Two weeks ago, the art teacher came to us with a request. He was beginning a unit on Artist Trading Cards, and wanted us to make some as examples for the students. I had never heard of Artist Trading Cards before, so I did a little searching. “Swiss artist M. Vanci 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. He exhibited the cards at his gallery in Zürich 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. Canadian artist Chuck Stake participated in a Trading Session while in Zürich. Stake became very enthusiastic about ATCs and collaborated with Stirnemann to stage “The First International Biennial of Artist Trading Cards” at The New Gallery in Calgary, Canada that included 80 artists from 10 different countries. Since then, with the help of the Internet, interest in ATCs has spread around the globe.”
Granted, this tends to be something shared among the painters and other graphic artists, but while working on mine, it suddenly occurred to me that this would be a really neat thing for writers to do, too. When you follow the spirit of the project, each card is unique. No making copies on a Xerox to give out two hundred of them. The charm of the cards, for me, was in how each one is a miniature window into a writer’s world. I made three – two of them displayed objects from Mad Kestrel and Kestrel’s Dance (the soon-to-be-turned-in sequel) and the one in the middle was just….piratey.
Granted these were made for the art teacher, but I’m considering making more, to be used as neat little promotional giveaways or prizes. I enjoyed searching for graphic representations of my stories, and fitting it all into a tiny card. If you’re interested in making your own artist cards, here’s a brief explanation about how to get started.