I love working with themes. Because I’m interested in so many different artistic styles, I enjoy immersing myself in a particular style for a period of time and then switching it up to do something else.
Many years ago, a friend introduced me to her Gilded Tarot deck, designed and written by Ciro Marchetti and Barbara Moore. I immediately fell in love with the colorful artwork. Each card was packed with symbolism and meaning. Since then, I have purchased a few of my own decks, one of which is the Gilded Deck. Each deck has its own theme, whether it’s fairies, cats, Steampunk, or collage. I do go through periods where I use one particular deck because the artwork resonates with me at that time. In fact, the photo I’m using for this post is from The Steampunk Tarot deck illustrated and written by Aly Fell and Barbara Moore. I immediately fell in love with this deck because the cards look dark and mysterious, and I love anything that is Steampunk.
One of the most recognized decks is the original Rider-Waite Tarot Deck. In 1903, Arthur Edward Waite, who wrote the booklet, hired a young artist named Pamela Colman Smith to create the illustrations. Smith was a theatrical designer for miniature theatre and an illustrator for books, posters, and pamphlets. Today, her work sets the standard for tarot decks, but sadly Smith never got to see the success of her work. During her lifetime, Smith struggled to achieve commercial success, and she died penniless and in virtual obscurity.
After completing my astrological photography series, I felt it was time to start my own tarot deck. This series will be my lengthiest project since there are 78 cards in a tarot deck. Initially, I wasn’t planning on writing a booklet because I didn’t feel that I had anything significant to add to what had already been written. But now I realize this is not true. While each card has a particular meaning, I have noticed that each writer has a certain way of defining or interpreting the card. Since I have used the cards for many years, I feel that I have gained a well-rounded understanding of each of the cards.
The theme for my deck (so far) has been a mixture of modern, art deco, and Victorian Steampunk. I add “so far” because I have noticed that with lengthier projects, my art is as much shaped by the journey and process as it is by my artistic planning. As I work on my tarot deck, I will be writing summaries about what each card represents and how to interpret its meaning.