Index: Harley Francis
Francis Harley was born in New Albany, Indiana, USA in 1940. He studied painting and art history at Indiana University and Oberlin College.
Harley had an interest in philately from an early age, and this interest ultimately led him to establishing his own local post, Tristan Local Post, in 1975 in Oberlin, Ohio. The name was chosen because of a long time interest (via philately) in the Tristan da Cunha islands in the Atlantic Ocean. Harley began to issue stamps from Tristan Local Post, but he was not aware of other stamp artists and Mail Art until seeing the catalogue of the artiststamp exhibition organized by James Felter at Simon Fraser University in 1975-76. This opened up various contacts for Harley, and he began to participate in the mail art network.
In 1978 Harley closed Tristan Local Post and created his own country, Terra Candella (Land of Light). It was under these auspices that all future mail art would be conducted. He continued to broaden his contacts in the network, including his first trip to Europe in 1980 to meet with other mail artists. Harley facilitated the exhibition of artistsamps at Allen Memorial Art Museum at Oberlin College in 1978, an exhibition organized by Al Souza. This was followed by a large mail art show curated by Harley at SPACES Gallery in Cleveland, and then in 1987 he organized the Corresponding Worlds exhibition at Allen Memorial Art Museum. The event consisted of both a museum exhibition of artistamps and mail art, and a symposium. Present at the symposium were Michael Bidner, John P. Jacob, Gerard and Fernand Barbot, Judith Hoffberg, Reid Wood (State of Being), Ed Varney, Dog Fish, E. F. Higgins III, Cracker Jack Kid, John Held Jr., Patrick Bielman, Joel Smith, Joel Lipman, Steven Esrati, and Dennis Higdon.
In 1995 Harley moved from Oberlin to California, continuing still to participate in the mail art network and organize exhibitions related to mail art and artiststamps.