Fantasy Postcards

Old Postcards and So On and So Forth


Not too many years ago, my grandparents moved houses. They, in the packaging and shipping of each and every one of their possessions, were left with a pile of strange books that were neither important enough to keep, nor fit to donate to the library. I perused said pile and was about as uninterested in the bounty as one might imagine; that was until I happened upon a mildewed and plain-covered catalog with the inscription FANTASY POSTCARDS gilded on its spine.

The book was a compendium of strange and whimsical postcards from years that seemed a distant past to its publication in 1975 by William Ouelette. The postcards varied in style from black and white inks, to photos, to watercolor-esque reproductions, and even some beautiful prints in a vibrantly tasteful bande dessinée style which reminded me of Tintin and Captain Haddock and a past of my own.

Below is a gallery of selected postcards from Fantasy Postcards.


Ouellette, William. Fantasy Postcards. Doubleday, 1975.

Recently, going over its pages once again, I noted a similarity between the fantastical prints of the last century and a certain art movement of the modern day. The postcards are not unlike a style of art that has flourished on Instagram and Twitter in the digital age. Art which is not necessarily “challenging” yet, nonetheless, is deeply in tune with the zeitgeist. Art that is comforting in a way, but also entertaining and comical. A kind of satirization of cartoon which derives its meaning from a certain lack of meaning, or whatever.

DAVID SHRIGLEY | MY RAMPAGE IS OVER | Made in Britain | | Sotheby's

David Shrigley, 2019

It is my own belief that this genre of art appeals to us because of its simple absurdity. We live in a world which is always growing increasingly quantized and scientific. We can find comfort in art which, at its base, has no care with any of that nonsense. I think people need something to help them hide from the brutalist architecture of 21st-century society; whether it be astrology, or religion, or video games, or whacky little pictures.