Artist Trading Cards Assignment

Introducing yourself with flair

What are Artist Trading Cards?

Artist Trading Cards (ATCs) are miniature works of art, usually done on card stock, that are traded between artists. They can be about anything and made with any media, materials, or techniques. They can be produced as one-of-a-kind originals, in limited editions, or in a series based on a particular theme or subject. It’s all up to the individual artist. The rules for ATCs are simple.

ATCs must:

  • measure 2.5 x 3.5 inches (64 X 89 mm).
  • be traded for other cards—not sold.
  • be flat enough to fit into a plastic trading card sleeve.
  • be signed and dated on the back of the card.

Artist Trading Cards have been around for less than a decade. Yet, their historical roots can be traced back to the Mail Art and Fluxus movements of the 1960s, and even earlier to theDadaist movement of the 1920s.

Swiss artist M. Vänci Stirnemann first developed the concept of Artist Trading Cards in 1996, when he decided to document his activities with other artists by producing a catalogue of 1,200 cards he created by hand. Many artists who make ATCs use the Internet to display their cards and to locate others willing to trade cards by mail or to share ideas. However, organized face-to-face ATC sessions are, by far, the preferred means of meeting other artists and trading cards. Today, you will find ATC swap sessions happening in most major cities around the world.

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Requirements of the ATC

  • card stock thickness
  • 2.5 x 3.5 inches
  • front should be image/quote/artwork that represents YOU- think SYMBOLISM
  • should be obvious that you put forth effort to create it
  • Should be signed, dated and have a readable type of your NAME, ACADEMY and BIRTHDAY on the BACK

How will we use the ATCs?

  • to introduce ourselves
  • to create groups
  • to call on students during class
  • to change seats

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: I am not "good at art" can I just draw stick figures?

A: No. You can use other materials besides hand drawn images to create your card. Layer different images from magazines, quotes from important people you admire, etc.

Q: Am I being graded on my artistic ability?

A: No. You are being graded on your ability to symbolize yourself on the card and the effort shown in creation of the card.

Q: Bobby and I created the same card. Is that okay?

A: No. The point of the assignment is to show your unique characteristics. You are not Bobby.

Artist Trading Cards for Beginners