C/O Becky Phan

Postcards from Anywhere provides a plethora of opportunities for the new year

As most of us are homebound for the foreseeable future, there is hardly any place we may visit that could be considered picturesque or something that would be featured on a traditional postcard. 

A postcard typically features a photo of impossibly breathtaking coasts or colourful, lively skylines that one would send family or friends from their vacation. However, thanks to projects such as Trisha Lavoie’s Postcards from Anywhere, new opportunities abound, including the chance to rediscover our local communities.

Growing up, photography and mail were important pieces of Lavoie’s life. Her father also enjoyed photography, always encouraging Lavoie to take photos. As a teenager, she was drawn to what she described as boring postcards, depicting scenes such as empty restaurants or turnpikes and started collecting them.

“I’ve always had a small divergent interest in photography, even though it’s not the primary artistic medium that I participate in. But I’ve also had a wide interest in different forms of visual representation art and mail art and things like that. And correspondence has always been a really big part of my life. I’m someone who grew up with pen pals, some of whom I’m still friends with to this day. So I guess that all boils down to how this project started to germinate in my mind,” said Lavoie. 

“I’ve always had a small divergent interest in photography, even though it’s not the primary artistic medium that I participate in. But I’ve also had a wide interest in different forms of visual representation art and mail art and things like that. And correspondence has always been a really big part of my life.”

When the pandemic started, many artist-run centres and galleries where Lavoie showcased her art were closed. The artist started to search for something different that she could do. This desire to do something new, combined with her love of boring postcards, seemed especially fitting during this time when we’re not only unable to travel but are also missing our loved ones dearly.

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Trisha Lavoie (@trishaleighlavoie)


“It’s basically a subscription service where for the next 12 months of the year you will receive boring photographic images or boring postcards, however you want to describe them, done by different artists from different parts of Canada,” explained Lavoie.

There is a small fee associated with the service to help offset the costs of printing but also because it was important to Lavoie to be able to compensate the contributing artists for their work.

Like Lavoie, many of the artists who have contributed work to the project are not traditionally photographers either. Lavoie wanted to encourage others — artists and postcard recipients alike — to try new things but also to take another look at their world. To that end, she hopes that this will be an opportunity for individuals to discover new artists in a time when it’s not possible to do so in the typical fashion.

Lavoie wanted to encourage others — artists and postcard recipients alike — to try new things but also to take another look at their world. To that end, she hopes that this will be an opportunity for individuals to discover new artists in a time when it’s not possible to do so in the typical fashion.

“I hope it just brings a little bit of delight to their day . . . I hope that somebody might take a look at [the images] and kind of have a bit of a laugh. [A]lso in the case of people who are being sent cards by other people, it gives them a little moment of joy to get a piece of mail from someone they love,” said Lavoie.

For Lavoie, writing postcards has also been a bit of a therapeutic practice, helping her to stay connected with friends and family during the past few months.

“There’s something kind of weirdly therapeutic for me to just sit down and force myself to just write a letter or write a postcard to someone. You’re thinking about that person and you’re thinking about what you’re going to write to them, even if it’s just for a small period of time and you’re not distracted by other things. [F]or me, you want to try to make it witty, you want to try to make it a little funny, you want it to be entertaining . . . it forces you to just step back, I think and do that,” explained Lavoie.

“There’s something kind of weirdly therapeutic for me to just sit down and force myself to just write a letter or write a postcard to someone.”

Many appear to feel the same as her, with a number of individuals purchasing the postcards as a gift to loved ones, near and far. Lavoie has found the positive reception a very uplifting part of the project. 

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Trisha Lavoie (@trishaleighlavoie)


Initially, Lavoie had planned for Postcards from Anywhere to span only the year, but she did also mention that depending on if she continues to receive artist contributions and if there is still interest, she might consider continuing it.

Either way, as we move forward into this new year, projects like Postcards from Anywhere provide us with much-needed opportunities to reconnect with our local communities, learn about new artists and connect with loved ones.

Author

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.