Mikey Foster Estes

Mikey Foster Estes

With all my love + guts (2019-2020)

“With all my love + guts” came into being in the months after my mother passed away from cancer. As a child I would make handmade cards for my mother, a practice that continued well into adulthood. The occasion would most often be her birthday or Mother’s Day, but also included holidays like Christmas and Valentine’s Day. A shelf displays a selection of these cards made over a twenty-five year period.

The cards range from simple scribblings on copy paper to more elaborate and humorous interpretations of the form. The title itself is in reference to a line from a birthday card made from an airplane barfbag—an item that had become part of a running joke between us when I would travel to and from NYC. Through fragments of diaristic information, the cards begin to generate a narrative portrait of our relationship to one another.

My mother was the kind of person to send a card for every occasion imaginable. I started saving these when I moved away, not necessarily knowing that I would soon treasure them. I turned her signature from one of these cards into a temporary tattoo and later, a permanent one. Her general rule for tattoos was that as long as we lived under her roof, “it better be on your ass and say mom.” I think of this as my little wink to her.

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