The Airmail Project is underway

The Airmail Project is 16 artists in 16 countries collaborating by post. Each of the 16 pieces of artwork will have been started by one of the artists, and then posted to another artist who will work on it, then posted to a third artist who will finish it. Each of the artists will participate in co-creating three pieces of art.

You can track the progress of the project on the project blog

The diverse bunch of  talented artists: Lara Salmon from USA, Federico Fernández Gärtner from Colombia, Nini Sum from China, Maria ‘Smya’ Mokbel from Hungary, Anastasia Belous from Ukraine, Dean Christie from Australia, Henk Holsheimer from Holland, Robert Ekblom from Sweden, Ben Ong from Malaysia, Saba Sadr from Lebanon, Akin Lasekan from Nigeria, Marianne Saltiel from Mexico, Andile Dyalvane from South Africa, Rosie Cooper from New Zealand, Richard Watkins from Britain, and Tara Jaffar from Iraq.

The first round of the work has just started to come back and already is showing signs of being the project we hoped for.

ture color tara Bridge to Morphosis

fede Maria - the secret garden

Introducing The Airmail Project: an international multi-artist collaboration by post

I’m delighted to announce the arrival of a new collaborative art project. Inspired by the old surrealist game Exquisite Corpse (where a figure is drawn by multiple artists) each piece in The Airmail Project will be created by three artists from different countries who will collaborate by post.

The project was born in a conversation with the talented Lara Salmon about how cultural perspectives play out in artwork and the power of co-creation. Since studying together in California in 2009 we have both lived abroad (Richard in China, Lara in Lebanon) and been involved in collaborating together (Take It & Run) and separately (No Vacancy, United Verses 译站, Most Things Move).

For the project we are now looking to gather 10-15 talented artists from different countries around the world to join in. We have already been lucky enough to find likeminded artists from Lebanon, USA, UK, Colombia, Ukraine and China – but we are still on the look out for artists from other countries. If you or anyone you know might be suitable, then do get in touch via penpaperpause at gmail dot com.


Photo via tammie_m3enf on Flickr

Buy Most Things Move

Most Things Move, a book of my short poems and Gretchen Jacobsen‘s illustrations is available now! I’m really excited.

You can buy a copy for £5, including UK delivery


The book is printed nicely and feels great in the hand – a lovely gift if someone likes words and pictures – and for a limited time you can buy 3 copies for £12, including UK delivery


We also decided to make prints of original A3 sized illustrations affordable at just £25 – get in touch via commenting on this post or email:


Thanks to all of you who came down to the launch – made me very proud and was amazing to have the illustrations up – they stay on display in Kahaila Cafe (135 Brick Lane) for the whole of August.

iPhoto Library


Most Things Move: a book of illustrated poems by Richard Watkins & Gretchen Jacobsen

I’m delighted to announce the launch of my latest book, Most Things Move, a book of short poems exploring things that move and things that move us, illustrated by the ever wonderful Gretchen Jacobsen and published by Simply This. Please come down for the launch event at Kahaila Cafe 135 Brick Lane (E1 6SB) on the evening of Thursday 15 August 2013. Alternatively the illustrations will be exhibiting in the cafe for the whole of August. To give you a taste of the theme, here is the preface:

With enough time, or close enough attention,
Things that seem still show signs of motion –
A previously fixed object, or a stagnant situation,
Starts to slowly loosen up under observation –
We find things less rigid than we imagine –
More fluid than we can fathom –
And as we look, there’s another shift:
We are moved by these moving things.

Gretchen’s pencil is always full of magic.

Couple by Gretchen Jacobsen

You can pre-order it for £5 GBP (including UK delivery)

For international delivery click HERE.

Special thanks go to Sarah Lowe and Ben Weldon, without whom the whole project wouldn’t have unfolded.

Sarah Silverstein illustrations

Sarah Silverstein is an amazing young illustrator based in Southampton. Having previously contributed to the Take It & Run project, she decided to take one of my poems as inspiration for another project she was doing – this time on the urban environment. You can see much more over at

The full poem below…

Continue reading

Reflections on Darkness: Words to Light Up Our Darkest Months

I’m very happy to be joining in with the rather exciting Reflections on Darkness project, where all sorts of writers from around the world share their thoughts over the dark months of winter. It’s curated by Brianna Kocka, and one among many prestigious contributors is Drew Worthley, a friend and songwriter of some note whose album you should download.

It’s also worth liking the Facebook page where Brianna shares lovely quotes like this one from the almighty Mary Oliver:

“Someone I loved once gave me a box full of darkness. It took me years to understand that this too, was a gift.”

Darkness is good.