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ATC’s (Artist Trading Cards) July 16, 2006

Filed under: ATC's (ARTIST TRADING CARDS) — scrapncraft @ 10:08 pm

Have You Heard of ATC’s?  Did you wonder what they were?  Let me explain: 

ARTIST TRADING CARDS are miniature works of art created on 2 ½ X 3 ½ inch or 64 X 89 mm card stock.  ATC’s are originals, small editions and, most importantly, self-produced. anybody can produce them.  The idea is that you trade them with other people who produce cards, either at TRADING SESSIONS or wherever you meet another ATC trader in person.  The concept of ATC is the person-to-person trade, as well as trading by mail. The most fun is to trade person-to-person though. The basic idea is the card-for-card trade. [Although sometimes some people think one from their cards is worth more than one from the others – mostly with the argument that they put more work into their atc.]

There are two ATC centers which organize Trading Sessions on a regular basis: one in zürich and one in calgary. The idea of the centers is not the private collection (there are many of those around of course) but the communication. The centers are open to the public and they also organize the ATC Trading Sessions. The centers are places to communicate the idea of trading cards and to hold the events.

Hopefully there will be more centers soon : ANYBODY CAN ORGANIZE A Trading Session. The only stipulation is a certain continuity (eg. every month on a regular day).

It is important that you meet other people in person to trade – i.e. it is ok to trade by mail or to participate in editions but the main purpose of this performance is the trading session and the personal meeting.  It’s not about money: participants in trading sessions and editions should not be charged any money: the point of the project is the exchange of cards as well as personal experience.  There have been other TRADING SESSIONS at irregular intervals in other cities.

The project was initiated in 1997 by zurich artist m.vänçi stirnemann. Since then several hundred people from all over the world have traded ATCs during TRADING SESSIONS, through mail or by participating in TRADING SESSIONS and SISTER TRADING CARDS (STC’s).

I found a great deal of information on the web.  Below are some places for you to find more information so that you can get started trading your own creations.

Ed Beals stated it this way:

ARTIST TRADING CARDS are a variation of the popular mass-produced trading cards available for sale all over the world. The difference is rather than buying them, you make them. This means that each card is an original work of art, or one of a small edition run that you can trade with other people who have created their own cards.

only one rule:

2.5″ x 3.5″
64mm x 89mm

ANY AND ALL MATERIALS and techniques are permitted (drawing in pencil, pen, marker, chalk or crayon etc., painting, photographs, collage, found materials, mixed media — anything!). There is only one rule– the cards should be the same size as traditional collector cards: 2.5 inches wide by 3.5 inches tall (64mm x 89mm). On the back you should sign and date your cards. If they are part of an edition you should number them as well. This is my member site, I have a very small group but would love for you to join and participate with us! This site is devoted to ATC’s and has some great information for everyone, not just us beginners! This is a great website! It is also the only ATC based magazine that I know of, and well worth a subscription!

As a final note, ATCs develop a sense of community, friendship and equality among the participants.  It also challenges the tradition of art as a commodity while emphasizing the portability of art, communication and ideas.
I hope this is informative and thought provoking!  LOL….Well, I hope you actually do more than just think!  Get working on your own works of art and email me and we can trade!


4 Responses to “ATC’s (Artist Trading Cards)”

  1. David Says:

    hey, this site is focused on art trading cards, looking for artists to get started. This will be a main meetup spot for all things that relate to Art Trading Cards, Mixed Media and collages. Looking for artist to start posting their art. You can also post/list your art event in the mapper so that poeple can quicly map directions to your events location.

  2. cainha Says:

    very useful information for me. Thanks.

  3. […] ATC ‘s ( Artist Trading Cards ) | Scrap-n-Craft-n- Blog – Did you wonder what they were? Let me explain: ARTIST TRADING CARDS are miniature works of art created on 2 ½ X 3 ½ inch or 64 X 89 mm card stock. ATC’s are originals, small editions … Craft & Scrapbooking Flickr Photos. More Photos . Create a free website or blog at … […]

  4. Marz Workman Says:

    I literally discovered this 30 minutes ago, so please go easy. Do the cards have to be produced individually, or can they be created and made into copies (like a limited print run)?

    I like to draw comics in my spare time, but I don’t get a whole lot of that. So, a small run would be perfect, if it works in the ATC community.

    I work in pencil and ink, then scan and color and add other stuff digitally. I am also part of an open source heroes group, and this would be a great way to show the groups creations and my artwork.

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