Thursday, August 13, 2009



It has been a question raised many times.... Artist Trading Card or Art Cards Editions and Originals! Which is correct, first, and/or more better????

Um... and usually before that question is asked, the question comes up of what the heck is an ATC or an ACEO?!

I am here to clear the fog of confusion!

ATC = Artist Trading Card
ACEO = Art Cards Editions and Originals

Both are little pieces of artwork that are 2 1/2 inches by 3 1/2 inches (6.4 cm x 8.9 cm) in either portrait or landscape version and they can be any thickness, though some collectors are pickier than others about that. ATCs are technically for trade only and ACEOs are for sale (unless the artist wants to trade them!).

So, here's the historical *poop*, ah, I mean information about how the whole ATC/ACEO thing got started.

The actual ATC movement is most often attributed to M. Vanci Stirnemann, a Swiss artist, who produced a catalogue of 1,200 cards he created by hand. He exhibited the cards at his bookstore gallery in Z├╝rich in May 1997. On the last day of the exhibit, Stirnemann invited anyone who wanted a card to create their own ATC to trade during the closing reception. Cool, huh?! People loved the idea and the rest, as they say, is history.

Well, sort of... Some people who saw the ATCs just wanted to buy, collect and trade the cute little critters. They didn't want to make them. Some artists, being the enterprising sort, came us with the ACEO and began to sell their little art cards to collectors. I'm glad they did, because I like to make them and sell them, too - like this little gem that's in my etsy shop right now. If you want to click the image and dash over there and take a look right now, I'll wait until you get back. Trust me - you won't miss anything here *winks*

Oh, hi - welcome back! Now, where was I... Oh, yeah - ATCs and ACEOs, I remember. Anyway, now there are lots of trading sites online for ATCs and lots of places online where you can buy ACEOs. There are also local trades in many areas and some galleries have artists who create and show in small format art forms, including ACEOs.

These little art cards (basically the same size as a sport trading card or a standard playing card) are very popular for a lot of reasons. Check out my blog post, Ten things I absolutely LOVE about ACEOs, for some reasons why they are so cool. One of the main reasons that they are so great now is that they are very affordable so you can give the economy a boost and buy art on a budget! Woohoo!!!

One last note - if you do a search online, be sure that after ATC you add art or card or something like that... um, unless you want a lot of air traffic control information...

Now, go buy some art and make yourself and an artist happy!

God bless,


  1. Well described, and I know I will still get asked "what's the difference?"

  2. Very well done, kathy. I love the way you write. You are hilarious.

  3. There does seem to be a lot of confusion about art cards in general - thought I would just do a post every once in a while to talk about them.

    Thanks for the compliments =) LOL - yeah, Carole, sometimes my brain is pretty hilarious from the inside out, too *rolls eyes*

  4. Thanks, Kathy, for the info. Now if someone asks I can point them to your blog for the details.
    Peace, Judi

  5. You are welcome =) I find the history of these little art cards really fascinating!

  6. Terrific Post, a lot of people still haven't heard of them! They are so much fun to collect!

  7. Oh, I always have such a blast here at your blog! Plus, I always learn something! Thanks for the great explanation!

  8. there are still a a lot of people who have never heard of them. I try to remember they are small works of art that can be framed, or collected like any other size. Thank goodness for ACEOs, we have so much fun with them!

  9. Indeed we do have fun with them, pink! Fun creating and fun collecting! btw - love you cute little avatar!

    Thanks, Jessie =) I love to blog! Glad that you enjoy reading my ramblings ;-)

    Thanks, Pam! Very true - We have a group of local beaders, though, who have been making beaded ATCs and trading them among themselves for quite a while. They are gorgeous! They came to our last local ATC trade and showed some of their creations.

  10. Wow Beaded ACEO's, now that would be cool!


  11. They are totally AWESOME! There are some beaded ACEOs on etsy, but the beading group makes more traditional designs and they had some three dimentional ones, too. Very hard to describe...


Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

Related Posts with Thumbnails