Jennifer Lanski
a project from the studio of Jennifer Lanski
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How do you feel when you go to fetch your mail, and in among the bills, notices, weekly ads, offers for better cable TV, promises of lower insurance rates, etc., there is an envelope on which you recognize the handwriting of a friend? Do you experience happy anticipation (different from normal) as you go to the mailbox (or check the mail slot, or post office box, or however you receive your mail) when you are expecting a birthday or holiday card, or some small gift, or even an item you have ordered yourself (even as mundane as replacement watch batteries)? Do you, perhaps, always approach collecting the mail with a tiny glimmer of hope that, just maybe, there will be some small, happy surprise; and when there is, does it make your day?

The physicality of a piece of mail (the texture of the paper, the ink canceling the postage stamp, the dents from being passed through many hands), and the real and imagined journey contained in its transport from its place of origin to your very own mailbox—hand delivered to your home—is more personal, warmer, more “real” in some way than receiving an email or text or tweet, but almost an endangered occurrence in contemporary society. (How frequently do we pen a letter to a friend?)

Such a joy should be less rare. And anticipation of a small, desired piece of mail hidden among the rest of the mundane contents of the mailbox makes that short journey to fetch them a momentary daily adventure with the possibility of a happy surprise.

The subscriptionART project will bring this joy and anticipation to your mailbox. Subscribe now!

Subscribers to the project are sent two postcard-sized prints each month, so you can anticipate receiving welcome mail regularly.

The number of prints in each edition depends on the number of subscribers each month. The distribution process further marks the prints, making them unique. Thus the artist, subscribers, and postal service are all involved as necessary collaborators in the project; the project would not exist without participation from all of these constituents.

Subscription levels are related to income (or personal choice), making participation in this project accessible and affordable to all.

The subscriptionART project launched in May 2013. Subscribe now to be included on the distribution list for a coming month, or continue reading below first for more detailed information.

How It Works [expand]

A drawing made by the artist is transformed into an edition of postcard-sized prints, which are then signed and numbered. The number of prints in each edition is determined by the number of subscribers to the project for that month. The process continues when these prints are addressed, given a postage stamp, and sent through the mail, accumulating further marks during this process (cancellation marks, postal bar codes, possible minor dirt, dents, tears, or other “damage” due to handling, etc.). When the prints arrive in the subscribers' mailboxes, each print is now unique, both because of its specific address, and because of the marks received during the distribution process. Once the prints have arrived (or have been lost in the mail and failed to arrive), the creation of that work, part of the subscriptionART project, is complete.

Two prints are sent each calendar month (not necessarily evenly spaced in time) while the project is in an active phase so that subscribers may anticipate welcome mail in their mailboxes on a regular basis.

How to Subscribe [expand]

To subscribe to the project, a potential subscriber must first decide which subscription structure (income based, alternate, or designated recipient) they would like to use. If they choose the income-based structure, they will then also need to determine their income level so they know which subscription level is appropriate for them.

To be part of the subscriptionART project, a subscriber needs to provide their name and mailing address, an email address (for communication regarding the project and possibly other news from the artist), and payment, in US dollars, for the term they are subscribing for, indicating subscription level and length of subscription desired (and the additional international postage fee, if applicable). If using the designated recipient structure, then the name, mailing address, and email address for the designated recipient must also be provided. Payment can be made by check or money order to the artist (if the subscriber knows the artist's current mailing address), or by subscribing on the artist's website, where payment can be made using PayPal (this is the simplest method of payment for international subscribers).

Subscription Levels: Income-Based (Standard) Subscriptions [expand]

To determine your subscription level, find the range that includes your annual income. The monthly subscription rate for that subscription level is then shown to the right. Current subscription terms are 4, 8, and 12 months; the cost for each of these subscription terms is calculated and shown as well.

For international addresses, the additional international postage fee is currently $2.50 per month.

Subscription Annual Monthly Cost for Cost for Cost for
Level Income Level Rate 4 Months 8 Months 12 Months
Level 1Less than $30,000$5$20$40$60
Level 2$30,000–$50,000$5$20$40$60
Level 3$50,000–$65,000$7.50$30$60$90
Level 4$65,000–$85,000$10$40$80$120
Level 5$85,000–$105,000$15$60$120$180
Level 6$105,000–$125,000$20$80$160$240
Level 7$125,000–$150,000$30$120$240$360
Level 8$150,000–$200,000$50$200$400$600
Level 9$200,000–$280,000$100$400$800$1,200
Level 10$280,000–$375,000$200$800$1,600$2,400
Level 11$375,000–$500,000$500$2,000$4,000$6,000
Level 12$500,000–$750,000$1,000$4,000$8,000$12,000
Level 13$750,000–$1,000,000$2,000$8,000$16,000$24,000
Level 14$1,000,000–$1,750,000$5,000$20,000$40,000$60,000
Level 15$1,750,000–$3,400,000$10,000$40,000$80,000$120,000
Level 16$3,400,000–$6,500,000$20,000$80,000$160,000$240,000
Level 17$6,500,000–$12,000,000$50,000$200,000$400,000$600,000
Level 18$12,000,000–$20,000,000$100,000$400,000$800,000$1,200,000
Level 19$20,000,000–$47,000,000$250,000$1,000,000$2,000,000$3,000,000
Level 20$47,000,000–$100,000,000$600,000$2,400,000$4,800,000$7,200,000
Level 21$100,000,000–$250,000,000$1,750,000$7,000,000$14,000,000$21,000,000
Level 22$250,000,000–$500,000,000$5,000,000$20,000,000$40,000,000$60,000,000
Level 23$500,000,000–$1,000,000,000$12,500,000$50,000,000$100,000,000$150,000,000
Level 24Over $1,000,000,000$50,000,000$200,000,000$400,000,000$600,000,000

Subscription Levels: Alternate (Subjective) Subscriptions [expand]

Choose the level that seems appropriate for you. The monthly subscription rate for each subscription level is shown to the right of its name. Current subscription terms are 4, 8, and 12 months; the cost for each of these subscription terms is calculated and shown as well.

For international addresses, the additional international postage fee is currently $2.50 per month.

Subscription Monthly Cost for Cost for Cost for
Level Rate 4 Months 8 Months 12 Months
Starving art lover$6$24$48$72
Considering buying art$11$44$88$132
Have a few pieces already$21$84$168$252
Running out of wall space$51$204$408$612
Looking for a museum to donate my collection to$201$804$1,608$2,412
Thinking of building my own museum$1,001$4,004$8,008$12,012

Subscription Levels: Designated Recipient (“Gift”) Subscriptions [expand]

Choose the level that seems appropriate for you. The monthly subscription rate for each subscription level is shown to the right of its name. Current subscription terms are 8 and 12 months; the cost for each of these subscription terms is calculated and shown as well.

For international addresses, the additional international postage fee is currently $2.50 per month.

Subscription Monthly Cost for Cost for
Level Rate 8 Months 12 Months
Splendid sponsor$10$80$120
Prized patron$30$240$360
Brilliant benefactor$100$800$1,200
Phenomenal philanthropist$500$4,000$6,000
Awesome altruist$1,000$8,000$12,000

More about Income-Based Subscriptions [expand]

To determine income level, any and all income from all sources, reported or reportable or not to the IRS, should be added together.

If there is an unanticipated change to the income level of a subscriber once they have subscribed to the project using the standard structure, that change should be reflected when it is time for a subscriber to renew their subscription by choosing the new, appropriate subscription level. If a subscriber reasonably anticipates a change in income level during the period for which they are subscribing, they should calculate the weighted average income and use that. (If they are subscribing for one year and anticipate one income for 4 months and another for 8 months, for example, their weighted income level would be based on one-third of the initial income plus two-thirds of the subsequent income.)

More about Alternate Subscriptions (a.k.a. I Really Don't Want to Tell You My Income Level) [expand]

Some people find it really uncomfortable to subscribe by income level, even though this information will never be linked to their name in any way (and is of absolutely no interest to me, personally). For those of you who do not wish to use the careful structure of subscription levels related to specific income levels, feel free to subscribe using the alternate, much coarser, and subjective structure.

More about Designated Recipient Subscriptions [expand]

It is also possible to subscribe to the project and to designate that the two monthly prints are sent to someone else. In this case, both the person initiating the subscription (the “giver”) and the person receiving the prints (the “designated recipient”) are part of the project, though their participation obviously differs somewhat from that of the standard subscriber.

Read more about this recent addition to the project to understand how it works.

Or subscribe as a giver now.

The Art [expand]

Through the creation of the work, a unique drawing is turned into an edition of identical prints; these prints then each become unique as the distribution process adds different marks to each print (addresses; postal, handling, and environmental markings, etc.). The project includes not only the physical prints themselves (with the accumulated marks from the distribution process), but also the list of the subscribers for that month to whom the print has been sent, and any “mishaps” that may occur in this process of distribution (such as prints being lost in the mail or damaged by weather conditions). Also part of the project is each of the three price structures for subscribing to the project. The project is, in a sense, a collaboration between the artist, the subscribers to the project, and the postal service.

Price, Value, and Accessibility, and Trust [expand]

Because the price structures for subscribing to the project differentiates between subscribers' income levels (or personal choices in how much to spend on the project), this art is affordable to everyone (with the understanding that there must be a minimum price to cover the basic costs to the artist, such as postage). Subscribers who are less financially able therefore may pay less (not only a lower dollar amount, but also a lower percentage of their own income) than those subscribers who are more financially able.

The “value” of a print sent to a subscriber should neither be assumed to be equal to that of every other subscriber's, nor should it be assumed that it is proportional to the cost to that particular subscriber to receive it. Value is created through markets, consensus, scarcity, and individual preference (among other factors), so no stable dollar value can be assigned in advance to any particular print. Since uniqueness can add value, for example, one print out of the edition that happens to get marked by rain could be seen as more valuable than others that are not so marked; conversely that print could be seen as “damaged” by some and hence less valuable.

This work bypasses the traditional gallery system, since the postal service is used for distribution. It is accessible to a wide audience due to its affordable price structure and to its independence from a singular distribution/exhibition location. (In the traditional gallery structure, an individual could only see a work of art if that individual traveled to the specific space in which it was being shown, creating geographical barriers to seeing the work.) This work is created, in a sense, by and for its audience, since editions of prints are only made and distributed if there are sufficient subscribers to the project at any moment, and the completion of the work depends on the process of its distribution to subscribers' mailboxes.

Since a subscriber to the project determines their own subscription level based on self-reported income (for the standard structure), and there is no verification of this income level by the artist, an element of trust is built into the project. If a subscriber subscribes with a false income level, any prints they receive as part of the subscriptionART project are reclassified immediately and permanently as “damaged, used paper” without any monetary or other value. This is true regardless of whether the artist ever discovers that the subscriber used a false income level. A subscriber whose income level is blatantly false (such as someone whose income level is publicly known and claims a different income level when subscribing to the project) will be removed from the distribution list. In the absence of such contradicting evidence, subscribers' self-reported income levels will be taken as accurate.

Project Launch and Conditions [expand]

The project launched in May 2013. New subscribers, please allow 4 to 6 weeks to be officially added to the project (depending on circumstances, a subscriber could be added to the project in a few days). Once a subscriber is part of the project, they will receive prints beginning in the next calendar month (or possibly the current calendar month, if neither of the two prints for that calendar month has already been prepared for distribution).

Note that in subscribing to the project, subscribers are agreeing that their names and cities may be made public by the artist. Street addresses will not be made public by the artist without specific permission from a subscriber; of course the subscriber's street address will be present on the print once it is prepared for distribution, so is visible to anyone whom the subscriber allows to see the print. Subscribers' email addresses will not be made public. Self-reported income levels may be made public in the aggregate; individual names will not be attached to specific income levels. This information will never be sold to a third party or otherwise shared, except as already stated in this paragraph.

Project Being Active, Suspended, or Discontinued [expand]

The project is in an active phase (meaning editions of prints are sent twice per month to current subscribers) only when the total revenue generated by subscriptions and number of current subscribers is sufficient to justify the artist doing the work of the project. This active phase threshold is currently set at a minimum of 5 subscribers and also a minimum revenue (all subscribers' cost per month combined) of $100 per month. The project may go into an inactive or suspended phase if the number of subscribers or the total revenue drops below the threshold level; the project may also be temporarily suspended due to circumstances of the artist and resumed in a future calendar month. Should any of these circumstances arise causing the project to be temporarily suspended, a notice to this effect will be posted on the website for the project,

If the project is intentionally discontinued at some point by the artist, prints will be mailed out until all subscribers have reached the end of their subscription terms; in preparation for this event, no new subscribers would be allowed to join the project in advance of this discontinuation date for a term continuing past the end of the project, nor would current subscribers be allowed to renew their subscriptions for a term continuing past this date. Also in this case, a notice to this effect will be posted on the website for the project,

In the event of unexpected death or disability of the artist (or disaster), the project may be discontinued, without warning, at any point; no refunds will be made, as the effects of such an unexpected and uncontrollable event on the project would be considered part of the project (like prints that could get lost in the mail during distribution). The artist sincerely hopes that such an event will not occur.

International Subscribers [expand]

Due to a higher cost of distribution, subscribers with addresses outside of the United States must pay an additional international postage fee (which is fixed and not dependent on subscription level).

The simplest method of payment for international subscribers is to use PayPal through the artist's website.

Renewing Subscriptions [expand]

It is the responsibility of subscribers to make sure that their subscription is current; it is recommended that subscribers renew their subscription no later than the beginning of the calendar month in which their current subscription term will end. (The process of renewing is the same as the process of initially subscribing; a subscriber chooses the appropriate subscription structure and level.) If a subscriber fails to renew their subscription before the last print for their final calendar month has been distributed or before the distribution list for the next calendar month has been finalized, they will be considered a former subscriber with a lapsed subscription. A subscriber whose subscription has lapsed should allow 4 to 6 weeks (upon resubscription) to be added again to the distribution list for prints, and therefore may miss one or more calendar months' worth of prints in their mailbox.

Staying Up to Date on the Project [expand]

Current information about the project (such as whether prints for a calendar month have been distributed yet) and directions for subscribing can be found on the artist's website, at

Subscribe now!