Monday, December 19, 2005

I've been checking out websites that host Artist Trading Cards, or ATCs. These are cards no larger than the size of a regular playing card, and they must be handmade. When the artist finishes creating their cards, they swap them via the web or at face-to-face swap meets. No money is ever exchanged, and each card is a work of art. There can be series, sets and one-of-a-kinds. All sorts of embellishments and found objects can be incorporated into the card, and the card can be dimensional or can even be made to fold outwards.

Some of this will be repetitive but Wikipedia says:

Artist trading cards, also known as ATCs, are 2½ x 3½ inch (64 x 89 mm) miniature works of art which artists trade with one another, similar to the way people trade sports cards. They can be any medium: pencil, watercolor, acrylic, oil, collage, scratch board, mixed media - anything the creative mind of the artist can think up. Artist Trading Cards are produced as originals, as limited editions, or as a series. ATCs are a relatively new art form which formally began in September 1996. The concept was created by Swiss artist M. Vänçi Stirnemann. [1]

Conceptually ATCs are about exchanging art without the interface of the art world and without money being involved. Artists trade their cards in face-to-face trading sessions as well as via mail. Artists who trade by mail often make their arrangements online and/or through e-mail. In some ATC artists' opinions, trading cards by mail is a diminished experience when compared to an ATC Trading Session.

Rules of ATCs
There are only two true rules applied to Artist Trading Cards:

The dimensions of the card must be 2.5 x 3.5 inches (64 x 89 mm).
The cards must be traded - never bought or sold.
Artist Trading Cards are typically made on a base of card stock, although this is not mandatory. ATCs have been created on metal, stiffened fabric, plastic, clay, and many other materials. Various techniques are then applied to the chosen canvas: collage, assemblage, digital art, calligraphy, beadwork, watercolors, rubber stamps, and many others. The back of the card typically includes the artist's signature, the date, and the number (if the card is part of an edition or series).

These little cards are fascinating and fun to make. I find that they help me to get past my usual boundaries and help give me a sense of free reign with what I'm creating. I've known what they are for about a year or two now, but have only just started to make them myself and they are totally addictive. Because your palette is so small, you have to think in terms of scale. I've seen some really beautiful cards on the web. So, when I've finished making some decent cards I'll post my endeavors here. I'm also toying with putting snippets of my poetry and scaled down photos into them.

So, stay tuned and after the holidays, about the time the snow starts littering the ground, I'll get busy taking photos of some I've made and show off my artwork. Right now things are just too hectic.

And, of course, did you talk to or hug your mom today? No?! Well, get to it!!!


Blogger Julie Carter said...

I have to get my mom into this. She's an artist, but she's been disengaged with art since my father's death. I bet she'd love something like this.

Thanks for the heads up, C!


8:44 AM  
Blogger Cookala said...

Cool! I promise you she will absolutely love it. And it'll get her in touch with other artists - and as Harry says, that's a GOOD thing. Hey, if your mom gets into it, we can swap cards some day. Huzzah!


4:51 PM  
Blogger Julie Carter said...

I mentioned it to my mom, and her eyes lit up. Turns out there's a place reasonably close by that hosts trading events and had a kit for sale with different papers and templates. So I ordered that for her and I know she'll love it.

I can't thank you enough for blogging this, Cookie!


4:09 PM  
Blogger Cookala said...

Good for her! (And no you know what you can get her for Christmas in case you're stuck for ideas, though I know it's only a day away - more ATC supplies!) I think she's going to become addicted to this new art movement very quickly. And hopefully, this will get her started with painting again (or whatever it is she used to do). This is like a Christmas present for me, Julie, to help another artist find their way back into creating.

Happy Holidays,

1:42 PM  

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