Not Tarot: 54 Intercontinental Cuties

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Here’s a not-so-secret: I am a HUGEMONGOUS fan of pin-up art.

It’s a natural off-shoot of being in love with all things circular and curved and round and womanly (and has sexy ladies. When I saw that one of my favourite modern pin-up artists was working on a regular deck, the countdown to the day it finally became avilable for purchase began. And then it arrived!

54 Intercontinental Cuties is a collaborative project between Bill Presing and Josh Cooley. I’m admittedly not very familar with Cooley’s work, but Bill Presing’s deceptively simple watercolours occupy a good portion of my hard drive. His girls are sweet and saucy with hills and valleys, thick and thin in all the right places. They have the innocent sexiness that is essential to all *good* cheesecake; a wide-eyed sultriness that is appealing to both men and women.

I could honestly go on for days, waxing lyrically and rhapsodising in 4-part harmony about how much I OMGLOVE *good* pinup art. Pretty much the only things I’m interested in drawing are intricate symbolic pieces and women. It’s why I never stuck with any art classes – they expected me to paint flowers and apples ‘n’ shit. Booooooring. I grew up watching my grandmother sketch female nudes and spent hours browsing through her books, skipping over landscapes to get to the juicy bits. Though it was never for tittilation, purely appreciation of the shapes and forms and even the negative space.

See? There I go…
The cards. The girls!

54 Intercontinental Cuties by Bill Presing and Josh Cooley (Miss South Africa at top right nearly made me cry when I flipped through the deck)

The deck is fantastically presented in a hard-cover, flip-top box (tarot distributors take note – independently produced, short run, and still under $30) with a cheery air hostess on the front and back. The scarlet, blue and white colour-scheme is classic Americana and rounds out the modern-retro style of the art.

The cards are larger than standard playing cards – yay! More art – printed in full colour on solid card stock, with a reversible back design (should you choose to do a reading covered in cheese sauce ;)) that mimics the box front. The illustrations are digital and I am most impressed with how seamlessly the artists have blended and matched their respective styles.

People who aren’t familiar with – or fans of – pin-up art might look at how the countries and women are depicted and see nothing but stereotypes, some even bordering on “insulting”, depending on how sensitive you are. This is another thing that’s difficult to explain: how to separate the humorous cheesecake from a sense of moral +/ feminist outrage over the exploitation of the female form. I guess it’s one of things you just have to work out for yourself. As someone who has done a little amateur pin-up modelling, I can honestly say I found it nothing but enjoyable and empowering. It is an an art form that is *all* about celebrating the woman’s body.

Then again, maybe I’m just a dirty perv ;)

Cuties from Japan, Greece and India by Bill Presing

More cuties here, here and here.

11 thoughts on “Not Tarot: 54 Intercontinental Cuties

  1. Magic Mentha says:

    p.s. that’s awesome that you did some pin-up. Now I’m so curious. I would secretly love to do that, but I am not comfortable enough in my body to do that I don’t think. Not sure…


    • submerina says:

      I was stiff and awkward to begin, because I really don’t see myself as cute or sexy, but then I just got into it and started posing posing posing. If you ever decide to go for it, do some research so that you sort of “brand” the ideas into your head. Look at books, websites and so on. And there are plenty of lady photogs if that would make you more comfortable. is a great place to start.

      I’m only a leetle teeny tiny bit fanatical about getting other women to experience it for themselves, because it was so transformative for me.


    • submerina says:

      There are sooo many places that stock modern pin-up stuff now; it’s great. There’s NOTHING a corset and a killer pair of heels can’t fix. Trust me :) If you look at the culture, it’s a lot more friendly towards diverse figures than most. Just a case of learning to see yourself in a new way.


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