THE MAIL-INTERVIEW WITH
RUUD JANSSEN.

BY
MARK GREENFIELD

© 1997 TAM-PUBLICATIONS NETHERLANDS

TAM970163

13612328_10208864865032254_3207013685129866271_n

THE MAIL-INTERVIEW WITH RUUD JANSSEN.
BY MARK GREENFIELD

(During the interview I was doing myself with Mark Greenfield, he asked me if he could interview me in return. He started with the interview just after I published his interview – TAM-Publications # 960116 , and here is the final result. The text was printed on my computer. I sent a print-out of the text to Mark Greenfield to make it possible to do the layout. The printing & distribution was done by TAM-Publications in Tilburg, Netherlands)

Started on: 6-3-1996

MG: Dear Ruud, do you consider mail art to be an underground “art form” opposed to established art forms?

Reply on 16-3-1996

RJ : Such a question raises another question in my head. Is mail art art? Is networking art? Of course the established art forums are mostly avoided by the mail artists, because they select for exhibitions, they ask fees for entering an art show, they in general select who they think is important enough to expose to an audience. This is what makes the mail artists tick. They want to have control over their own art. But this “art” is not the traditional art. It all has to do with communication.

To speak of myself, I never had a traditional art-education at an Art-University or so, although in the last years I have been doing quite specific courses to expand my knowledge of techniques (like e.g. multi-colored silkscreen-printing). I did my “art-lessons” through the networking I have been doing. Communicating with people that have to live from what their art brings them as well. In mail art there are a lot of participants that do their mail art besides a completely different job. Mail art can be practiced in that many forms, and yes, it doesn’t follow the established art with their rules. However they are not opposites. My first mail art exhibition was in an official Gallery, the “Melkweg” 1985, in Amsterdam. I had complete freedom in the presentation, and they even paid my costs and helped me with the proces; the invitations, opening, slideshows, etc. Only because of that, I liked doing it. I mostly avoid working with or within the “established art world”, although I do like to visite museums and galleries in different countries sometimes. But my views aren’t completely set on art. Communication is also quite interesting.

Next question on 28-3-1996

MG: Learning and communication are important, there are also plenty of other reasons for taking part in mail art. You mention the exhibition in 1985 but I believe you were involved with mail art before this date. What was the first project you took part in and what were your reasons for wanting to participate?

RJ : Well, TAM itself was started in 1980. I didn’t know about the mail art network then, and only in 1983 I got hooked up with the network. Your question is which project I took part in first. You are lucky, because I do have a list of the projects I took part in for the first years (1983 and 1984). After that, I didn’t keep track anymore of the contributions I sent in to the various projects. Number one on this list, an audio-cassette that I recorded for Rod Summers in Maastricht (Netherlands). This was a contribution for his VEC-audio exchange that he was doing. As it turned out he had just finished the project with publishing his last collage-audio cassette (I TCHING), so he wasn’t able to use my recordings.

Second part of your question, my reasons? I guess there are two. Firstly I was making first contacts with other mail artists, and it makes sense to make contacts with the mail artists in ones own country. So I had already made contact with mail artists like Ko de Jonge, Sonja van der Burg, Bart Boumans (all from the Netherlands) as well as Bern Olbrich, Anna Banana, etc. With these contacts I also received the first invitations. Secondly, in 1983 I was still a student (actually I graduated in this year) and student-life also involves (for me) lots of music. I had the equipment, also keyboards and guitar, microphone, and I had already recorded some tapes for myself. When I heard of Rod Summer’s project VEC-audio-exchange, I recorded something for him, and sent it to him. That this first contribution to a project was an audio-cassette is pure chance, but when I look at the list I have of 1983 I see that I did make some other audio-art, mostly collages with sounds, produced by me or found in my surroundings. Other contributions also included photographs, stamp-works, and drawings.

Next question on 20-4-1996

MG: The name ‘TAM’ is used, please explain the meaning of these initials. Although you may not have kept a list of all the projects you have taken part in since that first year, you regularly send out printed documentations about your activities in mail art. Why do you place so much importance on this documentation?

RJ : TAM started in 1980, and it stood then for TRAVELLING ART MAIL. Over the years the word TAM also has functioned on it’s own and got other meanings too (like Tilburg’s Academy of Mail-Art and Tilburgse Automatiserings Maatschappij). I use the “firm” or “College” TAM also to play with the official institutes. It is funny that in the first meaning the words ART MAIL are there, knowing that I only got hooked up to the network in 1983.

Documentation. Yes, you’re right, it is important to me. I have been keeping track of most of the things I have done so far. The fact that I haven’t documented the many contributions to the different mail art projects is just because it takes too much time. Once a piece of mail is ready, it is sent out and I go on to the next thing to do. Keeping track of all the mail I sent out was something I did those first two years. In 1991 I started again with keeping track of how much mail I sent out, just because I was curious myself.

Why it is so important for me, this documentation, is a difficult question. I am not sure. Maybe it gives me a certain grip of the process called “my life”, to know what I have been up to so far. Because I am always working on so many different things, it is essential to keep track of things in a orderly way. To give a small example, the interview I am now doing with you (the fact that I answer your question) is just one of the over 30 interviews that are taking place in my P.O.Box or internet-address. Another reason for documenting is, of course, to let others see the documented things too. In networking you can’t send all your thought, works and words to everybody. So I have chosen to send things out quite randomly, the same goes for the printed documentations you mentioned in your question. It takes less time to document a certain part of your work and then be able to send a copy to anybody you think is interested in it (as a relpy to your mail) compaired to writing long letters over and over again. The time it saves I can use on getting to the more personal details, the personal letters I enjoy writing too.

Next question on 2-5-1996

MG: Both in your interviews and in a lot of your texts, you appear to spend a lot of time analysing the network rather than the individual artist or your own art, what is the reason for this?

RJ : The first part of the question. The interviews and texts are accesible for the network, so it is only natural that ‘the network’ is central in the interview. By answering the specific questions the interviewed person can decide how many details one wants to give about his/her personal life and personal art.
The really personal details and exchange of art with other mail artists is mostly on a one-to-one basis. In the many interviews that have come out you can see how different the interviews go. Analysing the network is interesting for me. It seems everybody has his/her own

views about the network and some mail artists even think that they have grasped the whole concept of the network. With each interview I discover that the network means something else to every specific cell in the network.

The second part of your question, analysing my own art and writing about my own art. Well, I do copy sometimes the drawings that I have made and spread them through the network. But I never choose to write an explanation about my art. Others can judge what they see in it. Also I exchange with some graphic artists my silkscreen prints and water-color works. This is the one-to-one exchange again. I analyze art I see from others. Judging ones own art and analyzing it is quite a personal thing. If someone asks me about the art I do explain however. I remember writing a book-letter about the first multicolored silkscreens I made in 1994 for Litsa Spathi in Germany. In this book-letter I included some parts of the original prints and some testprints to explain how I worked. But I did this because she was interested in these techniques and in what I was trying to explain with the silkscreens. Again on one-to-one basis I explain my own art, but not in texts-form accessible for the whole network. I make my own art because I like to make it, because I need to make it.

Next question on 15-5-1996

MG: Although you seem to spend a lot of time creating mail art, you also seem to spend an equal amount of time producing art which you do not use in your mailings. You mention your drawings, what do you do with the originals? You also refer to your silkscreen prints, some of which I’ve been lucky to see even though I wouldn’t describe myself as a graphic artist! Are there any other forms of art that you use, which are not related to your mail art? While I was at college I specialized in sculpture. Do you create any sculpture?

RJ : Well, your question contains three questionmarks, and almost sounds like a questionnaire about the art I produce. The word ‘art’ is a difficult one, because I am quite confused about what to call art, and what to call ‘things I want to do in my life’. Anyway, back to your questions.

[1] The drawings. Well, it isn’t an ‘equal amount of time’ as you call it. Only when I find the time I work on those other things besides the mail art. I do make copies of most of these drawings and spread them into the network, but most originals I have kept for myself. There is the occasional drawing that I make for a project or for a person, or the exception of an original I send out to someone. The drawings are a way capturing my views. Most subjects of my drawings aren’t planned in advance. I just feel that something is about to come out and make a start. The results mostly show something of what is going on inside me, and that probably is the reason why I keep most of them myself (paper only takes little space). Maybe the making of the drawings is some kind of therapy I discovered for myself. I am learning what makes me tick, and the drawings help me with that. Sometimes after years I discover again something that came out of me through those drawings. Must sound strange maybe, but it is how I feel it. Maybe in the nearby future I will start to send them out. Maybe I will exhibit the collection somewhere if I think it is good enough to do so. Also the drawings are a source to look back on for subjects of other ‘art’ I like to do. Some of the drawings are transformed into an oil painting, others into silkscreen prints, although this last form I don’t use that much anymore. The silkscreens I sometimes send out into the network are testprints I made. A selection of some of the colors-parts I used on a larger silkscreen. The final silkscreens are mostly too large to fit in envelopes. I now and then give them to people I meet who are interested in (mail) art, or make large parcels to exchange things with other graphic artists. Also in the last years whenever I visit a mail artist or when someone visits me, they end up with getting a silkscreen. Made Balbat in Estonia has quite a collection. John Held Jr & Bill Gaglione visited me last year and ended up with the silkscreen I made of a portrait of Ray Johnson (originally the portrait was a linocut made by Tim Mancusi in USA). I don’t like the gallery system, so I never tried to get into one. Except for the mail art project I mentioned before in the Melkweg-gallery in Amsterdam. The only time some of the silkscreens were exhibited was at the ‘Duvelhok’ (in 1993 and 1994) ; an artist work center here in Tilburg with their own exhibiting space. Every year they make an exhibition of the people that have worked there.

[2] Other forms of art, you asked about. Well, no time for other graphic things I guess, although I do write a lot too. Do you call that art too? Also I try to keep up with the changing world of computers and how one can use them to produce things, to communicate, to print things, and is that art? I mostly don’t think of myself as an artist, I just want to have a creative life, and that means doing & creating things. And I do think I have succeeded in that so far. Oh yes, just forgot, I recently started with acryl-paint because the oil-paint took so long to dry. Currently I am making small colorful ‘things’ on carton, to see how I can use this paint. These tests are mostly small and I do send them out to some mail artists. The distinction I made between mail art and art not connected to mail art isn’t that clear. It has to do with the intention. Some art I make to mail out, and other wasn’t made with that intention.

[3] The last part of your question; sculpture? Well, as a young boy I liked to do that very much. I still have two works in my livingroom that I made when I was about 11 years old. They still are a source of inspiration for me, but after elementary school I not done any sculpture at all. I enjoy seeing it though, very much, but a day has only 24 hours and there is only a limited amount of things a person can do. Most of the time goes to the work at College and the mail art anyway.

Next question on 3-6-1996

MG: Much of the visual art that you have sent me has been the “result” of you expressing “what is going on inside”. You appear to concentrate in this type of subject and I can not remember seeing any of your art which was expressing an opinion about “what was going on outside” yourself. In your “7th Thoughts about mail art” article you acknowledge the world is still a turbulent place to live in. How and why do you avoid making any social or political statement visual art?
RJ : The question could be answered with a simple NO. I don’t avoid it and don’t concentrate on the things you mention. Some of my contributions to mail art projects ARE visual statements on social or political issues. Your question probably comes as a reaction to my drawings, because there I must agree that the social or political aspect is not always obviously there. But maybe you should look closer. The views I give of the world that I see INSIDE me is a reflection of the things I see OUTSIDE of me. I am very aware of what is going on in
the world and have written also about that. Maybe the choice of words was wrong. I meant that I don’t use realistic subjects in my drawings, for that I use photography, something I enjoy also a lot. For sociological and political issues I probably use the text-format a lot. The internet for example is a social issue as well (and not a technical as some try to explain) on which I have written quite a lot.

As for my drawings / texts it seems you like to analyze it. I don’t analyze it too much; it just comes out, and I use a visual way (or sometimes a textual way) for that. If someone asks me for a specific social or political statement I participate in those projects too. In my “life besides the mail art”, I have chance enough to deal with social or political subjects. I teach students aged 16 to 21 years old, and they are very interested in these aspects as well. In my student-years I was also member of environmental groups here in Tilburg or even national ones. It seems that the balance in my life makes it so that I don’t have to find another outlet for social or political subjects. For emotions that exist inside me I DO need another outlet, for example the art that I sometimes like to produce.

Yes, the world is a turbulent place. In the mail-interview project I am trying to document some of that too (interviews with Svjetlana Mimica in Croatia and Dobrica Kampereli in Yugoslavia during the war in Bosnia, Clemente Padin in Uruguay who was imprisoned because of his actions, and also more interviews on its way with Andrej Tisma in Yugoslavia, Ayah Okwabi in Ghana, Rea Nikonova in Russia, Edgardo-Antonio Vigo in Argentina, Raphael Nadolny in Poland, etc.). I myself life in a luxury state, where the political and social problems are small compared to those in some other countries. To my surprise a lot of networkers don’t realize in what circumstance other mail artists live. I guess I found another way to deal with these issues than just make art about it.

Next question on 17-6-1996

MG: As well as texts and visuals, you also like to visit a lot of mail artists. Do you consider this an advantage? What are the benefits of these ‘meetings’?

RJ : Your question comes at a quite well-timed moment. I am just back from a weekend in Maastricht where I stayed with Rod Summers. A very pleasant weekend, and you are right; I do like to visit a lot of mail artists. Yes, it is an advantage. In many ways. First, thanks to the job at College I have the money to travel and the vacation-times to do that. Secondly, it is always much more interesting to meet the mail artist then to get the mail art from this person. Of course the first meeting is always the most difficult one. You will find out if you have the possibility to discuss interests and visions. Some meetings with mail artists resulted in the breaking of contact. Other meetings made the mail art contact into a friendship that goes further than mail art. In a piece of mail a mail artists can only tell that much about himself. Seeing the circumstances where the persons lives in (especially in other countries) is sometimes quite revealing and explains a lot about the mail you get from them. To take the example of the very recent meeting with Rod Summers. I met him before, at the Zoo-congress in Antwerpen (organized by Guy Bleus), and the congress in the Postal Museum in The Hague (both congresses took place in the DNC-year 1992). But this meeting was the first time I went to Maastricht where Rod lives with his wife Liesbeth, and saw his archive & the huge collection of audio-work he has produced over the years. Lots of things to talk about, and the amount of thoughts you can exchange in such a weekend is impossible to put in a huge envelope. We both wouldn’t have the time to write the words down of all the things we discussed.

More meetings are on the way. In July I probably go to Germany for a short time. In September there is the Stempel-Mekka in Hagen where I want to go to, and in October I will go for the first time to the USA, and meet lots of mail art friends in San Francisco. I feel lucky that I am able to do that all.

Next question on 3-7-1996

MG: You believe therefore that it is necessary to meet the mail artist you are corresponding with before you can fully appreciate that persons art? What about people you have not met, or people who prefer “the working in physical isolation, giving, receiving, bouncing ideas off artists they never meet” or people who do not want to visit or be visited. Is there no ones art who you have ‘great’ respect for and have never met the artist?

RJ : You start with “You believe therefore….”, but that isn’t correct. Appreciating art has nothing to do with knowing why and how a person makes his art. Of course I have great respect for art of people I have never met. I like Van Gogh’s work a lot, but he is dead, so I can’t meet him. But to understand why Van Gogh made his work, you will have to rely on the stories written down by the people who knew him. With Van Gogh this is easy because he used to write these letters, and they are all published. Therefore the people who know the whole story are the best ones to understand his art.

Meeting the mail artist is an advantage, as I see it. You can exchange & learn more than through the mail, when you meet. Not meeting gives other possibilities. The correspondents in the mail art network can make their own visions about all the mail artists they are in contact with. I am interested in mail art and communication; this is a proces. Art is more like a finished product, a painting, a registration of a performance, etc. I like to know why people produce the things they produce. But there is no link to appreciating art and meeting the artists as you said. Meeting mail artists makes it just more easy to understand the art they make.

next question on 25-7-1996

MG: “Art is more like a finished product”? Do you consider there to be a finished product in mail art? Surely much mail art is not conventional art, certainly not many square canvas for framing. The mail art ‘by-product’ such as xeroxs, rubberstamped envelopes etc. are not what you would expect to find in the ‘traditional gallery’. The important question is: can mail art itself be framed? The ‘by-products’ are like photos, tickets and programmes of an event and not the event itself?

RJ : I once said “mail art is a search”. Of course there are ‘by-products’ as you mention. The answer to your question is simple. NO; mail art itself can’t be framed, it is even difficult to explain to a non-practicioner what mail art is. The mail artists themselves are often tempted to explain what mail art is. But “to know mail art is to do mail art” and it is a personal experience. I don’t feel the need to give a definition of mail art. I have tried too often, and my views are still evolving. I rather give these views and tell also that the views that mail artists have about mail art depends on the different persons as well.

next question on 24-8-1996

MG : So what exactely will you be showing at The Stamp Art Gallery in San Franciso and how will it be presented? Will you be explaning mail art to the audience?

(together with his answer Ruud Janssen sent the newsletter of the TAM Rubber Stamp Archive, August 1996 and some of the special stamp-sheets he made for this exhibition)

RJ : I am not sure what I will be showing there. I’ll try to explain. Since the Stamp Art Gallery has to do with rubber stamps, Bill Gaglione and John Held Jr. thought it would be interesting to present my TAM Rubber Stamp Archive at their place and so they invited me for the exhibition. But it is just impossible to show the complete archive connected to rubber stamps that I have. I also felt it would be wrong to make a selection of the contributions or the materials I have. The Stamp Art Gallery is connected to the Stamp Francisco Company and a part of their large store in the heart of San Francisco. The trip to San Francisco and meeting some of the many friends I have there is more important for me than the exhibition (also I plan to meet four or more people I am currently interviewing for my mail-interview project while I am there!). In the spirit of mail art I made special stamp-sheets for this exhibition. They are supposed to be sent directly to the Gallery, and they will form a large part of the exhibition. I send the special stamp-sheets to participants of the archive together with the latest newsletter of the TAM Rubber Stamp Archive, so they can send in prints of any sort as they would like. I like this concept better than the idea that the stamps of ONE single artist are presented (like most of the previous shows of the Gallery this year). What would be the use of printing my entire collection and hang the prints of the wall. These prints are already scattered all over the world with my mail art.

Besides these stamps-sheets I also asked networkers to send old stamp-sheets they still have, dirtectly to the exhibition. Only for historic purpose I probably will select some stamp-sheets that are already in the collection (over 4500 sheets to choose from you know; read about it in the latest newsletter…..).

Another thing that probably will be exhibited is some of the envelopes I sent to John Held Jr. and Bill (Picasso) Gaglione. Since I am in contact with them for over 15 years, they have a lot to choose from. Also most of the publications in connection to the TAM Rubber Stamp Archive are in their pocession, so they can easily fill the space. John Held Jr. is now the curator of the Gallery, and he will arrange the exhibition. So, also for me the exhibition will be a surprise. It starts on October 6th, and a few weeks later I will be there too. Just today I booked the ticket, and I will leave on
October 20th. On October 26th I will tell something about the archive and my work at the Gallery. I am at the moment working on that. It will be illustrated with slides, and I will add a bit of humor and performance to that. We will see how it turns out to be. So your question “will you explain mail art” would have to be answered with a NO. Most people in the Gallery probably already know something about mail art. The idea that most networkers have of mail art is mostly a personal one.

next question on 26-9-1996

MG: I have always thought it commendable the way you continue to promote other artists art. I believe you have your own gallery. What is this gallery, is it part of your home? How is art presented here? Who gets to view the art on display?
RJ: The problem of answering this question is that it breaks down the illusion the word “TAM-GALLERY” brings to people. Especially people who are inside the “official art world” , and sideways stumble on the mail art network, always want to know where ones art has been exhibited, etc… Since in mail art the best exhibitions take place in very small rooms (e.g. the P.O.Boxes or the places where mail artists get their mail), most “full-time” mail artists don’t exhibit this kind of work that much. I offer some artists the chance to have another “exhibition” on their list. Since the exhibitions are real, the paperwork is real, and only the “size” of the gallery is small it is easy to arrange these exhibitions. I already got offers from artists who wanted to do an exhibition at my Gallery. But so far I myself select the people I hang on my wall……..

Anyhow, the TAM-Gallery is just one wall of my small living-room. I sometimes change the things that are hanging there, and if I select a number of works from a specific artists, I also make an invitation-folder of it and send it into the network and to this artist. I don’t distribute it in Tilburg, because I like my privacy. Actually a lot of the works that are hanging at my apartment are connected to mail art or art my own work (mostly the oil-paintings I like to do when I have the time). My living-place is a constant exhibition of the mail I get in and the art I produce myself and still have.

So, who gets to see this “exhibitions” at my Gallery? Anyone that just happens to visit me during the time the works are hanging here. Mostly just family and friends, and rarely a mail artists who passes by.

The TAM-Gallery fits nicely in the big list of organisations that I have build around TAM. The TAM-Publications, The International Union of Mail Artists (IUOMA), the TAM-Academy, etc. Actually in real life I use sometimes these organisations as well. It is always nice to be the director of TAM, and be able to send mail out like that. In “real life” I also teach my students about how organisations work (with as goal to teach them how informatics-systems have to be build for those organisations), so in a way everything in my life is connected to one another.

next question on 17-10-1996

MG : By exhibiting the ‘byproducts’ of mail art are we providing that there is something to show or collect? Often the art being shown is something very distinctive to mail art, for example the decorated envelopes, I could state many other examples.

There are also some American artists who are writing a lot of texts to establish mail art as an ‘ism’. Although this does not appear to be your aim, all texts about mail art help to ‘establish’ it as an ‘ism’. Obviously you have written extensively on the subject and some of the artists concerned and in my opinion your texts would be extremely important if mail art did become classified as an ‘ism’.

Mail art is now becoming recognized by the official establishment. What are your opinions on mail art becoming an ‘ism’.

RJ : The exhibition of ‘byproducts’ of mail art doesn’t mean that they will be archived! I know of exhibitions where the mail art envelopes, collages, etc. are given to the visitors. Sometimes they are used as collage in the mail art documentation. Some even burn the whole lot and make a performance about it. Of course there is a big part of the mail art that will be saved. The “archives” as we mail artists like to call them are mostly nothing more than collections of the things the receivers found interesting to keep and to collect. Some specialize even and write the network to send them specific things. All this is perfectly o.k. by me. There are no real rules about how to deal with mail art.

The official art-world however is becoming interested because of several reasons. First: Mail artists start to die. If a mail artist has also a name in the official art world, then of course this businessmen will try to get a hold of these ‘byproducts’. Second: The postal communication is gradually loosing its original form. More and more things are done by the computers. Even if someone doesn’t want to, the pens and typewriters are gradually being taken over by these digital machines. The new generations are learning to use and misuse these machines, and it is a way that has obviously no return. If fact with the paid job I have the last years I am even helping in this development since I nowadays teach full-time computer-sciences (and you would be surprised how creative this business is…..).

The main focus of your question is about the texts that are written. Whether mail art becomes an ‘ism’ or not, isn’t at all interesting for me. Normally things are an ‘ism’ when they over and historicans take over. It only becomes an ‘ism’ if the impact on our society was large enough. For me mail art at the moment has more become a way of life. That I use the postal system to communicate, a pen and paper, make visuals, use the computer , send out an e-mail, publish a text on the internet; it is just the need to communicate and to search for what this life is all about and what possibilities that there are. I don’t just live in Tilburg. I live on a planet where lots of things are happening. I want to learn from others what this life is all about and to find out for myself what it is that I am doing or what I want to do. Life is a constant search for new things. It is never a repetition of things so that one does again and again the same things ( some people who call themselves mail artists are doing just that, you know….). People who are in constant development you maybe could call artists. But they don’t always have to paint. There are lots of things creative people are producing. To see the basic thought behind this creativity, that is something really interesting and it fascinates me to see what search-pattern other people have developed.

To come back on the ‘byproducts’. Thank god that of other artists things have been kept. In mail art it is for newcomers very difficult to find out what has happened since the sixties. The many books that are made are difficult to get, and also only show a very limited view. I only know very few books on mail art NOT written by mail artists. As long as that is so, mail art won’t be an ‘ism’ as I see it. The Galleries that do exhibit work of mail artists do so because mostly it is a part of the life of a specific artists that has brought something. Whether it is new art or money (for the gallery-owner) that is another question. But as I told before. I am not in contact with the official art world or the gallery-scene…….. That postal museums are interested in mail art is nothing new. Mail artists use the mail, and besides the historic stamp-collections and postal items, what artistic things are there that are connected to mail? Right; mail art. But the postal museums mostly let a mail artists currate the show or let them advice the museum. Nothing wrong with a sponsor for a great show on mail art. But showing ‘byproducts’ isn’t what mail art is all about.

(This question arrived just after my return from USA / San Francisco, where I was from 20-10-96 till 4-11-1996 for an exhibition at the Stamp Art Gallery about the TAM Rubber Stamp Archive. I also had meetings with 9 mail artists I am currently interviewing or have interviewed, who live in San Francisco or in cities nearby)

next question on 7-11-1996

MG : ‘Constant development’ appears to be important to you. What do see your future role in mail art as being? Can you tell us of any plans or art projects you have for forthcoming development?

RJ : A future role? The constant development is a learning process. Mail art is just one of the sources that teaches me. I don’t have a final goal, I op open to the influences that I encounter in my life. I am not thinking in terms of ‘future role’. Since you ask such a question, I guess you are!

“……any plans or art projects you have for forthcoming development?”. Is this a joke? The TAM Rubberstamp Archive , the mail interviews and publications of booklets and the publishing of a final document connected to this, the WORDS-list, the many articles I write, the acrylpainting I am currently doing, and not to forget the teaching job I have…….. And I almost forget: keeping up with the developments on the internet! A day has only 24 hours, and the only plan I have at the moment is to cut down on the amount of mail art I send out. I like to produce more quality rather than more quantity.

next question on 29-11-1996

MG : The ‘future role’ for my art is ‘constant development’. However I’m not the person being interviewed, you are! But that was the last question I wanted to as you (this time), so unless you have got anything further to add, I would just like to thank you for an interesting and informative interview.

RJ : Well, for me it was an interesting and informative interview as well. It is always a surprise which question someone comes up with. This is one of the three interviews that mail artists started with me. As it turnes out these interviews will aal three be completely different…….. Till again Mark!

(The finished text was sent to Mark Greenfield. He could then arrange the final layout and send the originals back to me.)