Chuck Welch (CrackerJack Kid)

Leben und Arbeit/biography

Chuck Welch, aka CrackerJack Kid, was born in Kearney, Nebraska, in 1948. He was first exposed to Mail Art through the exhibition Omaha Flows System, curated by Ken Friedman at the Joslyn Art Museum, Omaha, Nebraska in 1973. Welch became actively involved in mail art in 1978. He adopted the name CrackerJack Kid because going to the mail box each day reminded him of opening a box of CrackerJacks – you never knew what surprise you would find inside. Welch was a member of Ray Johnson‘s New York Correspondance School. Both were in regular contact and Johnson kept mailing to Welch daughter – now a Mail Artist herself – who he referred to as CrackerJack’s Kid.

Besides being an active participant in mail art for approximately two decades, Welch also published two significant books about the network – Networking Currents (1986) and Eternal Network: A Mail Art Anthology (1995).

As the Internet began to evolve, Welch explored the relationship between Mail Art and the Internet through the project Telenetlink (1991). He also developed Netshaker On-Line (1995), an e-zine, and EMMA (the Electronic Museum of Mail Art), the first web-based site devoted to mail art and first virtual art gallery (showing besides others Mail Art’s first online exhibition “Cyberstamps”).

As the decade of the 90s ended, Welch had withdrawn from active participation in Mail Art, but is now active again, writing about Mail Art, making works on paper and artists’ stamps. Besides that Welch is also active as a folk singer, and lives in Hancock, New Hampshire.

Chuck Welch wurde 1948 in Kearney, Nebraska, geboren. Er ist auch als CrackerJack Kid bekannt und kam mit der Mail Art durch die Ausstellung Omaha Flow System, 1973 kuratiert von Ken Friedman im Joslyn Art Museum, Omaha, Nebraska, in Kontakt. Ab 1978 beteiligte er sich aktiv am Mail Art-Netzwerk. Er nahm den Namen CrackerJack Kid an, da ihn der tägliche Gang zum Briefkasten an das Öffnen einer Schachtel CrackerJacks erinnerte – weil man kann nie wissen konnte, welche Überraschung man in ihr finden würde. Welch war Mitglied in Ray JohnsonNew York Correspondance School. Beide standen in regelmäßigem Austausch miteinander, wobei Johnson seine Sendungen immer an Welchs Tochter – heute selbst eine Mailartistin – adressierte und sie als CrackerJack’s Kid bezeichnete.

Abgesehen davon, dass er für zwei Jahrzehnte ein aktiver Mail Artist war, veröffentlichte Welch auch zwei wichtige Bücher über das Netzwerk – Networking Currents und Eternal Network: A Mail Art-Anthology.

Als das Internet begann, sich zu entwickeln, erkundete Welch die Beziehung zwischen Mail Art und Internet durch das Projekt Telenetlink (1991). Er entwickelte auch Netshaker On-Line (1995), ein E-Zine, und Emma (Electronic Museum of Mail Art), die erste Webseite, die der Mail Art gewidmet war und gleichzeitig die erste virtuelle Galerie (die u.a. die erste Online-Ausstellung “Cyberstamps” zeigte).

Als die 1990er Jahre zu Ende gingen, hatte sich Welch von der Mail Art zurückgezogen, ist aber inzwischen wieder aktiv. Welch schreibt über die Mail Art, befasst sich aber zeitgleich auch wieder mit Arbeiten auf Papier und Artistamps. Heute lebt er in Hancock, New Hampshire, und ist auch als Folk-Sänger aktiv.

Ausgewählte Arbeiten/selected works

Literatur (Auswahl)/literature (selection)

  • Welch, Chuck: Networking Currents, 1986.
  • Welch, Chuck: Eternal Network: A Mail Art-Anthology, Calgary 1995.


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

10 thoughts on “Chuck Welch (CrackerJack Kid)”

  1. … Dear. Suzy, &. All. Greetings. ! … Chuck’s. Doing, … Currently, a. BIG. Mail-Art Show. in. N.H. … Sincerely, – Higgins.

  2. Anna Banana, There are two ways you can see The Eternal Network Mail Art Archive which has been catalogued and scanned. Come visit at 42 Monadnock Lane, Peterborough, NH or visit my three Facebook walls.

  3. Hey Chuck, Where do I go to get to SEE your archive . . . I’ve been searching around to look at artists’ archives, and so far, Niels Lomholt is the only one that shows a LOT of images . . . all the rest are text based with an incidental image .. . you’ve mentioned you’ve scanned everything, so where do I go to see this work?

    best wishes,

  4. Hi Chuck, Peat O’Neil (ideamine) here….so pleased to see IMA online in so many places.
    I have archive of various received mail art pieces and copies of my outgoing. Maybe 6 ” x 8″ x 11″ plus larger posters by R Cohen, pages of mail art stamps and correspondence mid 1970s-80s. Know of any archives looking for more IMA materials?

    1. Hello Peat,
      I remember you well for that excellent mail art piece you wrote for the “Washington Post” back in the late 80s. Are you free lancing? Would love to reconnect after all these years. I’ve moved a number of times through the years and it’s a wonder how anybody finds my mail art address. Send to PO Box 978, Hancock, NH 03449. Will send postcard of Ray Johnson and I performing at his Nassau County Museum of Art retrospective, February 1984.
      Very Best Wishes,
      CrackerJack Kid

      1. Hello CJK,
        Sending postcard as I type this digital reply. Did you know John Held donated mail art archive to the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American Art in DC?
        I’m doing online writing+coding work these days for Diplopedia, the State Dept’s online encyclopedia (wiki-style) but not open to general public. Yet.
        Otherwise, painting, vegetable growing, some teaching & writing. I have a couple of books out there.
        Hope all is well with you and yours!

    1. Suzy,

      In the 1970s I created two prints about Wounded Knee, a silkscreen print and a photo engraving featuring the head of Sitting Bull overlaying a background of photos taken of the massacred Sioux at wounded Knee. I was living in Nebraska at the time these two art works were completed. I remember being invited by the Bellevue Womens Club, or some such organization, to speak about these prints and others created at the time. I was a high school teacher in the Bellevue Public School system from 1974-1984. Your name sounds very familiar.


      Chuck Welch
      PO Box 151
      Hancock, NH

      1. Chuck I was a pharmacist who worked with Cathy at Skaggs at 72nd and L. I was engaged to Rich Coyne and we were married on 8/31/79 and relocated to Rochester, Minnesota. We subsequently relocated to St. Joseph, Mo, had 2 daughters, Rich had several bouts with paranoia/schizophrenia and was hospitalized in Omaha and Topeka, Ks. Our daughters are both married, one in KC and one here in Omaha. His last hospitalization (Omaha) resulted in him living in a community owned by Immanuel Hospital. I retired from pharmacy in May 2012, bought a villa in Omaha and Rich and I are separated. I still have the print and am happy to have reconnected, have thought of you and Cathy ( is she an MD now) often, so my best to both of you and if you are ever in Omaha, look me up!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s