London

This London artist will send you handwritten letters and art through the mail

Allyson Proulx, also known as artist Lefty Smudges, is using her own feelings of loneliness to connect with people. She has started a mailing list and offers personal words of encouragement.  

Artist Allyson Proulx created the project Alone, Together as a way to build community

Allyson Proulx, who also goes by Lefty Smudges, sends handcrafted letters and art to people who subscribe to her mailing list. (Sofia Rodriguez/CBC)

She has paper, pens, stamps, envelopes, and positives morning thoughts to offer.

Allyson Proulx, also known as Lefty Smudges, has embarked on a creative journey to build relationships through handwritten letters.

"I struggle with loneliness and I'm not the only one. Having these digital conversations don't cut it for me...I need more substantial relationships...and I cannot be the only one," she said. 

For a small fee, Proulx will send handcrafted letters and art to people who subscribe to her mailing list.  

She calls her year-long project Alone, Together.

 It's something even more magical because we've gotten so far away from it- Allyson Proulx

"It's really interesting how people are reacting to the project. So many people who have been receiving letters from me will say 'I don't even know [when was] the last time I got a letter or the last time I wrote one,' but they remember that feeling," said Proulx, a London-based artist.

"After so many years of digitizing our communication, it's really special to go back because it's not the same as your memories are. It's something even more magical because we've gotten so far away from it."

Some of the packages that are ready to be mailed out for the Alone, Together project in London. (Sofia Rodriguez/CBC)

The project started as a way for Proulx to manage her own feelings of loneliness. She was inspired by a simpler time, when people didn't rely on technology and communication felt more sincere.

Proulx told CBC News that every bundle she mails out is different — as every person who subscribes is different.

"What I send fluctuates and I have complete creative control of what goes out. People who subscribe have to trust me and think 'I don't know what she's going to send me, but I'm in because I'm curious about life and about art," said Proulx.

About 24 people have joined Proulx's mailing list so far and she has room for more.

Some of the handwritten letters and art that Proulx has received back from her clients. (Sofia Rodriguez)

One thing that has surprised the artist since she started the Alone, Together project is the number of written letters she has received back.

"There's no obligation for people to write me back...My job is to write to them...So, you know it's generousity because these people have busy lives and they communicate digitally, so they're taking time out of their day, out of their normal means of communication, and they're stretching themselves to communicate back to me," Proulz said.

Ultimately, Proulx wants people who receive these letters and who engage in this type of communication to feel that they are part of her community.

She says this experience does not match anything in this digital era.   

"It's magic. That's what's happening here. [People] feel magical. [People] feel seen."

With files from Sofia Rodriguez

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