- Ruud Janssen, born in Tilburg, Netherlands
on July 29th 1959. He is an artist, teacher, writer and publisher.
He became active with mail art in
1980 and did several international mail art projects. Publishes articles, magazines and
booklets with his TAM-Publications and participates in international mail art projects,
collaborations and exhibitions. Since 1994 he conducts interviews with mail artists in
different communication-forms and publishes the results in booklets and on the internet.
- Important event:
- 1959 : Ruud Janssen was born in Tilburg, the
- 1966 : When he was 7 years old he started
with traditional correspondence to pen pals all over the world.
- 1974 : Starts with oil-painting and is part
of an artgroup at highschool, followed by his first group-exhibition.
- 1977 : After finishing highschool he worked
the whole vacation to buy a professional camera. Ones bought he started with photography.
Then he studies Technical Physics at the University in Eindhoven and Physics/Mathematics
at the Educational Faculty (NLO) in Tilburg. Besides these subjects he also follows as a
hobby the fast changing world of computers.
- 1980 : In this year Ruud Janssen started
with combining his correspondence and his art-work under the name 'Travelling Art Mail'
- 1983 : He graduated and starts with
teaching. In this year he gets connected to the international Mail Art network in which he
uses the (now) well-known name TAM. Under this name he organized several mail art projects
like : Snip-Xerox-Project, TAM was here, Computer Mail Art, TAM is everywhere, Bank-Art,
- He also founded in 1983 the TAM-Rubberstamp Archive which today
contains Rubberstamp-prints from more than 1700 mail artists in 70 countries (statistics
are kept in a computer-file which is sometimes printed & distributed in the network of
- 1984 : At one of the schools where Ruud
Janssen worked he gave some lessons about mail art. He meets some mail artists from the
70-ies in Amsterdam (like Henryk Gajewski, Sonja van der Burg, Joseph Semah and Ulises
- 1985 : In this year he started editing the
Mail art info-magazine 'TAM-Bulletin'. In 1985 he exhibited his 'TAM was here' project in
the famous Milkyway-gallery (MELKWEG) in Amsterdam. The collection also could be seen in
Italy (Arte Studio , Ponta Nossa). He also participates in the many mail art projects all
over the world , and his work has been scattered over the mail art world. In this year he
also visited the mail art archive of Guy Bleus. Kate Lanxner from USA visited Tilburg to
do an interview for the magazine 'Rubberstampmadness' which is published in the October
1985 issue. In the summer vacation he visited the mail art exhibition in 'the
Schottenburgh' (Amsterdam) and met several mail artists from Holland and abroad. In this
year he starts teaching informatics.
- 1986 : In the congress-year 1986 Ruud
Janssen visited the Eeklo congress-session in Belgium where he did one of his lectures on
mail art. He also organized his own congress-sessions in Tilburg (Holland) and Paris
(France) and met many mail artists.
- 1987 : The TAM-bulletin gets computerized and
accessible by computers connected to the international phone-network. He writes articles
about using the computer in networking and starts to explore the world of
- 1988 : He founded (as a joke) the International Union of Mail Artists (IUOMA) of
which he proclaims to be the General-President.
- 1990 : In this year he published the booklet
'My history in Mail art' which documents his first 10 years in mail art. Mail art has
guided his life and brought many changes. In this year he meets Shozo Shimamoto, Ryosuke
Cohen, Myumi Handa from Japan (and lots of German and Belgium mail artists) during their
Net-Run passing in Köln.
- 1991 : The first (and last) issue of the
IUOMA-magazine is released. In August 1991 the first 'Union-meetings' were in Estonia and
Russia where he traveled together with Made Balbat through these beautiful countries.
While he was there he also experienced the changes of the USSR from the inside and met
several mail artists in this country (Yudin, Shashkin, Tüür). In the Art-Strike Years
(1990-1993) like many other mail artists Ruud Janssen started writing more articles about
mail art. He also starts with collecting statements about mail art. The publication of a
book with these statements got postponed (see 1994).
- 1992 : In this congress-year he travelled
several times. Three times to Estonia (saw the first mail art exhibition in free Estonia
organized by Made Balbat and Reiu Tüür) , once to Sweden, three times to Belgium, once
to Germany , once to France. Some of the travels were connected to the Decentralized
Networker Congress (DNC).
- Besides the travels for DNC he also arranged
some computer-congress sessions. As a result of the many travels in this year he started
to work on a collection of drawings and some have been published in the many mail art
zines that are issued all over the world. Peter and Angela (Germany) delivered some
personal mail by train during their mail-postmen-travels. In this year the National Postal
Museum in 'Den Haag' organized a mail art congress together with an exhibition ('Als kunst
bestempeld') about mail art. Ruud Janssen also went to the ZOO-congress in Antwerpen
(organized by Guy Bleus) , the 'Stempel-Mekka' in Hagen , Germany, and the Temple
(together with Made he meets José van den Broucke and his family) in Deerlijk, Belgium.
The TAM-gallery starts with exhibitions in this year.
- 1993 : During his visit to London he met
Michael Leigh (A1 Waste Paper Co. Ltd.). Also he travelled to Denmark (with Made Balbat
and meets Lotte Rosenkilde Hansen) and Germany (where at Stempel Mekka-2 he finally meets
Anna Banana). In September of this year he issues the first International Poetry Magazine
(IPM). He starts with silk-screen printing at the 'Duvelhok' in Tilburg and starts with
larger art-works including airbrush techniques. Several other publications (booklets and
articles) were published by TAM-Publications. Produces 10,000 blue stickers with the text
"this part is censored" (Censorism).
- 1994 : He focusses more on the traditional
art-forms and includes them in his art-work. The TAM Rubberstamp-Archive is more structured
and publications about this archive are prepared. New publications about mail art themes
are written and the TBHS (TAM Bulletin Host System) is used for spreading mail art texts
too. State ments about mail art are sent out randomly with his mail. A special rubberstamp
for the Rubber Stamp -Archive is made and sent to special contributors and sponsors. In
this year he travelled again to Estonia (the whole month July), England (together with
Made Balbat he meets Michael Leigh and family and also Julia Tant) and Germany
(Stempelmekka-3). The collecting of statements is taken up again (see 1991) and all new
statements are put into three publications which are planned to come out end of next year.
Starts in October with Internet & E-mail at the DDS in Amsterdam. End of this year he
starts with his largest project ever, the mail-interviews. Several mail artists are
simultaneously interviewed by mail, where all possible communication-forms are used (fax,
BBS, E-mail, phone, tourism or the 'traditional' mail).
- 1995 : The first 13 mail-interviews are
published in booklet-form, and more interviews are started. John Held Jr. and Bill
(Picasso) Gaglione visit him and a trip to the USA next year is planned. His
summer-vacation he spends again in Estonia. In this year he experiments more with Internet
and the use of E-mail and publishes several articles and booklets on this subject. Gets
mentioned in the Dictionary of International Biography, Cambridge, England. Designs a
serie of 10+ Fluxus Bucks for ex posto facto in USA and circulates them in the mail
art network. Becomes a member of the IWA (International Writers & Artists Association
, University Boulder - USA).
- 1996 : A new series of 17 mail-interviews
are published this year. Exhibitions of his art and mail art in Split (Croatia) and of his
work with rubber stamps and the " TAM
Rubber Stamp Archive " in San Francisco (October 1996 ; see first report). Starts with the first
homepage from TAM / IUOMA on the Internet and the first serie mail interviews are put
online at the Internet with the help of Jas W. Felter in Canada. Visits Rod Summers in
Maastricht. Travels to South-Germany.
- 1997 : His drawings are published on the
covers of publications of the IWA (International Writers & Artists Association,
Boulder, USA). He visits the 14th Minipress event in Mainz, Germany. More
mail-interviews get published (10 interviews are sceduled for this year), sometimes online
at the Internet before the booklet-version appears. Starts with larger Acryl-works on
canvas. The summer of 1997 he spent in South-Germany again. An exhibition about the
mail-interviews at the Provinciaal Centrum voor Beeldende Kunsten in Hasselt,
Belgium. He writes an online diary during the months September till December 1997 (Secret
Thoughts on Mail-ART) in which he talks about the mail art and e-mail art he sends and
- 1998 : New mail-interviews are published
this year. The interviews are published on the internet first and booklets come on second
place. Also more work is done on the internet which includes more graphics. Starts with
exploring all possibilities of the programming in HTML-language. He starts with painting
with acrylpaint on A5-sized envelopes which he sends out into the mail art network (see
example on photo!). The online diary (secret thoughts) is continued (from January till May
1998) and many visuals are included this time as well. The first online interview is
started with Charles François (Belgium) in which online observers on the internet can
follow the process. Interviews are translated & published in other languages (Spanish
, German and plans for Italian and Russian). More drawings with indian ink and
watercolours are produced. More sites on the Internet are developed (for the VHBO, where
he teaches, and for the Thesis on mail-art by Michael Lumb).
In the vacations he travels to South-Germany and Greece. His site gets reviewed in the
national Dutch computer-magazine PCM.
- Starts in September with new project where
his snail-mail-art has to be digitized by the reciever. The digitized results are
exhibited at the online Exhibition which
already consists of six parts. The first mail-interviews are published by others. Pere
Sousa in Spain publishes Spanish translations of interviews with Clemente Padin and
Edgardo-Antonio Vigo, Joel Cohen (The Sticker Dude) publishes the mail-interview with Guy
Bleus (and even printed a special envelope for the distribution!)
- 1999 : An 3-pages article/interview for RSM
(Rubberstampmadness) is published in the January/Ferbruary issue (Issue 103 Vol. 20 pages
84-86). The Mail-interview projects, artifacts connected to this project, some
acryl-painted envelopes and a small selection of the TAM-Archive is exhibited in the
Queens Library Gallery in New York.
- 2000 : More acryl-paintings are made. The
format is increased and new paintings are zized 90x60 and 100x80 cm. The Rubber
Stamp Archive will cease to grow since this year is the last year that sheets for the
archive will be sent out.
- 2001 : The mail-interview project is ended and the
unfinische interviews are put online.
- 1977/78 : Technical University Eindhoven,
- 1983 : NLO-KL, Tilburg, Degrees Physics
- 1985/95 : Several Informatics-courses.
- 1993/95 : Silkscreen Printing, Duvelhok,
- 2000 : Acryl Painting, Germany
- 1980/now : Founder & General Manager
- 1984/87 : St. Lucas MTS, Technical school.
- 1985/90 : KL/Hogeschool West-Brabant,
Department Lab Education (MLO/HLO).
- 1988/now : General President I.U.O.M.A.
- 1990/95 : Spectrum-College Breda,
Departments LAB and VHBO.
- 1996/1997 : ROC regio Breda.
- 1997/2001 : Baronie College Breda, Unit
- 2001/now : IT-Lyceé, Breda
- Indirizzo: Tam-Publications Ruud Janssen P.O. Box 10388 5000 JJ Tilburg (Olanda)
- E-mail: email@example.com
- Web site: www.iuoma.org
- Links: www.guzzardi.it/arte/archiviomailart/artistimailart/janssen.html
Progetto "Artisti in Cornice"