[ Metered mail imprint: Please send me email! ]

Introduction to my
Envelope Art

(reproductions from Olympus D-300L digital camera, Jan-Feb 1997)

[ ]
"One always writes an image to someone." (Folon)
We build in our dreams a monument to the unknown
postman to thank them all for having
allowed these images to reach their destiny.
[ ]
Folon, Lettres a Giorgio, Alice Editions,
Barron's, 1979 [fn.26[ Go to footnote! ]]
[ ]
My attempt (1982-88) to employ computer graphics for humanistically meaningful ends rather than merely as a vehicle for pursuing technical virtuosity. As Walter Ong asked: "What is the purpose of a person acquiring perfect French pronunciation if they have nothing of value to say in any language?"
[ ]
[ ]
[ Envelope with instructions how to make an envelope ]
How To Make An Envelope. 19,23 Mar 83. Envelope with instructions how to make an envelope. I did in fact make most of my envelopes as described on this envelope (which itself was made according to the directions):
  1. Start with an 8-1/2 by 11 inch sheet of paper (standard paper size).
  2. Draw lines on sheet to indicate where folds should be made (M1 thru M8, near the corners of the page).
  3. Make four folds, to create the four flaps which will comprise the back side of the envelope (note that documentary information about the envelope: title, create date and location... appears upside down on the sheet of paper being processed, so that, when folded over, it will be right side up on the back of the envelope.
  4. Cut off the four corners of the sheet (quadrilateral areas including marks M1-M8).
  5. Glue bottom flap to side flaps, with Elmer's Glue-All.
  6. Insert letter in envelope.
  7. Glue top flap to bottom flap, to seal envelope.
  8. Mail it.
Often I would take the envelope to the Post Office to have it hand cancelled, requesting that the Postal Clerk place the postmark in a certain position (e.g., see how the postmark exactly covers the stamp, and is bisected by the vertical line in the New Mexico envelope, below).
Some Post Office employees did not want to cooperate with me. Others were thoroughly enchanted by the process, and went out of their way to be helpful. I thank them (in one case, I made an envelope design for and mailed it to the Postmaster of the Crompond NY Post Office, to indicate my appreciation of her continued assistance and interest).
[ ]
[ Envelope with dialog about the process of sending it ]
'Waking persons...'. 30 Oct 82. Envelope with dialog about the process of sending it (thus thematizing the interactions between a letter and the Post Office personnel/machinery, and others, e.g., the recipient, who come in contact with it). Full title is a quote from Heraclitus:
Waking persons share a world in common, but the dreamer turns to a reality uniquely his own.
[ ]
[ Envelope with literacy stamps ]
Stampede. 14 Jul 84. Recipient is a teacher of writing. The stamps are all part of a series: "The Ability to Write", "Freedom to Speak Out", and "A Public That Reads", each: "A Root of Democracy". All the stamps are moving in the direction of the recipient's vocation.
[ ]
[ Envelope with design for cover of TC department brochure ]
Maxwell's Demon. 4 Jul 85. This envelope contains my submission to a contest to design a cover for the Teachers College Department of Communication, Computing and Techology brochure. (It won the contest, but there may have been no other entrants....) The theme of the contest was the title of the brochure: "Maxwell's Demon".

The "demon" in the design operates a sliding door, selectively letting letters in the left compartment, in entropic Brownian motion, move over into the right compartment, thus ordering them into meaningful communication, and perhaps defying the Second Law of Thermodynamics.

[ ] [ ]
  [ Dates of early digital photos ] Digital:  
[ ]
How To Make    09 Jan 1997
What's this? 09 Jan 1997
Max. Demon 09 Jan 1997
New Mexico 09 Jan 1997
Stampede 04 Feb 1997
[ ]
More early digital photos[ ][ See more of my early digital photos! ]
[ Envelope with image of New Mexico mountains and desert ]
Untitled. 18 Aug 84. This envelope, unlike the others included above, does not have a strong reflexive dimension. Rather it is primarily "esthetic". I like the New Mexico sky: the light, the mountains, the desert.... Buck Rhodes is a friend who lives in Albuquerque, and it was in visiting him that I first experienced the place. (Albuquerque is also known for hot air ballooning....)
[ ]
[ Go view more BMcC Envelope Art! ]See more envelopes (page 1 of 2).

"The process is the product" (me?)

"Everything we do is the same thing: we learn more about who we are" --Tom Gee

"Maxwell's Demon" was designed using MacPaint on an original Apple Macintosh PC, and printed on an Apple Imagewriter I (borrowed from David N. Smith, IBM Research).

The other designs were produced on the VM/370 mainframe computer system at the IBM T.J. Watson Research Center, Yorktown Heights, NY, using the YDS (Yorktown Drawing System) computer graphics application designed by Jerry Goertzl. YDS was functionally similar to Seymour Papert's Logo programming language; YDS's main use was to make diagrams to include in IBM patent applications.

The images were developed using a Tektronix vector graphics display, working in tandem with a 3270GA terminal for YDS program text entry, and printed on either a Tektronix thermal printer or APS5 photo compositor. That printout was then copied onto regular 25% cotton bond paper, on a Kodak photocopier, to produce the final envelope "blank".

I would make multiple copies of each design, in part for archiving, but also because folding, cutting and pasting the envelopes (and even positioning the postage stamps...) is "tricky", and it would often take several tries to get one to come out right.

See also my article: The Envelope as an Art Form: Computer-Aided Images. LEONARDO: Journal of the International Society for the Arts, Sciences and Technology, 1984, 17(1), 20-23.

[ Go view more BMcC Envelope Art! ]See more envelopes (page 1 of 2).
See other web art on this web site.

Return to Brad McCormick's resume.
Return to Brad McCormick's digital photos page.
Go/Return to computer aphorisms.
What's new on this website?
Go to website Table of Contents.
Return to Brad McCormick's home page.
Return to site map.
[ ] [ Go to Site Map! ] [ ] [ Go to website Table of Contents! ] [ ] [ Go home! (BMcC website Home page!) ] [ ]
[ ]

[ Go to: The duty of communicators! ]
[ ]
[ Where is AOL man going? Where are you going? ]
[ ]
Copyright © 1998-2002 Brad McCormick, Ed.D.
bradmcc@cloud9.net [ Email me! ]
15 May 2006CE (2006-05-15 ISO 8601)
[ ]
[ ] [ Learn about cat 'chop' (Chinese engraved seal)! ]
[ ]
[ ]
With continuing thanks to
all the U.S. and Japanese
Post Office employees
who made it possible.
[ ]
[ Mailbox: Go to USPS! ]
[ ]
[ Loose HTML 4.01 Checked! Test me! ]
[ ]