Shadowscapes Tarot Artist Notes

During the creation of Shadowscapes Tarot, the Major Arcana was easy to create, in terms of imagery and motivation. The archetypes of the Majors are enticing to any artist, imbued as they are with the collective subconscious of meaning, and familiar to even those who know little or nothing of Tarot. “Death,” “The Tower,” “The Empress”…each of these conjures a host of ready visual associations and metaphors just from hearing the name alone.

The Minor Arcana was much harder. A number and a suit: how to create meaning from something that seems random? How to motivate myself artistically to not hold back, but to pour everything I have within me into each card? It would be a shame to have created a body of work I was proud of in the Major Arcana, and then to fall short when coming to the rest of the deck.

Ace of SwordsI decided on one thing immediately. Just as I had done with the Major Arcana, I would proceed with the cards in order. Aces first, twos, threes, etc. By not allowing myself to skip ahead to what might be perceived as the “fun” images, I forced my mind to look into each card to find the meaning in it, to seek out its unique beauty, and to determine how it intersected with my life experiences and personal symbology.

After having come to this decision, I was surprised at how well it worked. I suppose that should not have been unexpected, for the popularity of the tarot and the fact that it has lasted and is so ageless is because the meanings of the cards span the whole of the human experience. If a single card is isolated, and one digs deep enough into the soul, there is bound to be some connection that one finds to what that card signifies. As a result, the journey of creating the deck felt like an extended exercise in meditation, spanning the four and a half years it took to complete the project.

At times during the journey, it felt like purest synchronicity the way inspiration would present itself as I approached a card. Or perhaps it was as I have said: that the connections are all there in our lives, only needing the moment of meditation to comprehend how that puzzle piece fits into the weaving. These links always exist, but they are not recognized as such until they are actively searched for. [Read more…]