you know, as a visual artist, I tend to despise verbally explaining myself. I, for some reason feel like the idea of the piece should be apparent, which is kind of foolish.
The idea of writing the book to accompany my tarot cards has been frightening me for weeks now. I kept putting it off and thinking to myself "I'm not a writer!! it's going to suck!!"
Well after finally talking myself into devoting real time to it this week I've realized something about myself.
1. I am a storyteller
2. Even though it's been years since I have given readings, I'm still very good at it.
I am a storyteller, I LOVE to explain the meaning behind my cards to people and the history behind them. I love to tell other people about a person in the pasts' struggles and triumphs. I love American underbelly history and folklore and become very excited when someone asks me "hey what happened to that person" and I know the answer. My story telling methods I can thank my dad for. He is a very captivating story teller and no matter how many times I hear them, I always love hearing one again. I have adopted a lot of his characteristics when I tell my stories. What more is writing the story of each card down than story telling? Hang on, I got this :)
I'm good at giving readings. I used to do it all the time and I enjoy connecting with people and helping them through their problems. I love the look of epiphany on a person's face when they realize something they hadn't before during a reading. It's a great time in someone's life and I get to share it for a moment and maybe even contribute. How awesome is that? Which is one of the reasons, when this deck is done. I'll be offering my assistance with the deck by booking as many readings as possible with my very own deck! Also it seems to come kind of natural to me, something else takes over in a sense and I feel like it's something I'm meant to do more.
With these 2 factors I have a book! and it's mostly done too. As you can probably tell, from my blogs, I'm the queen of fragmented sentences and grammatical errors though. So thankfully my mom is going to help me edit the book and with her vast Tarot knowledge she can also offer some suggestions on my interpretations of each card.
Here is an example of my interpretation of one card in particular , pre mom edit. Hope it gives an idea of the road I am taking this deck down :) It's kind of eerie, how I went down one road with this card and wasn't sure why until I did more research. The Hanged Man, I chose to portray a Lincoln Conspirator and wasn't sure why other than I wanted an outlaw and this man's final photograph is one of the most haunting pictures I have ever see., even though it wasn't really relevant to the meaning of the card, or so I thought. Turns out in Italy this card was also referred to as "The Traitor" because it was common to hang traitors up by their ankles, painful and humiliating I'm sure. Kind of spooky, and it keeps happening with each card! Anyway, Hope you like it! :) feedback is encouraged, positive or negative.
The Hanged Man XII
Lewis Payne or Powell was a lesser known Lincoln Conspirator. His main crime was an unsuccessful attempt to assassinate the secretary of state. After Powell was arrested, detained on a military vessel and photographed, he was executed by hanging. His neck was so strong that he hung for 5 minutes before finally dying. This card in Italy was often referred to as Il Traditore (The Traitor) where at the time it was a common punishment to hang traitors by their feet.
Although the meaning of this card has changed over the years there continues to be a positive way and a negative way to approach the predicament of hanging upside down without the safety and comfort of gravity. Upright this card refers to a sacrifice and surrender of control. Accept that surrendering to the things you cannot change can sometimes be very liberating. Reversed this card represents confusion and a false calling. Sometimes when you have your blinders on or are upside down for example, it’s hard to see things outside of yourself and the big picture. Instead of being baffled by your loss of footing try to go with the flow of change.
I'm not entirely sure if the Gibson Girl was supposed to be the type of New York girl that spent her summers in Newport, R.I. but it certainly looks like she was. While I was there just a couple of weeks ago staring at where the Newport Boardwalk used to be, I could definitely picture her sunning what little skin she was showing and bits of sand blowing into her knarled hair.
I found Newport even more facinating than I thought I would. It was like a walk through history, but a long one! a 3 day vacation in the past, which if anyone knows anything about me, well you will know that is a slice of heaven for me :) Our hotel sat across from the cliffside mansions and where the boardwalk USED to be, that is before it washed away in a hurricane. I really wish it was still there though, I love old fashioned American boardwalks, the pictures that were up in the hallways though helped to picture it a little.
Now for the mansions. Yes I absolutely loved them, obviously, but found a few things about them particularly interesting. When I was a teenager a friend's family took me to Paris and Versailles, so honestly I feel like I've seen this royal french palace look before, but not this way exactly. First of all it was sea side homes, so there were a lot of sea lore related pieces and colors, like cream, mint and navy blue. Second these houses were built more than a century after Marie Antoinette's head was chopped off, by railroad tycoons and the rest of the united states most overly lavish, under taxed 1%. ;) (yes, look at the date on this blog, we're in the middle of occupy wall street) In a land where industry and democracy made all this possible for these families, not royal blood, it's kind of ironic that they seemed so taken with the reign of Louis XVI , even going as far as to put potraits of him up in their house. I think sarcasm and irony were just not something that these people understood. Apparently Mark Twain (who lived in a much more modest home, trust me I've been there) called this era the "gilded age" and meant it as an insult. Instead of being taken for what it meant the rich adopted it and refferred to themself as such from then on. So like I said, maybe they just didn't examine the irony much.
"To gild refined gold, to paint the lily... is wasteful and ridiculous excess."
I think the thing I found more beautiful than the mansions themselves was the decline of the homes. Again if you know me, you'll know that I find neglect and decay facinating. After WWII people most especially thought of these houses as "white elephants" which I can see why they were reffered to as such with all the far more important things going on in the world at the time. So they sat, empty and aging. That I would have liked to see :) apparently a pipe burst in a mansion called the "marble house" and froze large sheets of ice one winter across the all marble staircase. That really paints a picture in my mind. It's just the kind of Americana story that inspires my artwork, the ghosts of extravagant lifestyles haunting an abandoned property. :) It was a really fun adventure and I'm grateful that I got to go. I don't know how I got so lucky but it's pretty likely I'll be spending the later part of November fullfilling a long time dream...floating around a swamp in Louisiana.
A quick note on the tarot deck to finish this blog. :) I will be opening it up for pre sale on etsy November 1st. If you want to order ahead of time you'll give me an idea of how many I'm going to need before the Holidays hit hard :) and it makes sure you have one early December. You can either pick it up or
Hope everyone has a kick ass Halloween :)
With the pressure of trying to create and compile 40ish new pieces by a certain time and make each and every one thought provoking, disturbing and complex ta boot, I sometimes need a day of creativity that is about the simple pleasures in life and slows my pace a little. Yesterday I got one. I headed to the farmer's market with my dude and was instantly more calm and clear. Klezmer music playing, cute dogs all over the place and some beautiful food and wares. It doesn't take much for me. I think I'll be making a habit of this every Sunday and hopefully taking more time to tell the vendors what's I'm doing and write down business names. I only remember 2 business names, they are in the slide show captions
Here are a few photos of the things we picked up at the Ballard market yesterday.
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