Simply put, an ACEO, which stands for “Art Card, Editions and Originals,” is a miniature work of art which is always two and a half inches by three and a half inches, the size of a standard playing card. It can be made in any medium; it can be an original, one-of-a-kind piece, or part of a series of cards that are the same, and it can be an easy and highly-addictive way of collecting unique and affordable works of art.
The art card movement has quickly gained popularity in the past few years. According to the book Artist Trading Card Workshop by Bernie Berlin, in 1997, artist M. Vånci Stirnemann started the trend by having a gallery show featuring 1,200 art cards which could be acquired by gallery visitors if one brought an art card of his or her own to trade. Thus began the ATC, or “Artist Trading Card” craze. To maintain the spirit of Stirnemann’s original concept, ATCs could only be traded, never bought or sold. Some artists wanted to be able to sell their playing card-sized creations, and thus the ACEO movement was born. Starting on eBay, the movement quickly spread to Etsy, where it currently thrives.
I began collecting ACEOs two years ago when I first signed up as a buyer on Etsy. Within my current collection you’ll find all kinds of styles and media, from traditional miniature paintings, to collage and mixed media pieces, to photographs and relief prints. Collecting ACEOs is a wonderful way to get a sampling of work from an artist whose work you admire. Made in a dizzying array of media and techniques and in a vast number of subjects, with a little looking around, you are almost guaranteed to find something you like.
The KCEtsy Team Artist ACEOs pictured above are from left to right:
Compounds of Sulphur by Jodie Hurt • Yellow Flowers by Collage Contessa • Adorable - Cute Dragon by Allison Stein • What a Wonderful World by Karen Kay Artworks