Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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Doodle your own stamps

For the artist in all of us
  (+8, -2)
(+8, -2)
  [vote for,

If you look around your local trendy cafes and bistros, you will find that original art is expensive. Good art is obviously very expensive but even incredibly poor art is fairly costly, in fact the walls of my local gastropubs are straining under the weight of meaningless abstract daubings priced around the £100 mark.

Now, if an A4 canvas of bad art is worth £100 then a stamp sized work of bad art works out around 96p, more than the cost of sending a letter. If people were allowed draw or paint their own stamps directly onto the envelope, these drawings would have an intrinsic value that would easily cover the cost of postage and the public would be encouraged to develop their own skills in this area.

This system would also scale well. Posting a big box to someone? Do a big drawing on it. Posting a heavy box? Paint with oils. Post office art critics would be employed to evaluate a certain percentage of mail and return those where the sender had obviously made zero effort.

As an added benefit it just might make stamp collecting interesting.

wagster, Feb 27 2006

Design and sell your own stamps on CafePress http://www.cafepres...x?clear=true&no=151
(Several other sites offer similar services.) [DrCurry, Feb 27 2006]

Royal Mail claims world first http://www.ukpo.com...26&brand=royal_mail
Though admittedly, not in oils or acrylics. [coprocephalous, Feb 27 2006]

So, yeah, you can do it in Britain too http://www.royalmai...id=customisedstamps
...although they're not quite so completely customiable as the US ones, by the look of it. [DrCurry, Feb 27 2006]

Painting money as art http://artscenecal....es0999/JBoggsA.html
[DrCurry, Feb 27 2006]

Baked! http://www.badpress...review_haeseler.htm
Painting stamps as art. But the Post Office was not amused, when it finally caught up to them. [DrCurry, Feb 27 2006]

Some of de Luna's stamps http://www.badpressbooks.com/mhdl.html
Including one graphic and entirely unlikely one sent from Britain, so post offices both sides of the Atlantic accepted these things. [DrCurry, Feb 27 2006]

Some of Thompson's stamps http://www.badpressbooks.com/mt.html
Also includes stamps sent from Mexico and South Africa. [DrCurry, Feb 27 2006]


       Quite Baked, sorry. The US Postal service has been allowing people to design their own stamps for a couple of years now.   

       P.S. More than 96p to post a letter?! Postage only just went up to 39¢ over here, and that's only because Congress is using the Post Office to collect a surreptitious tax.
DrCurry, Feb 27 2006

       Nonono. All these services you've found involve not only paying for the stamps, but paying for the customisability as well. Nowhere can you pay for your postage by donating a small work of art scribbled on the corner of an envelope.
wagster, Feb 27 2006

       Yes [wagster] ! A very nice idea. May I suggest that this is an idea which could enable us to get back to the real concept of stamping a letter... by providing bags of potatos and carrots at post offices, along with some small carving tools so that we can create real stamps. What a treat to receive a letter with an original [Jutta] potato-carved croissant stamp (in encre noir of course)
ConsulFlaminicus, Feb 27 2006

       Oh. Have you tried bartering a small artwork to your local postmaster? They might well accept it.   

       Still, I think you'll have an uphill battle getting the Royal Mail to institutionalize it.   

       On this topic, there is an artist in the US whose metier is painting meticulous copies of dollar bills, then trying to use them as currency in local shops. He's been arrested a couple of times, one time because the paint was still wet. But in general, the recipients appear to know the painting is a painting, and are willing to oblige. The US Treasury appears to have been lenient, too, partly because art gets a lot of leeway in the States, partly because one artist painting one or two dollar bills a month isn't likely to bankrupt the system.
DrCurry, Feb 27 2006

       That's very cool. Can't seem to google the guy but I'm glad he's out there.   

       [Consul] - I wonder if there may be scope for putting handcut stamps into office mail franking machines?
wagster, Feb 27 2006

       Link provided (the story given here is much tidier than the one given by the NY Times reporters when they covered him).   

       Also, links to a couple of artists who have been doing *exactly* what you suggest.
DrCurry, Feb 27 2006

       [+] I have done mail art for many years and even if this is baked in some sort of way, I would love to doodle my own stamps. (on a side note, I have decorated envelopes in mailing for concert tickets and it gotten me Front Row seats more than once!)
xandram, Feb 27 2006

       Nice linkage [DrC] - I especially liked JSG Boggs, he has echoes of [UB]'s recent post on multiple currencies (I forget what he called it). De Luna's booby stamps were cool too.   

       [bigsleep], why paint at all when you can photograph?
wagster, Feb 28 2006


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