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Ruud Janssen, born in Tilburg, Netherlands on July 29th 1959. Currently working and living in Breda. 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.

(photo taken January 1999).

More recent photos are available by clicking on RECENT PHOTOS or you can see some of his latest art (acrylworks , drawings , eraser-carving and computer-art) by clicking on: RECENT ART or some MAIL ART that I sent out recently. There is also a complete ONLINE PORTFOLIO available with an overview of his current work.


1959 : Ruud Janssen was born in Tilburg, the Netherlands.

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' (TAM).

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, etc.

Go to the Rubber Stamp Archive-sectionHe 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 mail artists.

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 Carrion)

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 datacommunication.

Go to the IUOMA-section 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.

me , Made Balbat and Reiu Tüür visiting the RAFT-group. Just before the coup! 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 travelled for the first time 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, Tuur). 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) , 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 (meets Lotte Rosenkilde Hansen) and Germany (where at Stempel Mekka-2 he 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 (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 receives.

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.

2003 : Together with my partner Litsa Spathi I started the Fluxus Heidelberg Center in which we work together in Fluxus Performances. Through the center also new publications are produced and sent into the network.



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