The story as I understand (I could be way wrong about this) it is that a few years ago, there was a huge art fest. All sorts of artists were displaying their wares and demonstrating their art. And as the day began to grow long, some of the artists looked at other artists work and liked what they saw After a while, one of the artists approached several other artists and mentioned that he would really like to have some work done by them. The other artists agreed, because they, too liked what they saw. But they had a dilemma: all the artists were there to make money. If they were to trade paintings with one another, they would not have any paintings left to sell -- which was not a good idea.
Then one of the artists had an idea. He pulled out a deck of cards. Then he put Gesso (Sorta like a white paint) on one side of each card. After the Gesso dried, he handed out the cards to the other artists. Each artist did a sample of their work on some cards. Then they went around and traded cards with other artists. Each person then, got some artwork from other artists that they liked.
Well, it worked out beautifully. Some of the artists made up their own decks of Gessoed playing cards and took them to other art shows. The idea grew. In some places, the artists even had an art show of nothing but the trading cards. All sorts of folks came with cards of their own making and trading was wild.
The rules were:
any subject matter
all cards had to be 3 1/2 inches by 2 1/2 inches
Cards had to be a bit sturdy, not like on typing paper. Card stock or firmer is the rule.
All cards have to be signed, dated (the year is enough) and a location where they were created (such as 'California, USA'). Usually this info was on the back, but it could be anywhere.
Great idea. An easy way to collect art from your favorite artists. The art is the perfect size to put in any of the plastic holders that folks use for baseball cards.
Originally, you were only supposed to trade or give the cards. That's why they were known as Art Trading Cards. But they really can be attractive little puppies, so some folks started selling their cards (like on eBay or Etsy), so those cards are known as ACEOs, which stands for 'Art Cards, Original or Editions' (some folks might have prints, hence 'editions').
Nowadays, many folk swap their cards on line.
I'm wondering if anyone is interested in doing an Art Card swap with a bunch of other tanglers? If so, post here to let me know and I will gladly host a swap. (actually, I'd like to do two swaps, one with color and one with the traditional Black & White only)