Artist Trading Cards (ATC) are miniature pieces of art measuring 3 ½ by 2 ½ inches. They are a growing movement all over the world which started in Europe in 1997. They simply are what their name implies: cards which artists made and trade. These ATCs reflect the artist’s individual creative work and are traded with other artists. In complying with the original intent of ATCs, they are NOT sold by the artist – they are traded for another artist’s work.
|"The March wind is calling" by Carol|
|"Spring" by Jeanette|
Absolutely anything goes!!! In my collection, I have cards made with fabric, sequins, watercolor pencils, copper foil, acrylics, pastels, stickers, buttons, toothpicks, tags, brads, tissue paper, eyelets, postage stamps, rubber stamping, acrylic ink, crayons, photographs, dried flowers, book pages, paper towels, fuzzy dingley-things, sandwich wrappers, beads, ribbon, glitterm, thread, colored pencils, markers, die-cuts, origami paper, rub-ons, jewelry do-dads, tin cans, and more. . .
|"Cherries" by Jeanette|
I have a bias for the card being able to fit into clear or plastic sleeve made for 2 ½ x 3 ½ inch trading cards; not too thick or oversized with trinkets. Also I prefer my cards to be sturdy, not flimsy. As a collage-artist, I am aware how easily paper can warp and curl without the proper substrate. So since I prefer a sturdy card, love paper and color, and want durable substrates, I have created an entire line of ATC papers for sale by Soul ExpressionTM. But – more on these products later in another post.
ATCs are great maquettes or “samples” for larger art projects. I experiment with different and new combinations of mediums, techniques, materials, or methods on ATCs before I commit myself to a larger canvas. Since the size of an ATC is pretty small, there is great satisfaction in finishing a piece of art in a short amount of time. Though, I have spent weeks working on a series of 20 or 30 of these little things refining or getting lost in the process. In essence though, the “soul” purpose of ATCs are for fun. And, they make for great greeting card-gifts too.
The first time I ever heard of ATCs was in 2008 at a SoulCollage® Facilitator’s Workshop. At that time, basically the only information I could find on the internet was posted by Europeans, some Canadians and Strathmore® paper. If you search the web now, there is an abundance of examples and information. Examples of my ATCs are at: donnalynn's ATC gallery and my May 31, 2011 blog post.
The featured ATCs were made by my mother, Jeanette, and her best friend, Carol. Neither were very enthusiastic about ATCs at first. Both of them had plenty of art & craft materials (in fact, too much) and didn’t want to start another “thing”. Then they discovered they could use all their existing materials and tools – now they are hooked!