Wednesday, 9 September 2009

Buy Art!

(Buy Art! - original by Liz Staley.)

Another Etsy fun discovery for me was the world of ACEO's (Art Cards, Editions and Originals) otherwise known as Artist Trading Cards.

(The Cat in Space - original by Prudence. Done by the artists' daughter.)

These cards are basically mini works of art, they can be paintings, drawings, photographs, prints, collage, textile works or use any other medium the artist has to hand. In that respect there are no restrictions. The only rule is that the cards must always measure 2 ½ by 3 ½ inches in dimension, the same size as regular trading cards e.g. sports cards. From there the sky and the artist's imagination and ability is the limit. The orientation can be in Landscape or Portrait or any other angle that fits the bill.

(The Day Out - original by Wonkyshop.)

(Dragon Whisperer - edition by Charlotte Self aka Paperstreet.)

The concept of Artist Trading Cards is credited to Swiss artist M.VÄNÇI STIRNEMANN who in 1996 created 1200 handmade cards as a means of cataloging his activities with other artists. He exhibited his cards in 1997 and at the end of the exhibition encouraged visitors to make their own cards with which to trade with him. The idea was picked up on and rapidly spread.

(Firebird - original by Kaslkaos)

Whereas Artist Trading Card purists believe that these cards should only be swapped between the creators and never sold, this meant that people who didn't produce them were excluded from being able to collect them.

(Chrysanthemums and Knot - original by Lemon Shortbread.)

(Night Scenery - embroidered original by Lemon Shortbread.)

Somewhere down the line, non artists were able to buy into the fun, when the idea was adapted so that the cards could be sold and they were therefore renamed ACEO's - as it says on the tin, Art Cards, produced in series' of Editions or one-off Originals. Apart from the size rule, the only other rule of these cards is that the artist is asked to sign and date them on the back.

(How To Train Your Human - edition by Heidi Shaulis.)

(The Fortune Teller - original by Lucy Kitten.)

ACEO's are found for sale on eBay, but my personal favourite hunting ground for them is Etsy, where, for my money, there's a lot more variety, creativity and imagination going on. Also Etsy traders tend to have very high standards in terms of communication, shipping and fairness in dealing with any customer issues.

(Meet Me Somewhere In My Head - original by Moonstr.)

Collecting them is HIGHLY addictive. Once you build up a little stack and put them in a tin or into an album, you just want to keep adding.

(Faceless - original collage by Dadadreams.)

(Amethyst - original collage by Dadadreams.)

The real cherry on top of the cake about ACEO's has got to be their price. Their small size is usually accompanied by a small price tag that anyone can afford. They usually start at well under £5 to £10 and very occasionally higher prices of around £50 are asked. But in my experience there's just as much work available by really talented artists at the lower end of the price range as there is at the top and if you have any friends with a bit of an artistic flare, give them a few blank cards (you can buy them in art shops or just cut your own) and see what they come up with.

(Boombox - original by T-Rex.)


  1. Way cool! I'm honoured to be included. Thanks! Artists love you!

  2. Thanks! I wouldn't be doing it without you all!