Ken Turmel was born October 19, 1956, directly on Route 66 (Santa Monica Blvd.), just a few blocks from route's end in Santa Monica, California and has been cruising somewhere heading someplace along the Mother Road each and every year to date since his very first roadtrip with his Mother and Father in 1959. 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 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.
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 This means that the PostmarkArts become historical documents at the same time as they are being created.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. Besides his Route 66, Texas and Oklahoma projects that have been completed, he is also working on some new and interesting PostmarkArt projects which include the topics of the Lincoln Highway, California, Arizona, and New Mexico. Ken believes that someday soon, all the postmarks he has acquired will be "lost in time" and will be no longer available as more and more post offices are closed down. His plans are to keep landrunning for postmarks for as long as he can.
ROUTE 66 POSTMARKART:
"Route 66 and More..." is the first and original Route 66 Historic Artwork document to actually travel city to city along the entire length of the Mother Road from Chicago to Los Angeles.
The completed documentation project was released as a museum quality limited edition of only 2,448 signed and numbered prints commemorating the 70th anniversary of Route 66. This beautiful masterpiece is more than an ordinary memorabilia item. "Route 66 and More..." is truly a historical document commemorating the 70th Anniversary of Route 66. From 1995 to 1997, the original artwork piece was hand carried into every post office that still existed along the route. Each postmark was inked directly onto the artwork in its own city. An effort, that all diehard Route 66 enthusiasts can appreciate, and one that could never be duplicated again.
Noted Landrunner and postmark artist, Ken Turmel, accumulated over 28,600 miles of cross-country travel in order to acquire all of the special commemorative "pictorial postmarks" on Route 66, that were officially issued by the U.S. Postal Service during that time period. Many of these postmarks are no longer available, as post offices have closed, making this artistic document an even more important historical piece.
During his adventures and travels, Ken has met with many Route 66 VIP's, some of whom have graced the original artwork with their signatures. These include people such as Bobby Troup, who wrote the song Get Your Kicks on Route 66; Jim Rogers, son of the late Will Rogers; Martin Milner, actor in the 1960-1964 CBS Route 66 television series; Lucille Hamons, legendary store/motel/filling station owner since 1941; Ron Shutiva, Acoma Tribal Governor in New Mexico, Keith Birdsong, artist of the Indian Dances U.S. postage stamps; Michael Wallis, author of the award winning Route 66: The Mother Road; Hody Porterfield, a "well versed" mountain man at the Big Texan Steak Ranch in Amarillo, Texas; Ira Letterman, retired Missouri Highway Patrolman of 36 years on Route 66; Jerry McClanahan, Route 66 artist/historian "extraordinaire"; Jim Ross, Route 66 historian and author of Oklahoma Route 66, Bob Waldmire; famous "Bird's Eye View" pen and ink artist and 17 other extremely interesting guests.
Each "PostmarkArt" Route 66 document is a limited edition lithograph reproduction, which has been created in full color of the actual size of the original artwork. The documents are printed on museum archival, acid free 80 pound linen stock. Each is individually hand signed and numbered by the artist. This exclusive one-time edition was limited to only 2,448 prints -- representing one print for each mile of Route 66. Less than 500 prints remain available in the series.
To date, several post offices have already closed their doors for good and nine out of the 29 guests who graced the artwork with their signature have since passed away.
To own your own signed and numbered historic milestone print visit: www.Route66Artwork.com
ENDORSEMENT:"This stunning artwork is not only a fitting tribute to our beloved Mother Road, it is truly a piece of tangible history that will always be cherished by Road Warriors yet unborn."
-- Michael Wallis, Author of Route 66: The Mother Road --
ARTWORK PHOTO CLOSE-UP VIEW: