Alternative post title: Decks I Will Aggressively Be Throwing Money At In The Future !
There is no question in my mind that these decks will be irresistible once they are finished. They are rich, complex and diverse in imagery, colour and symbolism, to the point where I am astounded at the sheer craftsmanship that is going into their creation. The cards aren’t only works of aesthetic beauty; there is clear understanding of tarot archetypes and tradition – and personal exploration of these – backing the artistic choices up.
The Sarah Magdalene Tarot is one I first discovered when searching for really striking, unique images of the Queen of Wands for my Tarot Super Power post. Sarah Flyingfox – the artist – has completed the Majors paintings, but is currently reworking most of them. Her second version of The Tower is spectacular! I get a mild sense of vertigo looking at it, which really adds to the impact of the image.
The defining features of her work is the use of dense, tiny dots – eg. Sun -, as well as layer-upon-layer of fine details, as can be seen in the flames on the Prince of Wands. I’m really taken by her use of colour as well. Some cards, such as The Hermit, are so bright as to be almost neon, while others are more muted, like in the Queen of Swords.
Sarah has expressed that her growing, changing style during the creation of the deck makes her feel like the cards don’t go together, but I think there is a cohesiveness in the atmosphere and personality of the images so far. The faces are part of what holds the deck together – her people really stare out of the cards, always looking you in the eye, challenging. They are different people, but there’s something behind their individual features that makes it feel like we’re watching a single person grow and metamorphose on their journey through the tarot.
This started as a personal project and I believe it is continuing as such. I hope so, at least. Though it’s the kind of thing that can haunt an artist and drive them to the point of madness, it’s the obvious personal involvement that makes it such a powerful piece of art. The root of tarot is there, but the addition of the artist’s personal symbols and understanding give it a unique depth. If this deck is ever published, it will be equally good for readings and meditation.
Say what you like about deviantArt and the over-abundance of mediocre Manga copies, there are some true artists who share their work there. Tarot of the Golden Serpent is an example of this superlative dA contribution. Sebastian Haines is the artist behind the magical – in all senses – oil paintings of the TotGS. In his own words, the symbols for the cards are “mostly drawn from alchemy and western ceremonial magic, with a touch of druidism.” There will be some parallels to the Thoth-school of decks based on this background, but this work is by no means derivative.
I am struck by the intense, mystical imagery of the deck and the use of a strong, cohesive colour scheme. There is also an inherent symmetry to the cards, even though the images aren’t symmetrical; they’re very visually balanced. The eye can rest and explore the image comfortably, or it can focus and concentrate on one area. This shows a grasp of composition – and its importance – that is missing from some decks I have seen.
There is so much packed into each card, and yet they are not overwhelming. It is quite a feat to incorporate so much information into such a small space and still keep it “clean”. Though the original canvases are large, the artist has clearly planned for them still to be readable on a much smaller scale. He has also said that he would ultimately like to write essays on each of the cards which will be of great benefit and interest to readers and collectors alike.
I love it when a deck takes me on a journey and doubly-so when it teaches me so many new things! Though this one will take a while before it’s ready for publication as well, it’s going to be worth the wait and maybe by then I’ll know enough to use it properly – ?
The Eklektikos Tarot blows me away. End of story.
The artist has explained that the deck is a co-creation between themselves and their husband. They chose the name – “Eklektikos” – as a working title for the deck, stemming from the Greek word meaning “to choose”, particularly in areas of philosophy; choosing seemingly disparate systems of thought without regard to possible contradictions between the systems. The term also refers to the selection and employment of individual elements from a variety of sources, systems, or styles. These ideas represent all that the creators wanted to incorporate into their inclusive tarot system.
One of their core aims was to develop a natural, “green” deck, including as many natural elements as possible. This is highly reflected in the artwork. The cards include many animals, whether for their totemic significance or natural behaviours, and absolutely exquisite outdoor landscapes. That these cards are executed in coloured pencil (and small: 15.4 x 22.8 cms)… ::stunned silence:: The intensity of detail alone makes me want to donate my pencils to a worthier cause! The lushness of the flora and perfect blue skies fill me with intense longing. Though there are decks that have been created to be specifically Pagan, I think this deck truly delivers (whether intentionally or not.
There artists plan on creating a comprehensive companion book to accompany the deck that will explain the symbolism, traditions and stories behind the cards. It is a truly multi-cultural deck (Strength includes a story from my homeland – a first, as far as I know) with a good balance of equally strong male and female characters and I can’t wait to include its sunny disposition in my collection!
Blessings to all the artists. May neither your Muses nor your hands fail you!
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