Thursday, July 16, 2009

"Two puries for your aggie"...Internet Swapping

When I woke up and checked my email this morning, there was a message to check out a blog kept by a new Internet friend in Arizona. Along with thousands of other artists around the world, she creates tiny Artist Trading Cards (ATCs) and sends them out to people who want a piece of her original art in exchange for something they have created.

From parcels of land to marbles, swapping is as old as time. The Internet simply has expanded number of players by pushing the boundries into cyberspace.

I swapped the cards above with Margaret Storer-Roche last week, 4 of hers for 4 of mine. She had so many little jewels of color and ink on her flickr photostream site that I wanted them all, but fair is fair. I had to leave some for other eager traders, after all. When I opened her blog, I found that she had posted the trades she received this past week from all over the world: . Do take some time to visit it, won't you?

Yes, Trading Cards are B-A-A-ACK, not the mass produced wax packets along with a piece of bubblegum however. This time, each 2 1/" X 3 1/2" card is a tiny bit of original art. and who knows? Maybe one that I've traded for will some day be as prized as a genuine 1951 Mickey Mantle Rookie card!

Friday, July 10, 2009

SoulCollage or ATCs?

Two weeks ago, I made a new discovery---ACTs. ARTIST TRADING CARDS are miniature works of art created on 2 ½ X 3 ½ inch or 64 X 89 mm card stock or similar sturdy papers. Produced by a single artist, ATCs are made in limited numbers, often no more than one of a kind. Unique ATCs are called originals; sets of identical ATCs are called editions and are numbered; sets of ATCs that are based on one theme but that are different are called series. They reflect a wide variety of techniques including paintings, drawings, collages, photographs, rubberstamp works, mixed media, found images, assemblages, and more.

Although art miniatures were popular as early as the 1600s— Zurich artist and organizer M. Vänçi Stirnemann initiated the concept of ATCs, the application of trading cards to the art world, in 1997.

Traditionally, an ATC mustn't be sold, only exchanged, as the whole essence of these tiny works of art is about artists meeting other artists and exchanging their works in person, by correspondence, or even online. Several yahoo groups exist to promote trading internationally. Artists upload pictures of their cards on photo-sharing sites such as Flickr and invite group members to view them and propose a trade. is one such group with over 2000 members.

That basic rule about trading and not selling cards was tweaked when some artists saw the Internet as an opportunity to make some money and began to create cards to sell, and ACEOs---or "Art Cards, Editions, and Originals" came into being. Many former ACT artists now sell their art miniatures on EBay, making art easily affordable to virtually anyone today.

So, where do I sit on all of this “new discovery? For now, I love creating these little bits of color and form on my computer. Through trial and error and a real desire to understand the program, I have finally learned some of the most basic techniques in Photoshop that have eluded me for years. SoulCollage cards and ATCs are a very different process for me. The first is driven by intention that is felt but not always clear until the last image is glued down. The latter evolves from an image and decisions made to enhance and show it off to the best advantage. My flickr photostream has been inserted to the right on this page. What do you think?