Artists have produced miniatures for trade or self-promotion in many eras and places, and the current trend is thus part of this larger context. Historically there were few standard rules or guidelines to art trading cards, and many variances in sizes can be seen in older cards. The standardization in size of baseball cards is credited with creating the standardization in size for art cards. Today the only rule for these cards is their 2.5 by 3.5 inch size (64 x 89 mm), same as baseball cards and collectible card games. There are, however, certain conventions usually observed by those who make and trade these cards, such as the expectation that they be traded, not sold, and that they be created as unique works or small limited editions of prints. Artists generally sign and date the back, and may also include a title and contact information. For many, the face-to-face trading session is considered an integral part of the concept, although others find each other via the internet and trade by mail.
Artist Trading Cards are typically made on a base of card stock. However, ATCs have been created on metal, stiffened fabric, plastic, clay, glass, balsa wood, leather, embroidery canvas, acetate, heavy watercolor paper, and many other materials. The art on the cards can be done in any media: textile arts, pencil, watercolor, acrylic, oil, collage, scratch board, mixed media, assemblage, digital art, calligraphy, beadwork, rubber stamps, carved soft block stamps, pen and ink, colored pencil, airbrush, pastels, and many others - anything artists use.
The size, 2.5" x 3.5", is exactly one-quarter of 5" x 7" (127 x 178 mm) - a common size for photography and illustration. This means artists focusing on 5" x 7" artwork can easily scale-down their works to exactly 1/4 size (using photo-manipulation software) to create ATCs. Else the basis of printed ATCs can later be modified with other methods - such painting or inking-over the base image.
There is no standard thickness for ATCs but people customarily make them thin enough to fit inside standard card-collector pockets, sleeves or sheets.
Whilst some people are sticklers for archival qualities, art does not necessarily have to be "forever" so many people use whatever materials fit their artistic needs, irrespective of those materials' longevity.
The selling of these cards is a sore point with some ATC enthusiasts, but the provision that cards should not be sold is certainly not enforceable. However, since they are being sold as something other than the ATC designation, that shouldn't be applied to ACEOs.
In fact selling cards allows anyone to join in trading art cards, as even those that do not care to make an art card can purchase one (or receive them as gifts from family members or friends!) and thus have the ability to join in the fun of trading art cards without needing to make one themselves.
After all, trading cards in other areas such as sports have also been both traded and sold. The practice is meant to explore the temporal miniature in art, to augment the income, increase visibility, circulate small works more widely, as well as increase their patronage, as well as to allow anyone that wants to, to join in, or allow family and friends to give them unique gifts that they will most certainly enjoy either keeping or trading.
DAREarts: Local Student Artists Wage War as Children for Peace Students at Oakridge Public School are daring to be caring Canadians as DAREarts' Children for Peace. By creating original art cards, they are helping kids in Afghanistan wage war on war.
Nov 01, 2006; TORONTO, ONTARIOCCNMatthews - Nov. 1, 2006) - On Wednesday, November 1st, 9:00 am - noon, the children of Oakridge Public School...