ACEO is an acronym for “Art Cards, Editions, and Originals.” They are small works of art measuring 2.5 inches x 3.5 inches (6cm X 9cm) in portraiture or landscape. ACEOs are sold, as opposed to Artist Trading Cards (ATC), which are traded. Both follow the same size format.
The first ATC Exhibition was held in 1997 by Artist, M. Vanci Stirnemann. His exhibition included 1200 art cards. Visitors were encouraged to make their own during the show to trade with M. Vanci Stirnemann and others.** From there, the idea went international. Since ATCs could only be traded, ACEOs came about allowing collectors to purchase these small art works as well.
Each artist uses materials of their choice: paper, image transfers, oils, pastels, colored pencils, 3d ephemera, digital collages, photography, and the list goes on. The ACEO category includes a variety of mediums and subjects. These small works tend to be two-dimensional but 3 dimensional are also available.
I first got interested in ACEOs in 2007. I like this smaller format because I can develop a concept more quickly. Birth IV (pictured above), which has been sold uses acrylics and watercolors. Below is a time-lapsed video of another aceo that I completed in this Birth series.
Why buy an ACEO? Collectors are able to purchase originals or prints in a range of prices, from as little as $4.00 to more than $100. Commissioned Portraits are also available in ACEO size. The smaller size makes them perfect for decorating any spot in an office or house. They are small enough to frame and put on a desk. They can be hung alone or hung in a collection. Some collectors place their ACEOs under a glass table. Now that makes a great conversation piece!