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Artist Trading Cards

Gallery below, but first:

A little history on ATC's & ACEO's



ATC - Artist Trading Cards

ACEO - Art Cards: Editions and Originals


Artist Trading Cards is a conceptual art project initiated by the Swiss artist M. Vänçi Stirnemann in 1997. He called it a Collaborative Cultural Performance. Artist Trading Cards are 2-1/2 by 3-1/2 inches (64 mm × 89 mm) in size, the same format as modern trading cards (hockey cards or baseball cards). They are self-made unique works or small series, signed and dated on the reverse by the artist/producer, exchanged and collected by the people who participate. The core purpose of the ATC concept was a free exchange between the participants to establish a rapport (collaborative performance).


In order to allow for profit gain and non-artist collection, both the concept of a mutual exchange and the name of the cards were altered (while the size was kept). In 2004, a first ATC offshoot was organized on eBay by Lisa Luree (eBay name bone*diva). To circumvent intellectual property rights, she called it "Art Cards, Editions and Originals" (ACEO's). It was the beginning of what an eBay staff member two years later called "eBay's home grown art movement". Then, in 2005, Jillian Crider started the Small Format Art Group on eBay, which allowed for works "no more than 14 inches in any one direction".

Whereas ATC's are rather shown in museums and special exhibitions (usually accompanied by a trading session), ACEO's are sold on auction sites, collected privately and reproduced in craft tutorials or other publications.

Aug 19, 2017 Barbara Claridge: I first learned of ACEOs and the ATC movement in around 2009 when a friend showed me his latest treasure acquired on eBay. It was this tiny piece of original art, the size of a baseball card, a veritable masterpiece in the palm of his hand! To this day I can still vividly recall the feeling of excitement bubbling up inside the very core of me-- I mean quivering and sweaty palms kind of excitement-- as he explained the concept and showed me his collection kept in a binder just jam packed with ACEO’s displayed in those 9-pocket baseball card sleeves. Within minutes, no-- seconds, well let’s just say it was immediate love at first sight- I was hooked. Hook, line, and sinker. A full-blown addiction/obsession with TINY ART!

So that was really the moment I knew I wanted to be an ATC and ACEO artist, and it wasn’t long before I was spending hours on eBay searching and bidding and really just building up my tiny art collection that I treasure to this day.

I haven’t traded ATCs with other artists yet but the desire is percolating in the back of my mind to maybe light a fire under the local Lubbock art community and get some others interested in creating ATC’S and ACEO’S , and maybe one of us in the community will host a trading party some day.

Go Green and Paint movement

I actually didn’t start painting ACEOs until a few years later. I was deep in the middle of other projects and I knew once I started painting ACEOs I’d pretty much drop everything else. So I eventually got those projects off my bench and then one day in 2016 while searching eBay for tiny art I found an artist named Lothean who created this Go Green and Paint campaign. All of his ACEOs were painted on the back of old Star Trek trading cards, and he was painting these amazing other-worldly landscapes on them. I’ve pretty much been a sci-fi nut since I had my first girlhood crushes on Spock and Kirk… so 95% of my ACEO collection is works by Lothean.

His work really inspired me to just start painting ACEOs.


My preferred medium is Alcohol Ink and the ideal substrate is non-porous such as metal, glass, and so forth. So I was cutting up things like the plastic-foil seal from a tub of coffee, the backs of polypropylene mailing envelopes, the lids of plastic salad tubs, stuff like that. I did participate in that go green campaign for a few months but it became harder and harder to find a large enough quantity of suitable substrates to paint on. I mean it kind of negates the purpose of “Go Green” when you end up buying pre-packaged groceries just to have more trash to paint on! (laughs) Eventually I discovered and settled on YUPO which is a tree-friendly Polypropylene “paper”. It looks just like white paper but no trees were harmed in its creation. It’s really the ideal non-porous surface for Alcohol Ink.

To date I’ve painted over 200 Alcohol Ink ACEOs. I haven’t sold or traded any but have given many of them away as gifts. I have 189 left on YUPO and 6 from the original Go Green and Paint campaign. I usually sign my art with BBQ62 or BarbiQ62 which has been my “online name” since the days of Windows 3.1 when I first started getting into computers. Sometimes it’s just a big Q with the number 62, which is the year I was born, right in the middle of it.

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