Home > Artist Trading Cards, Shellie Lewis' Art, Uncategorized > ARTIST TRADING CARDS, GROUP 1


July 13, 2011


The idea behind Artist Trading Cards is to create miniature art works in a format inspired by baseball and other sports cards.   If you are not familiar with the idea of Artist Trading Cards, there is an excellent article on them at Cedarseed.com here which details the general guidelines on how to make them and has wonderful examples and extensive information on approaches to making ATCs using many different materials.  The blogger at Cedarsed wrote a great summary:

The very basics

“As their name indicates, ATC are collectables, a brilliant idea born of the older sports-themed trading cards. The one rule that makes an ATC derives from this: the dimensions of the ATC must be 2.5”x3.5”, or 64x89mm.

To this rule are appended a couple of conventions. First, an ATC mustn’t be sold, only exchanged, as the whole essence of these tiny works of art is about artists meeting (by correspondence or online if need be) and exchanging their works, thus meeting many artists and getting exposed to many personal styles.

Second, on the back of each ATC the artist writes part or all of the following information: name, contact information, title of the ATC and number (1/8, 2/8…) if it’s part of an edition. By definition ATCs are made in limited numbers, often no more than one of a kind. Unique ATCs are called originals; sets of identical ATCs are called editions and are numbered; sets of ATCs that are based on one theme but that are different are called series. Don’t be intimidated by the concept of small editions or originals: very few people are anal about this. What most collectors really want are cards that were made with care. Based on that, numbers are meaningless.”

She also wrote that:

“…one may wonder why a professional artist or designer would bother with Artist Trading Cards, such small things that disappear so quickly into someone else’s album, never to emerge again? I’d say they have every reason to bother. Because they are art for the sake of art, ATCs are a precious reminder to amateurs and professional alike of what creativity is about – the pleasure of working with beauty and the excitement of being surprised by experimental techniques, as opposed as doing the work for pay or fame. They require such a small investment in equipment and time that there is no practicality headache associated, and the results can be surprisingly inspiring and useful for future professional projects. I personally think working on ATCs between larger projects has something of the freshness and simple joy we had when drawing as children. Let’s not forget also the pleasure of the exchange, face to face with like-minded people!”

I don’t have a venue to trade mine yet.  I want to just keep making ATCs in this collage format using papers, images of my art, images I like, glitter and paint.  Usually my art is very larger in scale and highly structured, so doing something more spontaneous and in a small has been really fun. 

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