Saturday, June 6, 2015

PARAPHILATELIC CYBERMAIL COVERS AND CANCELLATIONS/ First Flight Covers for the Boobie Bird Courier Service by Eric Whollem/ MAPS OF THE ROUTES OF THE BIRD COURIERS/ Virtual Stamp Covers

Eric Whollem
cybermail art
copyright by the artist


Mail Art is well known today as a movement that began in the 1960's and 1970's. It involved exhibitions of contemporary artistry of various sorts, collage, artistamps, rubber stamps, drawings and paintings etc, on covers. Mail Art is, of course, physical.

Cyberstamps  or Virtual Stamps appeared on the scene after computers became more popular. A cyberstamp, according to one definition, is a stamp that is created on the computer as an image file. Such stamps may be considered to be primary layouts for stamps that can be printed later. Cyberstamp creators thus developed a broad range of techniques of adapting virtual or cyber perforations to their artistry. Cyberstamps, thus defined, are, of course, not physical.

It is only natural that faux stamp covers would arise as an art form. These we could call 'cybermail art' or ' virtual paraphilatelic covers' or 'pararphilatelic cybermail art,' etc. 

It is true that the terms 'cyberstamps' and 'virtual stamps' are used with various defintions by people with different approaches. For example the Cyberstamp Club is a group dedicated to virtual stamp collecting, which is to say the accumulation of stamp images of all kinds from internet sources. The stamps thus 'collected' are not limited to cyberstamps as I have defined them above, which is to say stamps created as image files.

Eric Whollem
cybermail art
copyright by the artist


For many years now the USPS as well as postal services of other nations have used 'digital cancellations' to frank the mails.

However, from the standpoint of cyberstamp covers as I have defined them above, virtual cancellations such as those seen on the covers appearing here are something a bit different. These cancellations only exist as image files, not as cancels on physical faux postage stamps.

Yet to complicate matters, cyber cancellations are also quite possible to apply to physical covers from the computer by digitally cancelling the covers on digital printers, much in the manner of addressing covers by cybernetic means. These cyber cancellations are physical, and parallel the conventional digital cancellations of regular mail services. The digital cancellations thus created by an artist, either on computer file covers or physical covers could be called cyber art cancellations, or digital art cancellations, faux postal cancellations, etc, etc.

Perhaps we could reserve the term 'virtual cancellation' only for those cancellations that appear on cyberstamps, insofar as a cancellation is no longer virtual once it is resolved physically.

Many faux postage stamp creators have developed their own styles of faux cancellations over the years.

And also, of course, paraphilatelic mail, which has been with us for many years, predating general home computers, has utilized privately designed rubber stamp cancellations for some time. A good example are the fantasy covers of Gerald M. King of the UK, the developer of the famous Alice in Wonderland stamp series. King developed a wide range of private postal markings for his mail.

Paraphilatelic cybermail art is quite an intriguing challenge to the artist. As such the covers thus produced could be considered digital stamp paintings, as opposed to digital paintings.


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