Friday, November 21, 2008

First Day of Issue

21 November 2008

Welcome to the blogsite of Cascadia Artpost. Cascadia Artpost represents the formalization of a personal postal art expression for the northwestern part of the United States and larger region that is my home. In view from Seattle, Washington, at times when the clouds lift is the Cascade Mountain range, extending from the Canadian province of British Columbia to the U.S. state of California. If you are within sight of these beautiful mountains, you can consider yourself in the region of Cascadia. Cascadia is the part of the world I mentally and physically inhabit.

When I was a teenager, I collected postage stamps, and twenty years ago acquired a book on the watercolor artistamps of Donald Evans. However, my own interest in designing artistamps and mail-art began in November 2001, when I was organizing a set of photos from a visit to Latvia and accidentally downsized an image on the computer. The panorama from the 27th floor of Hotel Latvia became an intriguing stamp-sized image. I printed a copy of the image on an inkjet printer. I decided to create a faux Latvian set of stamps to decorate the outside of a surprise birthday package for one of my co-workers.

The result was so well received that I decided to keep experimenting with photos and graphic designs in a stamp format. An internet search introduced me to the term "artistamp," and what has been called "the eternal network" of mail artists. Making artistamps was for me an excellent way to synthesize my personal interests in photography, art and graphic design.

Initially I simply used "Cascadia" or "Cascadiapost" in the corner of stamps I created. In August 2002 I chose the name "Cascadia Artpost" and in January 2003 recorded this name as a member of AML, the Artistamp Mailing List, a loose association of mail artists in the U.S. and Canada.

How have artistamps made a difference in my life? Just like any artistic expression, artistamps reinforce personal self-identity by sharing a vision and ideas with others. I value the contacts and the content of postal exchanges over the years, and especially meeting a few of my correspondents in person. The interplay of postal services and the internet have created an opportunity for a network of global democratic expression among at least those who can afford either postage or have access to a computer connection. It is my fervent hope and prayer that our exchanges can also create occasions that help give voice to the visions and ideas those who are unable, for various reasons, to contribute to the network.

There will be more to come at this blog, but for now I'll close with a quote taken from an essay on memory written by an acquaintance in the United Kingdom:

"The fight for a sense of self-identity becomes a fight to make personal memory have a place in the wider social consciousness."