We started an Artist Trading Card Club. I am excited to see where this takes us.
In 1996 a Swiss artist, M. Vänçi Stirnemann, exhibited a collection of miniature art he had done (around 1200 in all). They were the same size as baseball or hockey trading cards – 3½" X 2½". At the end of the exhibition (in 1997) there was a trading session, which took his exhibition to the new level of 'Collaborative Performance'. Other sessions sprung up around the world with the same idea of trading between people who created the miniature art, rather than open market buying and selling.
On my birthday this year, I decided that a couple of friends and I would go to Galveston. (Fortunately, they obliged.) It just happened to be Mardi Gras weekend, which added to the festivity. In preparation for the trip I bought three sketchbooks – one for each of us – and various pencils, pens and erasers. When we weren't exploring the historic district or partying on the Strand, we chilled and sketched while we talked. (That was the plan, anyway. In practice we only sketched a couple of times.)
At the end of the weekend I introduced the idea of an Artist Trading Card club. I asked if they would be interested in starting a small group and then seeing where it led us. There was interest and it grew as time went by. So, last week I made all three of us commit to a time. (It would have been beneficial to commit to a place as well, but 'live and don't learn' is my motto.) It's easy for good ideas to remain ideas and never grow into reality, unless somebody pushes forward. So, I decided to give us all a little shove in this direction.
This week Barry, Tamara and I met for dinner, along with Tamara's niece, and after eating we began drawing. We had fun chatting and sketching, much to the puzzlement and dismay of the waiter. I had brought the same pencils, pens and erasers along with a set of Prismacolor pencils. Tamara, a graphic designer by trade, more or less kicked our collective artistic butts. Barry was a little artistically blocked, but eventually did a lovely abstract piece, reminiscent of his jewelry. Tamara's niece, an RN, played lightly with text and I putzed around with a couple of ideas. At the end Tamara made the observation that we all kind of stayed in our comfort zone, but that is a reasonable place to start. We've all been kind of artistically blocked in one way or another (except maybe Tamara's niece who is busy saving lives daily in an ER), which is why I came up with the idea in the first place. So, Barry made a couple of suggestions for future meetings. One was that we all start with a shape – the same shape – and see where each of us takes it. Another was that we each draw a shape on a card and then pass that card to the left and let the next person take over. Both are very good ideas and will help us break out of our comfort zones.
Hopefully there will be more to come of our little club. There are already a couple of other people wanting to join. We'll be international in no time.