PostmarkArt by Ken Turmel

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Hello Everyone,

I'm Melissa, and I'd like to share with you some background history about my husband and his work. I met the artist in 1987, and happily together we shared our marriage vows in 1995. Between the both of us, we have six children and seven grandchildren. Kenneth Turmel was born October 19, 1956, directly on Route 66, just a few blocks from its end in Santa Monica, California. He graduated from El Camino Real High School in the San Fernando Valley in 1974. Upon graduation, he enlisted into the United States Air Force later that same year. Throughout his entire military tour of duty, Ken remained in the top ten percent of his training classes in the radio communications career field.

After his honorable discharge from the Air Force in 1979, he joined the ranks of the United States Postal Service as a mail clerk and Ken Turmel retired from his position in 1994, after 20 years of dedicated Federal Government service. Ken was extremely versatile during his postal career, for he had acquired the knowledge and skills of 35 different jobs and positions. He received several awards and certificates of recognition for his suggestions and ideas to postal management. Ken is also a song writer, producer/engineer and part-time musician. From 1982 until 1987, he owned and operated a multi-track recording studio. Two songs, which Ken wrote and recorded in 1985, have received regional airplay in the central Oklahoma area.

In the spring of 1993, the Oklahoma "Cherokee Strip Land Run" postage stamp was introduced by the United States Postal Service. That sparked Ken to put his music career on the back burner for a while, in order to concentrate on a "new idea" that he had. Ken will always admit that this new idea came to him in a dream from the Lord. He woke up one morning and promptly put his dream to work and the result is what he calls "PostmarkArt."

His "PostmarkArt" artworks consists of mint postage stamps placed on colorful, hand-painted backgrounds of state border outlines. These very large pieces of artworks are then hand-carried to hundreds of post offices throughout the United States, specifically for the purpose of acquiring historically significant postmarks to be placed directly atop the original artwork background. Each postmark is inked in its own city and mile by mile the artwork blossoms into a wonderful collage masterpiece. His methodical procedure of personally delivering each artwork to each and every post office is never compromised. The artworks are never mailed to accomplish this tedious task. Besides that, creating a large PostmarkArt project is extremely time and cost sensitive, and Ken would never let the original artworks get very far from his sight.

The "pictorial postmarks" which were placed on the artworks, commemorating specific celebrations along Ken's postmarking routes, have all expired and have been destroyed by the postal service according to regulations. This means that the PostmarkArts become historical documents at the same time as they are being created. These works have been acclaimed to be a "first of its kind" by over 1000 postmasters and postal officials, including many confirmations from various museums, collectors and professional artists.

Frequently dubbed as "the land runner", Ken has accumulated well over 150,000 miles of travel gathering postmarks and autographs within a 20 state region. He is currently working on some new and interesting PostmarkArt projects which include the topics of the Lincoln Highway, California Sesquicentennial, Arizona Centennial and New Mexico Centennial. Ken believes that someday soon, all the postmarks he has acquired will be "lost in time" and will be no longer available. His plans are to keep landrunning for postmarks for as long as he can. I anticipate that someday Ken will take his music career and recording studio off that back burner. He is always coming up with all sorts of new and creative ideas.

So, in the meantime, I guess we'll just have to wait and see what happens.

Until then, sit back and enjoy the historical PostmarkArt. Happy Trails for now!

 - Melissa Turmel (Mrs. Landrunner)

Ken and Melissa Turmel

Melissa and Kenneth


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