Postcrossing Blog

News, updates, and all kinds of goodies and stories from the postal world!

Posts tagged "artist"

Some time ago, Audrey (aka belladomanda) from the US sent us a tip about this wonderful paper artist she had stumbled upon. Have a look:

CATERINA ROSSATO - deja vu series of postcards CATERINA ROSSATO - deja vu series of postcards CATERINA ROSSATO - deja vu series of postcards

These stunning landscapes are made by Italian artist Caterina Rossato, who lives in a quiet town north of Venice. We were mesmerised by her intricate sceneries and the way she juxtapose details from dozens of different postcards to create new imaginary worlds. Curious to know more, we reached out to Caterina who kindly agreed to reply to a few questions about her work.

Hi Caterina! Could you tell us a bit more about yourself?

My name is Caterina Rossato and I live in Bassano del Grappa, where I have my base camp. I like to move around, follow multiple projects simultaneously and suddenly fall in love with something that makes me forget what I was doing. I do not like to wait for the right moment and I hate perfection.

On weekends I like to climb mountains or go skiing on the glaciers with my partner. From this height you can see a bigger slice of the world.

CATERINA ROSSATO - deja vu series of postcards
How did you start doing these mini landscapes? What inspires you?

It all started with the idea of breaking down the images and put them together, then with the need to sublimate into a single image multiple points of view or all the photos taken during a trip or a day. I create images in which all possible visuals and temporal variations of an experience are concentrated. They are two-dimensional images but developed in a sculptural way, made of levels, intersections, overlaps and joints. The viewer feels a sense of familiarity and alienation at the same time. Right now I’m working on a project with CNC milling machines that will allow me to combine these fragments into a third dimension.

CATERINA ROSSATO - deja vu series of postcards
And on a more practical level, where do you find all these postcards?

In the case of analog collages, I buy stock of postcards from Ebay or local merchants: about 4000 – 5000 postcards every time. I always try to buy postcards from different areas and I usually change suppliers. When I compose digital collage I use hundreds of photographs taken by me in a specific landscape or I do research on the internet to find what I need, always in really high resolution.

Both analog and digital cutouts are organised in very detailed catalogs: analog clippings are divided into a filing cabinet with many drawers, digital ones go into folders and subfolders on my mac.

CATERINA ROSSATO - deja vu series of postcards
Are you a postcard or letter writer yourself?

For many years I’ve been writing letters and postcards to my grandmother who lives far away from me. I started because I had the need to find a personal way to communicate with her, as she’s not able to send messages by mobile phone and with age her hearing has deteriorated making talking on the phone impossible. Given that other old uncles also live in my grandmother’s building, I started to write to all of them, in order to avoid upsetting anyone… so the arrival of the mail has become a highly anticipated moment, both for me and for them.

Whenever my grandmother receives a postcard she sticks it under the calendar. I’m interested in this shared time devoted to the thought and the gaze.

Can you show us a picture of your workspace, or a mini-landscape work in progress?

CATERINA ROSSATO - studio CATERINA ROSSATO - studio

Thank you Caterina, that was wonderful! 😊 You can find these and other projects of Caterina on her website, caterinarossato.com.

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As lovers of all things snail-mail related, we have a soft spot for postcards featuring postal themes. So naturally, when this particular postcard crossed our paths some time ago, it was an instant favourite!

Postcard featuring Ellen's mailbox

Isn’t it a lovely combination? At the time, we hadn’t realised this particular mailbox actually existed and is was being used daily to receive mail… until one day, someone sent us an email to bring it to our attention! That’s when we learned it belongs to Ellen’s (aka Elfje66) and is hanging outside her studio, in the Dutch village of Zweeloo.

Ellen is a paper artist, and we were happy to talk to her a little bit about her unusual mailbox, and her art works.

Where did the inspiration for your mailbox come from?

In the beginning of 2015 I started to join a 'Stamp my Journal’ project. I fell completely under the spell of making stamp-collages. Since my studio is called El’ Papel (as I am an absolute paper-lover even since I was a little child) I thought it would be great to decorate my mailbox with stamps too!

Ellen and her mailbox

El’ is short for my first name: Ellen and the P from Papel is also the first character of my second name: Peeks. When I started designing and my own company I visited Spain frequently, so that was also a reason for choosing this name. Besides that, I found a lot of insertion in the Spanish culture.

Is it visible from the street? Did other people (or your postman!) notice? What did they say?

Yes, it is visible from the street! When it was placed on the wall our mailman at that time didn’t respond at it at all! I was really disappointed! But he was a moody man… Now we have several mailman (man and woman) and they noticed as soon as we took the mailbox from the wall, as it needs to be redone a bit. Unfortunately most stamps aren’t printed with UV resistant ink :-( So some stamps lost a lot of their color.

Atelier El Papel  mailbox Ellen's postwoman
What do you do, apart from creative mailboxes?

I graduated as graphical & typographical designer. But I work mostly as illustrator, designer of birth announcement cards and making merry paper maché objects (mostly fantasy animals). And I like to upcycle used materials. So stamps fit fairly good with this vision.

I have a website and shop, but unfortunately, the text on my website is in Dutch only… but there are a lot of pictures to take a look at! :-)

Here you also can find some of the Postcrossing cards I designed! Of course these are designs with… stamps. ;-)

Ellen's postcard creations Ellen's postcard creations
How did you find out about Postcrossing?

I remember reading about it in the lovely magazine Flow, but forgot all about it. At some point I noticed a dear (post-)friend of mine showed a lot of foreign cards on her Facebook page. I asked her about this and she told and explained me about Postcrossing. She never should have done, as it is quite addictive ;-) In the meantime I join some Dutch Postcrossing groups on Facebook, big fun! We have meetings, what is very convivial. I now have some special post-friends spread across our little country!

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There’s no place like home… unless you take a tumble and the doctor orders you to stay put for a few months, right? This is what happened to Lynn’s friend Lucy earlier this year. To cheer her up, Lynn enlisted the help of her “other friend” Morris Mouse, who agreed to send Lucy some postcards or letters from his travels.

Turns out, Morris is a great artist, and his missives are beautifully illustrated and filled with witty humour! Have a look:

The Postal Adventures of Morris Mouse The Postal Adventures of Morris Mouse

Morris visits some of his friends around the world, joining cricket matches, conservation studies, or just distracting the odd cat. Everywhere he goes, there seems to be an adventure waiting for him, and he writes Lucy about it on old postcards, letters, book pages and covers… anything he can get his tiny paws on! :)

The Postal Adventures of Morris Mouse

You can catch up with Morris’ delightful missives on the blog Lynn keeps for him at morrismouse.wordpress.com or even get in touch, if you’d like.

We look forward to his next adventures and wish a speedy recovery to Lucy as well! :)

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Raisa (aka Asato) from Russia loved drawing ever since she was a child… but it’s only in the past few years that she decided to take it more seriously. To practice, she started drawing small characters on the postcards she sends…

Raisa's hand-drawn chibi characters Raisa's hand-drawn chibi characters Raisa's hand-drawn chibi characters

… and they turned out great, really brightening up the postcards! :) We were in awe of Raisa’s talent so we decided to ask her some questions about her little drawings.

Your style seems Japanese-inspired… is it so? Are you a fan of anime/manga or Japanese things?

Yes! I read my first manga when I was 22, and it was like a bomb! Since that day I’m a big fan of japanese manga and anime. Moreover, Japanese “chibi” (which means “little”) style is very handful for postcards, and there are a few other reasons. First, there is actually not much space on the postcard for the drawing, especially if you plan to write something beside, so it’s better to draw something really small. A “chibi” is a character with oversized proportions and its big head is a very convenient way to express characters emotions as, literally, there is more space to draw them comparing to a realistic-like character. That makes your character look a bit childish, funny, and really lovely. And this style is not too serious or too complicated and easy to draw.

Raisa's hand-drawn chibi characters Raisa's hand-drawn chibi characters
How do you decide what to draw on each postcard? Do you adapt the theme to the recipient, or focus on what you’re enjoying at the moment?

Of course, it depends mostly on the recipient. Every time I get an address, I start thinking about what to send and what to write… I wish I could send to the receiver some good emotions with my postcard or make it interesting. Drawing helps me a lot, as it’s the way you can easily express your thoughts and emotions or tell something. For example, you can describe in details the national costume, but isn’t it easier to picture it and write few notes? :)

Sometimes people write about their favourite films or books in the profiles, and if I don’t have a postcard that would match them, I can draw a character they really like on the card! It’s also a nice chance for me to share my own favourites, such as “Harry Potter” or “Star Wars” which are so famous. Honestly, I dream to receive a postcard with my favorite characters, but so far, no luck!

Raisa's hand-drawn chibi characters Raisa's hand-drawn chibi characters
What are the member’s reactions when they receive your postcards? Do they appreciate the extra effort?

Thanks to the special Postcrossing’s friendly and kind atmosphere most members write at least “thank you” like for any other postcard :) Some people send long messages where they write how they were glad and excited to see my drawing, some people do not pay special attention to it, some offer to send a card back or to exchange letters. But, any reaction is OK for me, as I don’t want to claim something special back. So long as I enjoy drawing, it’s a pleasure for me! Seriously, I hope just to put a smile on someone’s face.

Raisa's hand-drawn chibi characters

Thank you Raisa, for sharing your lovely drawings with us! If you’re curious, you can see other drawings on her postcard gallery.

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Remember last year, when we wrote about Keri Smith’s new postcard book?

The promotional video Keri did highlighted one postcard in particular: a postcard that was made to be sent back and forth between friends! It sounded like a great idea, and I was itching to give it a try… And just then, PostMuse tweeted this serendipitous message:

I suggested we give it a go, to see if it worked, and she accepted. YAY! I promptly mailed her my card:

Keri Smith's back and forth postcard

Over the course of several months, we sent the same postcard between Berlin and Pittsburgh. With time, it became a sort of tiny journal, telling its story not only on the messages we wrote, but also in its stamps, postal markings, nicks and scratches. It even visited Ex Postal Facto and Postcrossing’s stamp launch in Guernsey!

And now, almost a year later, we’ve finally ran out of space. Here’s how it looks:

Keri Smith's back and forth postcard - now complete!

So, yes, it worked, and it turned out to be a pretty cool postal experiment too — one I can definitely recommend! :)

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