Mail Art | An international community art and design project

James Gillen and his father Kevin co-run an international community art and design project Mail Art. James’s dad originally had the idea of creating Mail Art back in the early 1970s (completely unaware in the pre-internet age that Ray Johnson had already invented the concept) and exhibited some of his envelopes in the Ferens Gallery Hull, where he was reviewed in the Hull Daily Mail with the headline ‘It’s nicely framed but is it art?’ (click here to see the 1973 article).

James and Kevin Gillen at the show
James and Kevin Gillen at the show

In 2013 (shortly after his retirement from a 40 year art teaching career) Kevin decided to commit his time to Mail Art and his son, James, suggested to create a Facebook page to build a community of artists working in the format. Since then father and son have built a large dedicated international audience, who send them Mail Art in the post towards their gallery exhibitions (the first two shows were held in Folkestone’s thriving creative quarter in 2014 and in July 2015). James and his father Kevin receive artwork in the post from a wide variety of countries, including Brazil, USA, Croatia, Turkey, India, Finland, Netherlands, UK, Japan and many more. As well as the physical gallery exhibitions, all the work received is also exhibited digitally on their Facebook online gallery.

James and Kevin Gillen are a completely non-profit project and their ethos is to continually build an inclusive and encouraging community of artists worldwide, inclusive of all levels of artistic education.

The project is always ongoing. So, if you want to get involved (either by sharing Mail Art work with your friends and sending to James and Kevin an email with a photo of it which they’ll upload on their page, or by sending your work directly to them in the post which will be added to their continually growing collection).
Click here to find out more about the project and how to submit your Mail Art work.

Facebook page

From Belgium, towards July 2015 exhibition (Artist: Servane Morel)


From Brazil, towards July 2015 exhibition (artist anonymous)


From USA, towards July 2015 exhibition (Artist: Care Hanson)

Care Hanson USA

From Netherlands, towards July 2015 exhibition (Artist: Christine Van Der Burg)

Christine Vanderburg, Netherlands

From India, towards July 2015 exhibition (Artist: Pramod Patil)


James Gillen’s Mail Art designs

James Gillen

From UK, towards July 2015 exhibition (Artist: Jon Howe)

Jon Howe UK

From the UK, towards July 2015 exhibition (Artist: Keith Bates)


Kevin Gillen’s Mail Art designs


From Scotland, towards July 2015 exhibition (Artist: Mohd Nidham)


From USA, towards July 2015 exhibition (Artist: Joseph Razook)


Mail Art Gallery

photos by Andrew Laferme
Mail Art Gallery
Mail Art Gallery
Mail Art Gallery

Maria Papaefstathiou

VISUAL DESIGNER since 1996 and blogger since 2010. Living in Athens, Greece. She has been focusing her research on poster design and particularly on social poster design and portrait design. Her main poster project is a series of posters celebrating great personalities of traditional and popular culture in Greece and Jamaica. These include actors, singers, musicians, poets etc. This is an ongoing project. “I believe that design is a powerful tool that we designers can use to spark enthusiasm, change mindsets and bring positive actions to our world and our culture”. FOUNDER AND EDITOR OF GRAPHICART-NEWS.COM BLOG. She carefully curates high-quality designs, illustrations, and art, from all over the world that will teach and provoke other designers. Many consider her blog to be an exceptional educational tool. CO-FOUNDER OF THE INTERNATIONAL REGGAE POSTER CONTEST which was launched on December 2011, partnering, the creative activist Michael Thompson aka Freestylee. (