View single post by OnePotato
 Posted: Fri Apr 8th, 2011 06:09 pm
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Joined: Sun Sep 9th, 2007
Location: USA
Posts: 325
Hello LolitaPenguin.

Well, I think it's a fantastic project.

I think the first question to ask is whether it is actually necessary for the audience to recognize and understand all of your symbolic associations simply by looking at your work.

Is your work intended to be primarily creative, or interpretive?

If you want your work to be instantly recognizable and understandable as a traditional tarot deck, then I see it as interpretive. Someone from long ago has established the narrative content, and you are simply illustrating it in your own stylized interpretation. Most of the commercial tarot decks you see today fall somewhere under this heading. Essentially, it is an illustration job.

This is not the only way for an artist to work.

If you want to create a more-or-less new translation of the traditional concept, where the earlier narrative is reinterpreted through one of your own creation, then your emphasis is on creativity. The traditional narrative is replaced by a new one of your own that has evolved from it, perhaps retaining the traditional root concepts, or some other particular aspects, as determined by you. Essentially, this is a design project, and will likely require a bit more effort. Tarot decks like this are relatively fewer than the interpretive ones these days, and more often tend to be artist-produced. Personally, I often find them to offer a much more interesting and rewarding experience.

(Aside: I am not talking about a "literary" narrative here. It may very well be incorporated into a non-verbal "visual language", as in a painting. The point is that it was established in an earlier deck design.)

Obviously, this is all really a matter of degree. Neither "option" is all or nothing. But I believe it will help you to better define your objective, and thus make it easier to work toward it.

If you are trying to create a work that is familiar to "tarot people", and intended for "use" by them, (as card readers) I think you will need to concentrate on making some of your images more instantly recognizable, and that you may need to offer more familiar signals to the viewer, and probably explain your rationale externally. (Presumably in writing.) Your job is essentially to present the traditional concepts clearly and accurately, along with some additional "visual comment" of your own.

If you are in fact trying to express your own vision of the traditional archetypes of the tarot, and thus create a new kind of viewer experience, then you are of course free to decide which aspects of the traditional tarot concepts you wish to tie in to, and how important it is for the viewer to be able to consciously recognize these links. For example, the choice of animals to use on a given card is yours to make, and the viewer is free to try to decipher your intention or not. Some viewers will see your point, others will not. Does it really matter if they get all of them "right", or in some cases don't "get it" at all? Is the visual interest of the imagery enough of a statement in and of itself? This is conceptual art. Your focus is your own, and your audience is free to follow you or not. Just because you do not focus on presenting the familiar aspects of the tarot, does not make your work in any way invalid.

Realistically, I expect you might like to find a comfortable point of balance between these two aspects, and work toward reaching it.

I hope you find my comments useful.

Again, I think this is refreshing, fantastic work, and I eagerly look forward to watching your progress.

Good Luck!


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