Mail Art on display in Eldon Building

One of the displays in Eldon Building, University of Portsmouth is currently holding a collection of mail art, courtesy of the BA (Hons) Illustration course, showing a variety of print and hand-drawn designs.


Emerging in the early 1960’s, Mail Art saw the distribution of artworks utilizing the postal system. Artist Ray Johnson pioneered the movement, inspired by an interest in collage and ephemeral techniques. Since its creation, Mail Art has been disseminated across the world, with makers from Australia to America.

The artworks, in-keeping with Johnson’s practice, are typically hand-crafted, bound, stamped and collaged. Inspiration stemmed from the anti-establishment Fluxus and Dada movements, implying that Mail Art is motivated by non-conformity.


In the early 2000’s, noted British Mail Artist Patricia Collins donated her extensive collection of correspondence to the University of Portsmouth’s Illustration Department. The gifted works total eight, twenty-six-litre storage boxes, each housing diverse artworks.


The printed ephemera on display here is a small selection from the archive of mail art which shows varied creative formats that artists around the world contributed.

The Archive is currently housed on the third floor in the illustration studio ‘Ministry of Books’ (Room 3.11)


For more information about the archive contact:

Lee Shearman:

Ros Simms:


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