Monday, April 03, 2006

WormTown Rich and the ARTexchange

Loving brushstrokes to all you artistes out there.

I am convinced no one is reading this except the Action Geek, who has no choice since he receives instant e-mails of every Stickler post to this blog. Of course, it is possible that there has been a tumultuous response to The Stickler Posts and they are all being sent to the Action Geer who has chosen to withold any sense of acclaim that might be due. But, I doubt this scenario. It is likely I am, as they say, pissing in the wind. Nevermind.

Behold the lowly art trading card

Art trading cards are 2.5" x 3.5" miniworks created for trading between artists. Inspired by the sports trading card, a Swiss artist introduced the art trading card in the mid-1960s. Since then it has been an open secret among artists of all genres and even taken the craft world (rubber stampers) by storm. Yet, the art trading card still has a relatively low profile outside of the starving artist community. Of course, the Internet has spurred awareness and participation in this unique exchange medium, but my take is the artist trading card, despite being a genuine original work of art, gets virtually no respect.

Perhaps ATCs, (accepted acronym) are considered "amateur" since they are generally traded not sold. Or, maybe they get dissed for being tiny since there is a bigoted view that art must be larger than, say, 16" x 20" to be considered "serious." It is also possible that ATCs are not taken seriously because artists trade and collect them like kids with baseball cards. They store them in binders with plastic protective pockets and they trade in organized swap meets or subscription swaps on the 'Net that require the submission of 16 to a central administrator who divvies them up and returns 16 different cards from other ATC artists. Very cool and fascinating since you never know what you will get.

As a recent ATC aficianado, I was struck by the commercial novelty of an ATC vending machine that dispenses ATCs for, say, a buck each. Most people will blow a buck on a chance. Just look at the lottery lovers out there. Investing a dollar in an art card doesn't hold the possiblity of winning big money, but, who knows, that miniature original might someday sell for thousands at a Sothebys Auction. It could happen should the starving artist catch on with the trendy art mavens out there.

Interested in ATCs? Google "art trading cards" and check this out for yourself.

The Stickler


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