Small Scale Subversion: Mail Art and Artistamps
Book by John Held Jr.
Written by alternative artist John Held Jr, 'Small Scale Subversion: Mail Art and Artistamps' is a book that dives deeply into the highly niched art of mail and mail stamps. A simple and creative platform to a seemingly endless variety of artistic ideas, the artist postage stamps- or as they’re called here, artistamps- created their own world within the art community of creators and collectors. Born from the inspiration of a postage stamp, the artistamp (also known as the Cinderella Stamp or pseudo-stamp) became its own entity, illegal for actual post mail but therefore available to unbounded creative thinking.
John Held Jr. has become a known name in this circle of alternative art since he entered it in the 1970s. His work is defined greatly by a specialty in stamp art. In this book, his detailed knowledge of artistamps in all of their history and artistry is highlighted in a deeply intriguing manner. Their existence among creative communities, eventually infiltrating into high art gallery spaces, tells a story of sub-culture creativity. As such, Held is able to shed light on an intriguing world that you never knew you needed to obsess over.
Through this artful and educational book, it becomes evident that the creative potential and opportunity for beauty can be found in simple, everyday things. Something as small as the postage stamp sparked something of a mini-movement in 20th century art. Through Held's work, stamps and mail art become a source of inspiration and a way of seeing the potential for art in a world where anything can become a canvas.