What the what is ACEO? In a nutshell, teeney tiny original pieces of art that are super affordable. But oh so much more. Miniture art is nothing new. Henry VIII agreed to marry Anne of Cleves after commissioning an artist to paint an Art Card - a playing card sized painting - to capture her essence (boobs). After accusing the artist of exaggeration her hotness, Henry subsequently divorced Anne without even humping or decapitating her.
During the 16th century wealthy cads would commission an artist to paint a portrait of their darling families to hang on their walls and an Art Card of their nudey mistresses to keep in their wallets. Somehow Art Cards were pulled out of the gutter when, towards the end of the Renaissance, artists started trading them with one another...and the Artist Trading Card, or ATC, was born.
At some point during the nineties ATCs saw a resurgence and online shops like eBay and Etsy brought a whole new audience. The trading aspect was dropped as people decided that little pieces of art from up-and-coming artists was a cute way of getting in on the arty action without a massive budget. And so ACEOs - Art Cards, Original Editions - are a thing now.
To qualify as an ACEO the rules are pretty simple (and loosely followed); the artwork should be 2.5" X 3.5", the size of a baseball trading card, and should either be an original or a limited edition, hence the name. As ever, complying with the rules is proving as inspirational as bending them and the art form is fast becoming a fresh and exciting way of supporting young artists and getting a unique piece of art for a pretty low price.
Etsy is without a doubt the place to go for ACEO right now. Yep, you'll probably have a little trawling to do but with 30,000 pieces to choose from you're bound to find something you love. Too much work? Here are 10 ACEO artists that should tempt you more than a little.
Painter Peeps Michigan-based Painter Peeps's pretty little watercolours are prints of the artist's original art works. Coming in under €5, they are perfect entry level prints . They'd look great grouped together or dotted amongst a cluster of photographs."I fight for chocolate chip cookies. Hiding them from me won't do any good." - Superduper Piggy. I've found my superhero soulmate. Rococo Nikka's one part disturbing to two parts adorable original ACEO's come signed and dated by the artist and cost between €10-€20.
Slugworks Wallet-sized Muppet art makes sense, nobody's arguing with that, but miniature oil painting capturing the very essence of the Kermit & co is just too perfect, especially when Slugworks limited edition ACEOs cost less than €8. Who thinks I should get Beaker for my bedside table? Mee mee mee, that's who.
If your taste is more highbrow than Henson perhaps Deviltree have what you're looking for. These original teeny artworks (real deal, not prints) are great examples of how affordable (€4.80 each) genuine samples of artists' works can be.
I've had my eye on Dabblelicious's Bird On A Wire series for a while now and their gorgeous original drawing ACEOs could be just the place to start. The above picture isn't of ACEOs but of slightly larger watercolours (€45 for three) but there is a ACEO option (€15) and Dabblelicious offer any of their prints in any sizes.
Danita Art Trying to find a frame for ACEOs can be a bit tricky but Danita Art's wood block mounted ACEO art prints come ready to hang. Costing €6.50 each and with over 100 to choose from, these could become dangerously addictive.
Lanie Fine Art Lanie Thompson's original watercolour and pen and ink drawings may not be the cheapest of the bunch (€20) but the detail in these tiny ACEOs is pretty impressive. How cool would the nude look in a gentleman's wallet?
Rok's Gallery Rok's Gallery have but one ACEO (€8) but it's pretty awesome. The embroidered watercolour mini masterpiece is signed and dated and this little buttercup has Mother's Day written all over it.