ACEO and ATC – Small scaled works of Art

Miniature Art is known for capturing the intrigue of Art Collectors who love to see what can be created on such a small format of art.

One form of Miniature Art that I have been creating now for quite some years are ACEOs. ACEOs are a great talking point at my market stalls and I really enjoy sharing what I have learnt about them.

So, what actually is an ACEO?

ACEO is actually an acronym which stands for Art Cards, Editions and Originals. 

Likewise, ATC, also an acronym, stands for Art Trading Card.

I have been making ACEOs for a while now, and I have to admit, they have become an integral part of my art practice.

I first came across ACEOs when I was busily surfing the various art supply stores looking for sales on my drawing pads. This was when I came across ATCs, or Artist Trading Cards. What excited me at that stage was the ability for them to fit into my daily art routine.

Spending many hours sitting in the car waiting for my children to finish school, they were perfect to spend time drawing whatever came to mind first.

The more I read about them the more I loved, and it spurred me on to research the miniature form of art further.

Trading Cards have been around for over 120 years. Tobacco Companies used them as a promotional tool, followed by Confectionary Companies, Sports Stars being a prominent feature. Baseball cards are highly collectable and it hasn’t taken long for the Art variety of Trading Cards – ATCs – to become highly popular too.

According to the Blanton Museum, ATCs developed out of the mail art movement, and had its origins from Switzerland. 

Even Rembrandt created works as small as this, as shown in his miniature:

Rembrandt Harmensz Van Rijn
Self-Portrait Wearing a Soft Cap
(The Three Mustaches)
circa 1634
17th century
8.7 cm x 7.1 cm (3 7/16 in. x 2 13/16 in.)

I remember reading somewhere that Artists used to have these in their pockets as a form of business cards so to speak. If we were to meet and you liked my work, I would have one of these and my details written on the back so you would know how to contact me in the future, and what type of work you were interested in. If you were an artist as well we would swap cards. I’m not sure if it is true, but I do like the sound of it.

Let me digress a little and fill you in on the background of these miniature works. It is important to know that there is a distinct difference between the use of the term ATC and ACEOs. ATC is the acronym for Art Trading Card which are not made to be sold, but traded.

ACEO is an acronym for Art Cards, Editions and Collectable, which are intended to be sold.

ACEOs and ATCs have one very strict rule – they MUST be 2.5 x 3.5” or 3.5 x 2.5” in size. Anything else is at the Artist’s discretion.

Today there are many avid collectors of ACEOs and ATCs, and if you are searching for a space effective, affordable way to start a collection of art, I feel there is no better way.

To share more about these wonderful pocket treasures, I have started an ACEO Enthusiasts Group. Get member only discounts on ACEOS, originals and prints, see new work first, hear about upcoming miniature exhibitions and more.

Once a month, each member will go into a draw to receive an ACEO Fine Art Print!

Joining is free, you can learn more here…

I really enjoy meeting fellow collectors of ACEOs and ATCs. It is amazing to hear how they are used and or collected. Some collectors store them like Baseball cards, others frame and hang them. I have heard them used for dollhouses and embellishments for scrapbooking.

If you are curious about how ACEOs look in person, you can view my Original ACEOs and selected Fine Art Prints at the Gallery of Small Things – GOST Canberra.

Image: 32 of 365 Gallipoli Poppies © Kylie Fogarty – ACEO Fine Art Print

I am told that there are ACEO / ATC groups in Canberra, however I am yet to find them. Are you a member of a group? I would love to hear about it!

Please leave the details in the comments below if you are and introduce the group or club ~ K

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