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The Barefoot Mailman (in 3D!)

Artsy Editorial
May 9, 2013 2:22PM

Once upon a time—before electronic mail was even a twinkle in a programmer’s eye—correspondence was delivered by heroic means. As the legend goes: “Neither pirates, nor sharks, nor crocodiles shall keep these carriers from their appointed rounds.” In the case of the iconic seaside U.S Mail carriers in 19th-century South Florida, coined the Barefoot Mailmen, their routed course spanned a 68-mile stretch across the Florida coast—void of roads, railroads, or fresh water for horses. Aside from the 28 miles traversed by rowboat, the rest of the journey was taken with bare feet upon the sand.

Whisper this folklore to Christy Gast, an artist known to explore the history of man and landscape through folk performance, and what does she do? For her winning commission for the “Unscripted” public art program, Gast assumed the guise of the legendary shoe-less mail carrier to pose for a 3D scan of her likeness, soon to be installed as a public sculpture. (Catch a peek behind-the-scenes of the process, at right.)

Gast captured this moment with a limited edition black-and-white print inspired by the sculpture, where she’s depicted while walking in costume to recall—and canonize—the Barefoot legend.

Self Portrait as the Barefoot Mailman will be unveiled on May 16th, 2013 at the Village of Bal Harbour in Miami Beach, Florida. 
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Jenna Gribbon, Luncheon on the grass, a recurring dream, 2020. Jenna Gribbon, April studio, parting glance, 2021. Jenna Gribbon, Silver Tongue, 2019