project of Glitchbooks, I looked at letters and postcards and how I can put my stuff on there.
And, in a way,it's super easy ... and super hard. Getting postcards printed is as easy as googling "custom postcards" and finding the nearest printer that doesn't look overly sketchy. They are, generally, pretty cheap, pretty ok quality and absurdly fast, really. I mean, for less than 40ct a piece I can order 300 professionally printed postcards and have them delivered in less than a week. That's, actually, kinda bonkers, when you think about it.
Buuuuut, it comes with a couple of issues: All those postcards would have the same motive on them. Wanna do another design? That's another order. Wanna do 300 different postcards? Better go to moo.com and be willing to spend much more than that. (Never mind that either method needs a substantial up-front investment.) That was, for the most part, never really an option.
So that left doing my own postcards, which comes with a different set of issues. Foremost, the question of material. To actually work as a postcard, ie. both fulfill the emotional, haptic role and the purely functional of "survives transport", a postcard needs to be thick and tough enough. Most postcards you find out there will have paper weights between 250g and 350g per square meter and most are foiled/laminated/laquered on top of that. Getting something like that through most home printers is somewhere between difficult and impossible. (Mine can theoretically do 200g, but for the most part tops out at 160g.) Even the professional laser printers you find in copyshops tend to struggle with paper above 300g, if they take it at all.
So the longest time I had just ... kinda given up on making glitchy postcards.