Keith Bates

Leben und Arbeit/biography

Keith Bates was born in Liverpool, England in 1951. He lives in Manchester and worked as an Art & Design teacher until 2009. Since then he has concentrated on designing typefaces and making fonts that are distributed from his website and elsewhere.

He has contributed to international Mail Art shows since his introduction to networking in 1983 at an Open University “Art & Environment” Summer School and has organised his own Mail Art projects since that time. He is known for his staunchly anti-Tourist stance. The artist’s website at includes his recent Mailograms (monogram designs for mailartists),  Erstaz Ephemera ticket artworks, the documentation for his Abstract Realism project, songs with Mail Art themes, and collected essays. The CAMERAderie mailartist photoportrait project was also displayed on the site from 2006 to 2010 and the the Mailart Typeface of 2004 is also available to download along with other Mail Art inspired fonts. In 2011 he collaborated with Italian mailartist Vittore Baroni on rewriting the English Wikipedia page about Mail Art and has recently been a vocal advocate for the greater acceptance of Email Art and digital participation to Mail Art projects.


  • 1983 : Comic to Comic – Comic book documentation of 9 x 9 cm frames contributions from mailartists.
  • 1984 : Another Stamp Album – A stamp album of mailartists’ stamp designs.
  • 1985 : Ticket Art – Artist-designed tickets, collages and found tickets. The mail art show, “Just the Ticket” was displayed at Didsbury Library, Manchester in January 1986.
  • 1986 – 1987 : Elements – Mailartists were asked for a small part of their visual art, their written work and their sound (on audio cassette). The submissions formed the basis of an oil painting, a story booklet (written with Fergus Stewart), songs and sound collage.
  • 1988 : The Eclectic Hermit – Composite booklet.
  • 1990 : Jigsaw – Blank jigsaw pieces were sent to mailartists, worked into and returned for assembly and documentation.
  • 1991 : Jackson Pollock’s Shoes – Accidental masterpieces from famous artists documented as a spoof Christie’s auction catalogue.
  • 1991 : Receipts Project – Lifesize sculpture of the ‘Global Shopper’ and shopping trolley collaged with shopping receipts, made during Activity Week at Joseph Eastham School.
  • 1992 to present : Ersatz Ephemera – Ongoing project collecting and reworking ephemeral objects such as tickets, labels etc.
  • 1993 : The English Suppressionists – Mail Art project about ‘Englishness’. The first English Suppressionist Exhibition held at Brighton Marina Arts Index Gallery.
  • 1995 : Artists’ Cheques – Artist-designed bank cheques culminating in the Artistcheckbooks sent to each participant. Displayed in London, York and in Holland.
  • 1996 : Cuttings for the Studio Floor (Joint project with Leanda Ryan) – Mailartists were asked for a small part of their work for a collaged floor at 2 Ferngate Drive.
  • 1999 : Proxy Tape Cassette Edition of Mail Art inspired music.
  • 2000 : MailBox Friends – Mail Art essays forming the basis of the artist’s website from 2001.
  • 2001 : Our Day Out Mailartists asked to document a Day Trip for an exhibition at Joseph Eastham High School, Salford.
  • 2002 : Abstract Realism – Mailartists invited to join the Abstract Realists, a post post-modern movement of multiple manifestos.
  • 2004 : Mailart Font – Artists invited to send one character for the Mailart Typeface.
  • 2006 – 2010 : CAMERAderie – Web gallery of Mailartist Photoportraits at
  • 2012  : Email Art – Mail Art in the Age of the Internet (essay)
  • 2012 to present : Mailograms – Monogram designs for mailartists.

Keith Bates wurde 1951 in Liverpool, England geboren. Arbeitet als Art & Design-Lehrer an der Salford High School.

Er nimmt an internationalen Mail Art Shows seit 1983 teil, als er damit bei einer Offenen Universitäts “Art & Environment”-Sommerschule in Berührung kam. Er organisiert seitdem auch eigene Projekte. Er ist bekannt für seine Anti-Touristen-Haltung, seinen Künstlernamen ”Eclectic Hermit” und Projekte wie “English Suppressionists and Cuttings for the Studio Floor”. Seine “Ersatz Ephemera”-Stücke verwandeln bescheidene Eintrittskarten in Mail Art und können auf seiner Website, zusammen mit einigen von der Mail Art inspirierten Songs und der Dokumentation seiner gegenwärtigen Projekte, angesehen werden. Dort findet man auch Abstrakten Realismus und “The Mail Art Typeface”, eine Mail Art Schriftart, die zum Download bereit steht.

Ausgewählte Arbeiten/selected works

Literatur (Auswahl)/literature (selection)



Author: Mail Artists' Index

Mail Artists' Index Biographies, works and links concerning important Mail Artists. – Biografien, Arbeiten und Links bedeutender Mail Art Künstler. Mail Art | Mail Artists | Postkunst

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