Monday, August 30, 2010

Artist Trading Cards????

The mania of artist trading cards hit about the same time scrapbooking took over a large section of some art supply stores. I have this folder of things to put in a scrapbook but I have never done anything with i and certainly not in the grand manner of the hobby of scrapbooks. I filed artist trading cards in that same "useless information" niche in my brain. It didn't help that an "artist" I didn't like promoted them in our guild.

Artist trading cards are miniature works of art about the same size as baseball cards. The ATC movement (yes, it is called a movement) began in Switzerland in 1996 when it was promoted by M. Vänçi Stirnemann. The movement has been fanned by Hobby Lobby and other craft and art stores that sell supplies for ATC's which were once done with the scrap around your studio. There are now rules for ATC's.
Artist Trading Card collage   
ATC holder
And assemblages of ATC's into larger "works of art" which are even framed and hung, which I think is against the ATC rules. And there are definitely supplies to be had for the artist that wants to get fully into the movement. A quick Google search turned up cards precut and ready to use, a book to put your swapped cards into, a book on how to do artist trading cards, a workshop on the form, swap meets, and an exhibition!

Actually I think they lost me on "rules." I am not much of a rule person and most artists I know don't like rules. We bristle when we have to read the guidelines for submission of entries to shows and exhibits. I briefly was considering ATC's when they were touting the swapping of them between artist friends but frankly I don't want cards from my artist friends; I want full sized pieces of their work.

Still there is some interesting whimsy exhibited in these cards and I wonder just how many of the artists have used an ATC as a study for larger works. So setting the rules aside can any of my artistic friends engaged in this site the creative growth aspects of this? Has it freed up your color choices? Let loose your compositional restraints? Opened a door to other themes in your serious work?


  1. It kinda sound like some thing kids do. I believe artist have other things to do. your so right.

  2. This is true the same way it is true that baseball cards are only for boys in little league.

  3. the only rule to artist trading cards is the size (2.5" X 3.5") and that they can never be sold. That's it. So don't let the word "rules" fool you into thinking it's restrictive. It is not. I have tried many techniques on atc's I wouldn't have tried on larger pieces, which is freeing.


I appreciate all kind comments on my art and poetry.