Thursday, October 20, 2011

"icebreaker" artist trading cards

      Although the concept of this trading card icebreaker is relatively self-explanatory, the amount of success and effort involved with it is not. I've included it here because I feel it to be a uniquely ambitious idea for building community and interests around the arts. Young people love to collect things, as do some of their parents but, to collect something small that is original, without expense is not frequently done in public school environments. The additional fact that the creations are also the result of a fellow art enthusiast adds even greater interest to their collectibility. If your students take so much time and interest in collecting stamps, sea shells and baseball cards, just think of what they could collect in terms of genuine friendships through ATCs. I think their family members would find the activity fascinating as well.
      Go to the Home of the Artist Trading Cards: A Collaborative Cultural Performance, to review the history of ATCs and some design ideas too. 
      ATCs may be produced under a wide variety of categories and with almost any medium. There are a few rules, however. 

"Artist Trading Cards (or ATCs) are miniature works of art about the same size as modern baseball cards, or 2 ½ X 3 ½ inches (63 mm X 89 mm), small enough to fit inside standard card-collector pockets, sleeves or sheets. The ATC movement developed out of the mail art movement and has its origins in Switzerland. Cards are produced in various media, including dry media (pencils, pens, markers, etc.), wet media (watercolor, acrylic paints, etc.), paper media (in the form of collage, papercuts, found objects, etc.) or even metals or cloth. The cards are usually traded or exchanged rather than sold." Wikipedia.com

      Art teachers or even other faculty members may wish to establish a trading card club or an event that hosts trading card sessions twice to three times during the school year. It would be a unique way for students to maintain friendships over the summer break or to meet new student artists during the first week of school. Make sure your students sign their cards on the back, date them, and include a bit of interesting information about themselves on the reverse side of their cards.
      ACTs are kept in 9-Pocket Trading Card Pages that tuck neatly into a large three ring binder. Collect cards from your peers, your teachers, church youth group and local artists. The possibilities are endless.
      Card Swaps for adults are now hosted at the Red Lead shop in Webster Groves. Sharon and Chris are the paper artists who sponsor these events.

More links about ATCs and ACEO cards: