Art and Design. Literature and Film. Travel and Culture. Indifference and Seduction.

Metro Trading Cards

Metro Trading Card #1 (by pape)

As most Seductive Banter readers already know, Uj and I called Buenos Aires home for a short but precious time. And while we have both moved onto new destinations and projects, I was recently reminded of a little project we did during those months yesterday when I  was introduced to Artist Trading Cards. (

Metro Trading Card #2 (by pape)

In Buenos Aires, we filled our days with small and easily accomplished tasks (e.g., write a haiku, look at student artwork, drink mate in a park, buy a 2007 malbec, get vegetarian take-out, find a café positioned perfectly in the last rays of sunlight, eat gelato…) Needless to say, life was simplified and we were pleased with how well we achieved our goals.

In the city, one tends to travel by foot, bus or metro. In that last mode of transportation, one must purchase a card to enter and ride. However, once you’ve boarded the train, that little 1 peso card looses all function. Logically, most people would just toss the card to the floor, the trash, or let it be lost forever in their bags or pockets.

We decided to hold onto them, and to collect them.

Metro Trading Card #3 (by pape + uj)

We had collected a fair amount of cards when their second purpose came to us: metro card collage! These metro cards would be our canvas! We would…(finally)…paint!

Perhaps it was all those student art exhibits, or being surrounded by vast quantities of street art, that sparked our inner artists. Either way, our creative souls were itching for an outlet, and per backpacker usual, the cheaper the better.

We bought five tubes of acrylics and two petite paintbrushes. Then the next Saturday morning we sprawled ourselves out on the floor of our apartment, laid all the metro cards face down, hooked up Uj’s ipod to our borrowed computer speakers, and let our imaginations tranquilly run wild.

The result was some mini paintings that we imagined would one day be arranged into a much larger and more elaborate collage…

Metro Trading Card #4 (by pape + uj)

In the end, the cards remained separate entities, serving as fun little greeting cards to give to friends as a humble gift of recycled artistic intent.

But this Artist Trading Card thing got me thinking…why not do the same thing, but just use the metro cards? (Or any card that no longer serves its original purpose?) They are basically the same size, sturdy, and as we have already proven, serve as perfect little canvases.

So mes amis, don’t be surprised if the next time you open your mailbox there’s a 2 ½ x 3 ½ inch card inside with a little artistic flair…and while it may seem relatively insignificant in comparison with the big complicated tasks of our day—it is, what I consider, a proof of how much joy can come from a simple act of reuse.


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