The Process (As Promised)
The Artist, Globalisation, and the Cultural Creatives
The ABC of Watercolor Brushes
The Sun, Part 3
What on Earth is an Art Card?by Eliza Leahy
What is 2.5 inches by 3.5 inches, flat or fairly so, and brightly colored? It's probably an art card!
A quick history:
Art cards have a long and striped history. Originally they grew out of the "Miniature" craze that started way back in the 16th century. The impressionists swapped tiny examples of their art with each other so they could study techniques. Businesses picked up that they could put advertising on them. Around 1887 the first baseball cards appeared. Soon after that they were being mass produced and sold with bubble gum, tobacco, and Cracker Jack!
Around 1996-97 M. Vanci Stirnemann (Switzerland) came up with an idea of using art cards as a trading feature. People would meet together to swap their cards. The idea soon spread across Europe and to the United States and Canada. This movement is called ATC: Art Trading Cards.
Soon after, people began meeting online to swap cards, and sent them through the mail, rather then meet in person. This allowed people to collect cards from all around the globe for only the cost of a stamp, rather then having to save up to attend distant meetings. Although this is called by many "Art Trading Cards" it is more correctly called Correspondence/Mail Art.
And just to confuse the issue further - there is another branch of the movement that sells their cards online. To pacify the ATC purists, who pointed out that the ATC� is for trading, they call their cards ACEO's: Art Cards, Editions, and Originals. This group started selling on eBay, but has since then expanded to other venues, such as their own site and auction site, art-cards.org
And that's the "quick"� history!
So how do I make an art card?
Any way you like! The only requirement is that they are 2.5 inch by 3.5 inch. Many artists like them thin enough to fit into a trading card type pocket or photo album, so embellishments that stand out from the surface should be kept to a minimum.
All mediums are used for art cards: graphite pencil, watercolor paints, oil paints, collage, and mixed media. Some artists also trade and sell prints of their most popular designs, although if you buy a print, make sure that it is a limited edition, shown by a series of numbers such as 1/9 (showing that it is print one of a limited edition of 9, and so on.) The smaller the edition number, the greater value the card should be - although of course there is nothing like owning an original!
Sometimes you find an "embellished print"�. This is where a print is made, but then the artist paints or decorates (or both) on top of the print. Some very beautiful effects come out of this.
A hint: Don't laminate! Many collectors don't like lamination as it limits the ways you can display them.
How do I display them?
You can display art cards any way you can a painting, and many other ways besides. One of the most popular ways is to use the folders and inserts that are used to display baseball cards. These can be stored away in bookcases, or kept on coffee tables as a unique art book.
Often artists spend time creating special containers for art cards as well. Some make book covers for the big folders, while others create whole books with pocket pages and beautiful leather binders. Others create decorative boxes for shelves or tables, or picture frames the right size for an art card in order to hang them on the wall. You can buy photo albums that are the right size - 2.5 inch by 3.5 inch - to easily carry them with you to show off your treasures.
Where can I get them?
Well, you can always make them yourself! Just cut up some paper into 2.5 inch by 3.5 inch rectangles and away you go! Always make sure you write the title, your name, and if it's an edition the edition number, on the back, and if you have a website add that. It's nice to put "Made in *insert state and country here*"� so that people will know where it's from as well.
You can buy them! www.art-cards.org has its own auction site (and you can sell them there as well, free of charge). Art cards are usually inexpensive, although there have been some that sold for hundreds of dollars. The highest priced one that I know of sold for $500! You can also buy from eBay, but if you intend selling there, watch the fees! They can add up quickly!
You can trade them! After you have a collection of your own, either your own artwork or ones that you have gathered or bought from others, you can join the trading movement. You can find out about trading in real life at a place near you from http://www.artist-trading-cards.ch/events.htm.
You can trade them online! There are many Yahoo groups set up for trading online. Just go to groups.yahoo.com and do a search for ATC.
More information about art cards can be found at:
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