Junk Mail Art

Do you get a lot of junk mail? I sure do. I don’t mean SPAM…we all get that. I mean the good old fashioned snail mail variety. Credit card offers. Magazine offers. Services I never even knew existed.

What a waste of paper! It’s occurred to me that it can be re-purposed for good. To make someone (or some mechanical sorting device) have a brighter day! NOTE: I am not saying it’s a good idea to use the return postage paid envelopes…even though that’s a really funny thought.


Art History Junk Mail
Picasso Above, Monkey Below.

Mad Monkey Mask

I created a new flickr JUNK MAIL ART group, if you want to join in the fun.

I submitted these for ArtScape, too. Here’s the pen.

Junk Mail Pen

That’s all you need. And an idea or two. Post yours with mine on Flickr.

Watercolor Quickie

Watercolor sketch longview

I try to do something “creative” everyday – something above and beyond the normal “creative” activities that I would do anyway. Often, this happens on my train ride – it can be a piece of writing, or computer code or a drawing. It doesn’t matter, as long as it’s fun and has that new idea smell.

I didn’t ride the train today, so after work, I snuck out to the stevedore docks and did this as quickly as I could. It’s obvious that I  don’t have a grip on watercolor, but thought I’d give it a whack.

Watercolor sketch

I presume this fellow hunts stray pirates. AND…that tunnel leads to a water tower.


I began carrying a sketchbook with me everywhere I go about two years ago. I had abandoned this practice for maybe six or seven years, when most of my life/work/art/ideas lived almost entirely in digital forms. When the going gets overly complex and/or stale in the digital realm, though, pen and paper prove their worth everytime.

I started with an 8.5″ x 5″ book, like this one.


I used it so much that I started carrying a smaller 6.25″ x 3.75″ sketchbook, too.


I always have the smaller one with me, and usually both of them, depending on whether or not I have a laptop in my bag.

Last spring, I attended the Event Apart event in Seattle. In the “bag of swag” was a spiral bound ruled notebook (6×6). One of the presenters suggested using the book at work. I don’t like spiral notebooks – the metal usually becomes twisted and jagged during my travels, etc., but I thought I’d give it a try – it had the “Event Apart” logo emblazoned on the cover and I really enjoyed that show.

Between April and December, I took many notes during meetings, I worked out ideas and made plans. The book recorded the portal redesign project I’ve been working through (more on that soon). The book added something to my work process, and I became rather attached to it (despite spirals). And then, in December, I misplaced it. I haven’t been able to find it ANYWHERE. I believe it’s gone forever. Even Saint Anthony doesn’t know where it is.

Which seriously sucks very much.

I keep encountering “Moleskine” books. I’ve resisted them because my books, shown above, are extremely durable and much cheaper. And, I wondered if maybe Moleskines are a little snooty. But, is it not written, “Every problem is really an opportunity?”

I decided to replace the missing spiral book with a graph lined Moleskine.


And what do you know? It’s really fun to write in – it reminds me of a book my dad used to keep. I don’t know that I’d use any of the Moleskine sketchbooks as a main sketchbook (I’m going to give them a try), but the graph Moleskine has quickly become a trusty replacement for the missing spiral. I suppose all the people on those Moleskine fan web sites can’t be all wrong…