If the fool would persist in his folly he would become wise.
William Blake 1757 - 1827
WHY the TAROT?
I have loved and worked with the tarot for many years. From 12 years old, most evenings between school and home I would pour over books of all sorts at my local library. The tarot images drew me in and I was fascinated by the strange pictures, wondering what all the many parts meant within the images.
But although I appreciate that the tarot has a spiritual and divination aspect for many people, my main attraction to the cards is the very nature of the pack, its sculptural look, the tactile quality, human touch, the slip and slide of the surface, the very number of them, and of course the colours and imagery itself.
The archetypal presences also draw me in as I am interested in Jungian psychology and his understanding of the meanings of images as a collective font of subconscious knowledge and arcane teachings.
The strength that these images continue to hold and their increasing use in products, films and media and personal use gathers momentum every year as we all look for signs and signifiers to help navigate through an increasingly complicated and often alienating world.
When Covid arrived, along with so many others I found myself adapting to a 'new normal', I found I had more time but less studio space. Starting on a tarot card project seemed perfect.
My initial idea was for the work to be my homage to Artist Pamela Coleman Smith whose creative skill and interpretation of Arthur Waite's ideas, made the RWS pack what it has become today.....the most popular tarot pack in the world.
My purpose was to amplify, finesse and complement them by including greater detail, depth and precision. So I started to recreate the RWS images but enhanced and with more solid drawings. I have uploaded a selection of these initial images here.
While making them I had a lot of time to think.....and I changed my mind. I felt that something more is needed, something that reflects and represents the more complicated nature of our reality today and presents the cards in a contemporary context. Still holding the time-honoured archetypes close, but portraying them in a more relevant, beguiling and compelling way?
As you will see, the III of Swords that I have completed is very similar to other artists' ideas as it just seems to sum up the meaning of this card to me, a true archetype of sorrow and pain. I think this may change as my own pack develops.
The IX of Swords expands my ideas further by using myself as the drawn figure in my work and making the card more contemporary and contained. I have still incorporated the popular and archetypal symbols in many versions of this card, particularly the Rose and the Lilly.
I am now intending to start from the very beginning, (The Fool of course!) and in order to help this happen I have decided to sell the initial RWS drawings and offer them as prints too. I am hoping that if I can generate sales in this way, little but often, it will help me to find time and fund the project to its conclusion.
Over time I hope people will buy them as they appear, either as original drawings or in limited edition prints in different sizes and at the actual size of the card....making A pack, one card at a time.