Latest COVID Cards

View all COVID Cards.

COVID Card #365

COVID Card #365

Well, here we are. It's a year and some change after I swore a solemn social media oath to send...

COVID Card #364

COVID Card #364

Post office muralist, Edward Winter, was better known as an enamelist than a painter. He created...

COVID Card #363

COVID Card #363

German-born Joseph Paul Vorst is the first post office muralist I've come across who was a Mormon....

COVID Card #362

COVID Card #362

Painter, lithographer and draftsman, Ross Eugene Braught was called “the greatest living American...

COVID Card #361

COVID Card #361

Byron Burford was an artist and writer. He studied with Grant Wood in Iowa, where he struck up a...

COVID Card #360

COVID Card #360

S. Douglass Crockwell was one of several post office muralists to also work for the Saturday...

COVID Card #359

COVID Card #359

Julien Binford was another School of the Art Institute of Chicago alum. Apparently, he dabbled (at...

COVID Card #358

COVID Card #358

There's something fishy about the search results for "Henry La Cagnina." Can you spot it? While it...

COVID Card #357

COVID Card #357

Stefan Hirsch, like many artists of his time, worked across several genres. I, of course, am most...

COVID Card #356

COVID Card #356

John McCrady was a little more well known than many of the post office muralists I've mentioned...

COVID Card #355

COVID Card #355

The existence of a living painter named Richard Jansen makes researching Richard H. Jansen (on the...

COVID Card #354

COVID Card #354

Today, I offer you another COVID Card first: Alfred Sessler is the first post office muralist to...

COVID Card FAQs

What is a COVID Card?

A COVID Card is a postcard featuring a hand drawn image inspired by something related to mail/post. Every day from May 5, 2020 to May 4, 2021, I created a card and mailed it to someone the following day (Saturday’s and Sunday’s cards were mailed on Monday). The day after a card was made, I made a small blog post about it, sharing what inspired the card.

Why COVID Cards?

This project was not planned. It just happened. One day, I received an invite to a Facebook “event.” It turns out that it wasn’t really an event, but a plea to people to try to save the United State Postal Service (USPS) by pledging to write and mail one postcard or letter per week. Being the over-achiever that I am (I’m actually nothing of the sort), I mailed 7 cards the first day. They were all postcards and greetings cards that I had on hand. As everything was on lockdown, I couldn’t just dash off to the Hallmark store once a week (as if). Nor did I look forward to the prospect of spending hours shopping for cards online and either sending the same designs over and over again, or spending a small fortune on one-of-a-kind cards. And, with the pandemic making everyone a little less eager to spend money on web development (that’s my day job), I found I had some extra time. So, I decided to draw a card every day. My hope was to bring awareness to the dire financial situation the USPS is in (yes, I know, the problems didn’t start with the pandemic — but it has drastically hurt it and the government has offered no assistance). I haven’t done a very good job of that. There’s no room on the back of a small postcard to tell the tale (oops, next time there’s a pandemic, I’ll draw greeting cards — kidding; I won’t do that at all, it had to be postcards).

Why postcards?

At first, I didn’t even think about it. It’s just what I wanted to send. No reason at all. I don’t even use postcard postage. I use regular, first class stamps. As time went on and I learned more and more about the post office (see the next toggle), I began to really love the idea of these little original drawings being fed through cancellation machines and sorting machines, getting the postnet slapped on them, and having the (usually) gentle wear and tear that comes with the process of moving a piece of paper from one part of the world to another. With just one exception, if a COVID Card does not have postal marks and scuffs, it’s not real. The one exception is the card I gave my letter carrier, Ian. I thought it would be weird to ask for his mailing address.

What are the images all about?

Since the project is about bringing awareness to the struggles of the USPS, I wanted each card to have a drawing that had something to do with mail/post. As my “thing” is drawing Sketchy Spaces, whatever the inspiration was for a particular card, it would be used in a (often) strange landscape. The first 3 cards feature vintage mailboxes turned into buildings. While mailboxes appeared again in later stamps, it was clear that drawing mailbox buildings was likely to get real old, rather fast. The 4th card uses a stamp motif from card 3. As I searched the web for interesting mailboxes, I found other images: catcher pouches used by trains, lampposts with mailboxes, etc. Then I remembered the pails used to deliver mail from small boats to large ships in the Detroit river. Finally, I stumbled upon this great (and free) publication documenting much of US postal history. Every day, I read until something inspires me. I then either have my idea or I research the inspiration more. This often leads to the usually-dreaded rabbit hole of seemingly endless bits of trivia. As I don’t know when this project will end, a glut of inspiration is a very welcome problem.

Do I really mail originals?

Yes. I really mail originals. If one gets lost in the mail (so far, it looks like #62 may be lost), the real, original drawing may be gone forever (or you may be able to get a sweet deal on it at a Dead Letter auction). I’m no scanning or photographing genius, but I do my best to document each card before it gets entrusted to the USPS. I scan each card with two different scan profiles,and I take a photo of it.

Why mail originals?

Why not? It’s just part of the project. A genuine COVID Card will bear evidence of having travelled through the postal system. The “art” of the project is not (for me) in the drawing, it’s in the project as a whole. To try (not too successfully) to bring awareness to the USPS, I make “art” and put it, open face for the world to see, in the mail. I spend an hour (or two or three or four) drawing, then I document it, address it, stamp it, and trust it to greater forces. I let it go. I’m actually a little exicted to think that card #62 will never reach its destination (it turns out, the wrong zip code was used). It makes it special. The one card that did not go through the mail (it was given to my letter carrier) is also special. I am so very easily amused. These things amuse me. It’s like a game.

When will it end?

I don’t know. It is over. I decided to stop at card 365. Sketchy Spaces will go on. I still have a lot of postcard sktechbooks, so more postcards will be drawn, they just won’t be daily occurences nor will they be called COVID Cards.

How can you get a card?

Beg, borrow, or steal from someone who was sent one.

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