5 Things I’ve Learned About Artist Trading Cards
I’ve been on an ACEO / Artist Trading Card making kick lately. They are the ‘baby sweater’ of the art making world. It takes a long time to knit a sweater, but a tiny baby sweater knits up so quickly that it is the fast road to creative gratification -that grand feeling of accomplishment. I’ve been riding light on feeling a sense of accomplishment this year and making the cards is so fun. In working with the medium more frequently, I have learned five things about Artist Trading Cards:
1. They are hard to trade: Most people are selling them and want cash, which is why ACEO [Art Cards, Editions & Originals] is a term used more often than ATC [artist trading cards]. I offer to trade with people selling their work in a similar price range of some of my own. Most people do not respond to requests to trade. I’m open to trades because I realize I have way more time and talent than money.
2. Multi-task: I have found it is best to work on a few cards at a time. If I am painting them or gluing collage elements, I can work on one card while the others dry. Each one is individual yet using a small scale assembly line approach gets a series of cards completed faster.
3. Completeness: I make sure the backs are always papered and put a small design element that relates to the art on the front on the back. It will be minimal in aesthetics but makes the card finished on both sides. If you ever buy or trade for an art card that is bare on the back, it just seems a bit disappointing.
4. Press Flat: I make sure to wrap each card in wax paper, placing it between the pages of a old book, and press it flat with a lot of weight. To make sure glue or adhesive does not transfer onto a new card, I always discard the used wax paper and use a fresh piece for a new card. Pressing helps the cards dry level and straight. I usually let them sit overnight to 24 hours. Just letting cards dry on their own does not get as good of a bond with the glue and they tend to warp with the moisture of paint and glue. Also, I recommend that the book you use to press your cards be a discard and not something you value because the pages can get bent or warp from being used like this.
5. Accessibility: My HHBF has expressed that ATCs are successful because they mimic collectibles, like baseball cards, and the public is taught to value collectibles. There are also ideas about them being smaller artworks and therefore affordable. I was handling one and it dawned on me that ACEOs/ATCs are also tactile. You can touch them and handle them. They are meant to be handled at will and not hung on the wall to stare at or encased behind the glass of a frame. Part of the attraction is being able to hold the art work.