artist trading cards

I was at Collage last night, an art supply/scrapbooking store on Alberta, and there was this booklet on the coolest thing ever: Artist Trading Cards. People make 3.5″ x 2.5″ cards with whatever they want on them, and go to swap meets and exchange them, never for money, just an even exchange. I love it! I love that it’s like democratizing art. It’s not art-as-an-institution, art-for-art-snobs, it’s art-for-the-people. I’m sure that academic artists look down on it as “folk art” or whatever BS, but I think it rocks. Here’s some more info on ATCs.

I made my first one tonight and I’m pretty stoked about it. They are so small they make you focus on just one theme. It’s a good creativity exercise. And fun. Whee!

Here it is–it’s about boundaries, and saying “no” to drama and crazy-making:


Update: I went to an ATC trading night, also at Collage. I had brought 8 or so original, unique cards that were mini works of art. What people traded were photocopied or mass-produced-by-hand cards that, frankly, sucked. People were not treating them like individual art pieces, but rather like a business card for artists that is semi-unique kinda.

I traded some of mine to be polite and felt sad about it. =(

So…I like the size and the idea, but I’m not sure I want to trade them. I might keep making them, but I’ll keep them for myself or only trade them with people who have the same approach and make unique art cards.

LOL, I guess you can democratize me all you want but I’m still an elitist at heart because I value value.


  1. Awesome, Emma! By the way, there’s a group that meets & trades ATCs at Powell’s on the third Wednesday of each month: