The Red Mailbox Project is a simple idea I came up with to spread art and joy in my community (Daegu, South Korea). Last October, I built a small mailbox and planted it a few blocks away from my home in Daegu, South Korea. Inside the mailbox, I left a small painting of a monster and a note that said, “Please take this and keep it. There will be another gift tomorrow waiting in the box.” The following day, I put a little wooden toy in the red mailbox, and the next day, a clay figure. I continued this for 365 days, filling the box with different handmade art gifts daily.
Among the gifts were handbags, bracelets, masks, bookmarks, puzzles, pins, slippers, pencil cases, maracas, necklaces, tile pots (with plants), papier-mâché dolls, a kaleidoscope, mobiles, collages, framed paintings, lamps, and many more. I did my best to create new and unexpected gifts each day. It was a great exercise, and challenge, as an artist to not repeat ideas too much, so I experimented a lot with different types of materials and learned new techniques. As much as possible, I tried to create art out of things I had laying around in my apartment like boxes and newspaper, or objects I found on the streets and up-cycled.
Personally, it was very rewarding to do this project. Stopping by the red mailbox on my way to work each day gave me a lot joy. Also, it was great to see how people reacted to the gifts. I often found letters, poems and even money left inside the box by visitors.
This year has been tough on a lot of us. I hope that people will be inspired by this project. It would be amazing to see similar projects pop up in different cities around the world!
All photos by Andy Knowlton – All Rights Reserved
Guest Artist Bio
I was born in Paris, France, spent my teens in the United States and currently live in a city called Daegu in South Korea, where for the last ten years, I have created interactive and public art projects, often with the goal of promoting poetry. Most of the art I make, I leave on the streets for people to find and keep. My hope is that when my art is discovered by unsuspecting people, they will be filled with a sense of beauty and mystery, which is how I feel when I read a great poem, or experience something poetic in my daily life.