Artist Trading Cards

In recent weeks I have started to become interested in ATCs (Artist Trading Cards).

These are miniature artworks created on 2 ½ X 3 ½ inch card or playing cards. They are not supposed to be sold but are traded with other artists for works of their own. The original concept began in Zurich, Switzerland by a performing artist named M.Vanci Stirenmann in 1997. He created a collection of ATCs for display in his bookstore. On the last day of the display he gave one of his cards away to each person who could offer him one of their own in return. Since then thousands of people have started creating these miniature originals and trading them at trading sessions, through the mail or via Internet ATC swap groups.

I find the concept of swapping my work with other people a fun and exciting thing and because the only constraint on ATCs is the size, they are created in a multitude of different media so your collection doesn’t need to just contain pieces similar to those you make yourself. You may have spotted the word ‘collection’ in that last sentence. Those that have been reading this blog for a while will know what a sucker for collecting stuff I am. And this is too good an opportunity not to combine my love for collecting with my love for scrapbooking.

Who is Sylvia - ATC by KaroochAnother motivation for me is to try some experimenting with paints and stamps etc. which I never do on my layouts. To help me get out of my comfort zone a bit. Having said that, the very first ATC I created was one which was a hybrid of digi and paper scrapping (see right). Firmly and squarely in the middle of my comfort zone. I’m actually happy with how it turned out but I felt that for me it was a bit ‘safe’ as digi and hybrid are what I mostly do. Whereas pulling together random non-digital elements into a cohesive layout I find far more challenging.

So I’ve begun pushing myself to do this and I find I’m really enjoying it. And I’m pleased with the results too. If you’re interested in seeing some of my creations check out my ATC Gallery on Flickr.

I’d be very interested to know if any of you already make your own ATCs. Particularly if you like mine and would like to trade. And for those who haven’t tried it have a look and see if it presses your buttons. What do you think? Are you interested?

Other related posts:

Confessions of a Collectoholic

Trading ATCs

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12 Responses to Artist Trading Cards

  1. Hannah May 28, 2007 at 10:48 am #

    I’m hoping to get on board next month … this looks like a lot of fun!

  2. Karen May 28, 2007 at 7:46 pm #

    Well I must say i found it fun Hannah. Look forward to seeing what you do. It’d be fun to trade with each other.

  3. loony May 29, 2007 at 8:55 am #

    I’ve read about these a few times but I’m not sure I’m ready to do this yet. I like looking at others though.

  4. harmonia May 29, 2007 at 12:22 pm #

    Very interesting! ;)

  5. craftymusings May 29, 2007 at 8:10 pm #

    I just looked at your atcs on Flickr, and they’re great! I’d love to trade! I’m really enjoying making them too, and I think it’s wonderful that we can trade and have tiny art pieces from so many different people! :)

  6. Krash May 30, 2007 at 1:01 am #

    GORGEOUS cards Karen! I’ve only made 1 ATC~a recipe one for DSM as an assignment. Hmmm…I really should do more! Wanted to let you know I awarded a Think Blogger award to you! Go on over to my blog, snag the image and spread it around:)

  7. Karen May 30, 2007 at 9:28 pm #

    Glad you like the cards ladies. And I sent off your card in the mail this morning Hagit.

    Hey Martha, thanks for the award. It sounds like a worthwhile accolade. I’llcome over and collect my trophy.

  8. coonie May 30, 2007 at 10:19 pm #

    Your ATCs are gorgeous, Karen, I’ve only made 2 ATCs and still have a lot to learn :)

  9. Corina May 30, 2007 at 11:44 pm #

    I do not understand why my comment is not here, but that´s it! I would like to trade with you, as soon as I will be back in Holland. I had two links for you, in the previous comment that is not here, maybe that´s why was not accepted, so I do not dare to put them again.

  10. Karen May 31, 2007 at 9:22 pm #

    Thank you Sylvie and Corina.

    I have found this ATC thing to be a lot of fun and very fast moving.

    Corina if your post has 2 or more links it goes to a moderation queue. But it should not be rejected. I don’t understand why that’s happened.

  11. scott December 25, 2007 at 3:38 am #

    Karen, great post. Never knew about these Artist Trading Cards. Thanks for the info.

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