Mail Art
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Mail Art

Flight or Fight?

Orange scribbles contrasted with cyan.

A confession: I actually really hate flying. In fact, I think I would enjoy traveling if not for the flight part of it. I hate the anxiety of packing, I hate the long drive to the airport, I hate the stress and bustle of the airport, I hate the rush to get to the gate when connecting flights arrive late… But despite that, perhaps the destination and all of the joy that it brings justifies the nearly one day of traveling required to get there. The destination, after all, is always the same: my parents’ home country.

Despite the warmth that follows though, I still don’t like flying.

A compilation of images I’ve collected in preparation.

Another confession: I actually… don’t have any magazines with me. As a result, instead of printed materials, I gathered digital photos of locations on a canvas in preparation for the collage-making process. I had also intended to print them out to play around with the physicality of collages, but my printer was malfunctioning, lending to a solely digital collage.

I made a new digital canvas (5 inches by 7), and picked two images that resonated the most with me, namely the pink escalator image and image of the train with orange seats. Despite how calming they appeared, I thought the strength and brightness of the colors evoked a little bit of chaos.

Following along, I cut out large portions of the images, to create a sense of a confined space, working with walls to create a sort of framing for the collage. I then worked to overlay them to capitalize on the stress and anxiety and disorientation that travel tended to give me.

Using layer masks to cut away portions of the base images.

I then proceeded to add scribbles on top of the compiled collage. I primarily focused on feelings, and used bright, vibrant colors to attack the eyes as a way of emulating how offensive flight tends to be to me. It was sort of cathartic in a way, being able to wordlessly express myself as someone subject to flying so often, from home to university.

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This site documents the work of Stanford University students in the 2021 course, “Mail Art.” We are creating art together, remotely, in a series of workshops led by master artists. While we can’t meet in person, these artworks will be our proxies and the USPS will be our gallery.

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Gray Wong

Gray Wong

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