What do fantasy art legends Jasmine Becket-Griffith, Amy Brown, Stephanie Pui-Mun Law, Selina Fenech, and Larry Elmore have in common? They’re all contributors to a global art collaboration involving the efforts of over 80 artists representing 15 countries. A Tarot deck that is currently being funded through a Kickstarter campaign, making waves and reaching 50% of their funding in less than one day.
Meeting in a secret Facebook group, the collective works hand-in-hand to develop their cards, adhering to traditional symbolism and meaning while still bringing a fresh fantasy perspective to the tarot community. Each artist is assigned one card to interpret through their art with only one rule; that the art be nautical in theme, a theme chosen by the project’s Kickstarter backers.
In 2014 the assembly of artists successfully Kickstarted their first deck, which was an artistic free-for-all where artists were encouraged to interpret traditional tarot cards in their own artistic style. The backers of that Kickstarter project were asked to vote for the theme of the next deck, to be released in 2015 via another Kickstarter campaign. The backers chose a nautical theme for the second deck, and the artists quickly set to work developing the imagery of their cards and forming a special bond as they discussed and admired each others work. The work spans the entire nautical realm, from sea monsters to pirates, mermaids to sea dragons, and every nautical critter in between.
“Every single artist this year absolutely nailed their card. The artworks are true masterpieces and we are so excited to introduce this to the tarot and art community, says founder and director Kayti Welsh.
Kayti, an artist herself, along with friend and art director Delphine Lévesque Demers, have carefully selected each of the 80 artists involved in this tarot project. Many of the artists original to the first deck have stayed on for the second deck, including Meredith Dillman, Carla Morrow, Jasmine Becket-Griffith, Tiffany Toland Scott, Larry Elmore, Jessica Douglas, and Natalia Pierandrei. New artists have also joined the project, including Selina Fenech, Amy Brown, Stephanie Pui-Mun Law, Stanley Morrison, Alexandra V Bach, and Pierre Carles, while hundreds of artists wait in the wings for a chance to join the increasingly prestigious troop of artists.
Many of the artists have known each other for years – their friendships span decades in some cases, and others have only just met through the 78 Tarot project. Whether new friends or old, the group has become more and more tight-knit as they have worked together for nearly 16 months to bring the 78 Tarot vision to life. Experienced artists mingle with emerging newcomers, giving each other constructive criticism and feedback to improve not only the individual cards, but each others artistic skills.
“We were very careful this time to stick to the traditional meaning, says artist and creator of the Temperance card, Tiffany Toland-Scott. Some of the symbolism goes back centuries, so it’s a little bit of a history lesson and an artistic challenge to incorporate these historical symbols or represent them in a new, nautical way.
Kayti and Delphine launched the 78 Tarot Nautical Kickstarter campaign May 18th to fund the printing of an Open Edition print run of tarot decks. The Kickstarter also features special limited edition perks such as boxed sets and hand-crafted items from the artists. Their first Kickstarter was a wild success, raising over almost $25,000 for the printing of their first deck. It was no doubt helped along by artist participation, including grab bags of prints and other small items donated by many of the artists involved, and videos created by the artists ranging from the serious to the absurd. 78 Tarot Nautical is already shaping up to be another huge artistic bash and is sure to be another special Kickstarter campaign.
The 78 Tarot artists are planning on a two-month exhibition in Seattle, Washington to finish up the 78 Tarot Nautical project. The 78 Tarot Nautical artwork will be on display at Eight and Sand Gallery starting December 12th, 2015, and running through January 2016 at Push/Pull, also in Seattle.
Artists interested in becoming a part of future 78 Tarot projects should send inquiries to [email protected].
Questions and comments about the 78 Tarot Nautical Kickstarter can also be sent to [email protected].