How to Exchange Art via Artist Trading Cards

Photo of colorful cards on the wall


Have you ever fantasized about going to an art exhibition where you could potentially own any of the work you saw without spending a dime? In actual fact your own art can act as currency to acquire a collection of art that you love and adore. The secret ingredient is trading.


This fall I have traded my art or prints for the following items, a handmade necklace by artist Kari Breitigam, a handmade pillow by Plain Jane Designs, a drawing by Matt Black and a weekly delivery of homemade kombucha tea from my friend James. My most recent of these trades was with Matt Black, an artist from the UK who sent me the awesome ink drawing in the photo below. It was so nice to receive his art in the mail since I really admired his stark and simple landscapes. My exchange with Matt started because I had sent a print to him as he had won a Twitter competition that I hosted. We started to follow each other's work and started offering each other encouragement and then he decided to send me a drawing in the mail...which was awesome! I'd definately recommend an art exchange with other artists wether it's prints or originals.  This art exchange reminded me about the awesome international phenomena of Artist Trading Cards.


Photo of figure against a watercolor painting


Artist trading cards are miniature works of art created for trading with other artists. They are about the same size as baseball cards and events for creating, exhibiting and exchanging art this way have flourished internationally. The medium used to create the cards varies from painting to drawing in all mediums. Check out this website for an annual Artist Trading Card event that is hosted by Hot Art Wet City in Vancouver: Artist Trading Card movement is an easy way to exchange art with other artists whose work you love. The idea behind this movement is to exchange art instead of making art that needs to be purchased with money.


Photo of hands holding multiple cards


Artist trading cards are typically:

- 2.5" x 3.5"

- Created with the intention of art exchange by the way of "trading" with other artists.

- Contain information on the back of the card. Usually the back of the card has the artist's signature and date and if the card is part of a series it may also inlcude an edition number.



-Connecting with your arts community in a unique way.

-Experimenting with ideas on a small scale.

-Economical as far as your time and materials go.

-Super portable.

-Build your art collection without spending a dime : )

-Help to circulate your work.

-A great way to become part of a group exhibition.

-A great way to get together with other artists for an artmaking night ---working on such a small scale means you can still sit side-by-side at a big table while creating your miniature works of art.


Side note: Now it may not always work out that there is mutual admiration between two artists in order to facilitate an art exchange. You may like another artist's work but they may not be willing to exchange artwork for various reasons, even if they like your work. Never take it personally : )


Photo of hands holding multiple cards


These events can be quite well attended as they are a great opportunity to see miniatures from  many artists without needing a huge space for exhibition and artists have the power to acquire each other's work!


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Written by: rebecca chaperon
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