First-class art

Postcard artPostcard art

Organising the postcard art exhibition as part of Art Trail Wanstead last month was a 'very interesting project to work on', says Eugene Coyle.

Last month's Wanstead postcard art exhibition asked local residents to create a piece of art and post it to us. Organising the display afforded me an opportunity to engage with the community and to make a valuable contribution to the local art scene. I met some very colourful characters and hopefully widened the appeal of the art trail beyond the borders of east London, having received entries from as far afield as Holland, Spain, France and Germany.

Some of the most heartening feedback I received was that the project encouraged participants who would not normally have considered entering work in the trail. Entrants have said this opportunity revitalised their interest in art, having not made any work for several years, and that they hope to continue with their rediscovered creative side. That kind of reaction is incredibly rewarding and has made the hard work even more worthwhile.

I found everyone very supportive and open to engaging with the concept of producing a creative postcard and letting it go. This was born out by the 140 or so entries I received through the post in a variety of mediums. The artists used painting, drawing, written word, collage, printing, mixed media and photography to convey their own personal interpretation of the art trail theme, the human condition.

Two of the submitted art genres I have been particularly impressed with personally are works using the written word as the basis of their creativity and some of the more 'abstract' ideas. Some works were monotone and others vibrant colour; there were linear drawings and random shapes, literal interpretations and more ethereal responses to the theme. Some entries explored serious themes, such as the First World War, mental health and issues around smoking, while others embraced the more whimsical nature of humans, love and the beauty surrounding us.

It was a sheer delight to observe the array of originality arriving through the post, and I found myself imagining the characters behind the works, many of whom will remain anonymous and others I had the pleasure of meeting at trail events. The fascinating part of displaying the works anonymously, and as a group exhibition, is that it is left entirely to the viewer to decide what the work means to them and what emotion they elicit from it.

I am hopeful the success of the project will encourage others to get involved in the next trail – which will be the 10th – and help it to grow further by bringing their own ideas.

It has been a privilege to witness the level of imagination and creativity that went into the works and I believe it made a visually exciting display across the two venues, The Stow Brothers estate agents and Wanstead Library. If you didn't get a chance to see it, The Stow Brothers display will continue this month (with some of the cards also available to buy for £5 each in aid of charity) due to the wonderful support of the team there and marketing manager Victoria Kearney. I would be grateful for any feedback and expression of interest in participating in future postcard art events, or the art trail in general.

To send feedback on the exhibition, email This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or visit

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