The advanced Brush Strokes watercolor class just finished a two part workshop focusing on Artist Trading Cards. Scattered throughout this blog are photos taken during the workshop.
Artist Trading Cards (or ATCs) are miniature works of art about the same size as modern baseball cards, or 2 ½ X 3 ½ inches (63 mm X 89 mm), small enough to fit inside standard card-collector pockets, sleeves or sheets. The ATC movement developed out of the mail art movement and has its origins in Switzerland. Cards are produced in various media, including dry media (pencils, pens, markers, etc.), wet media (watercolor, acrylic paints, etc.), paper media (in the form of collage, papercuts, found objects, etc.). The cards are usually traded or exchanged rather than sold.
Artist trading cards were used throughout Europe and America as art training tools. Artists would trade the cards between themselves to study each others’ techniques and explore new art movements. The cards paid a particularly important role in the Impressionists art movement. The Impressionists utilized both sides of their artist trading cards, art on one side and a kind of brief resume on the other. The Impressionists were the first known artists to use the cards in trade for anything other than more art. Impressionists often traded the cards with art collectors in exchange for room, board, and art supplies.
M. Vänçi Stirnemann is credited in many circles with popularizing the modern artist trading card in 1996, holding trading sessions in Zurich, Switzerland. This resurgence of interest of Artists trading cards has spawned the popular ACEO (art cards editions and originals) movement. Many people consider art trading cards and ACEO cards to be one and the same. Others feel they are decidedly different pieces of art.
Clubs, trading sessions, and online mailart communities have largely replaced the original concept of trading the cards during individual encounters, and many ATC workshops end with a trading session.
Our class session ended with a trading session; and when we are rich and famous artists, we can proudly say that we own a work of art by a famous artist.
My blog next week will show some of the individual ATCs and give instructions for creating ATCs of your own.