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ATC stands for Artist Trading Cards and I’d never heard of this delightful way of exchanging artworks before reading Linda Halcomb’s blog.

ARTIST TRADING CARDS are miniature works of art created on 2 ½ X 3 ½ inch or 64 X 89 mm card stock. They 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.

ALSO

Artist Trading Cards–or ATCs–are miniature works of art created on 2. 5″ x 3. 5″ card stock, the size of sports trading cards. All techniques are allowed and anybody can produce them. ATCs are signed, dated, and titled on the back then traded away for ATCs made by others. Money never exchanges hands and all trades are one-for-one.

THE HISTORY OF ATC’s

In 1996-97, a new art culture sprang up which rejected the tradition of critiquing and pricing art. Swiss artist M. Vanci Stirnemann is hailed as the father of the Artist Trading Card (ATC) movement. Stirnemann, inspired by hockey trading cards, created and showcased 1200 similarly-sized cards-his original works of art-in his gallery in Zurich, Switzerland. He told people who wanted one of his cards to come back and bring one of their own in trade. A movement was born.

Here are a few of my favorites from the Swiss ATC website:

To give you and idea of how small they are, here’s a photo of some being held up for viewing:

Fourteen years down the line and if my research is correct the ATC movement is still going strong and there are many, many groups to join up with and publications featuring this form of artwork like the ATC Quarterly.

I’ve even found a South African ATC facebook group with some amazing artwork on it! I’ve requested to join and hope to post soon about my ATC artwork.

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