Native Art Playing Cards
The oldest surviving artifact of Northwest Coast Native design is seen on a piece of wood from over 2000 years ago. We (Northwest Coast Indigenous people) have been developing and exploring this artform for centuries. I chose to feature this style of design (called formline) on modern day playing cards.
I made these cards to represent our living art of the Northwest coast: its adaptability, resilience, and quality. They represent the flexibility of our art to adapt to new terrain, and the modern presence of traditional formline art.
These cards will be distributed through my personal business: Trickster Company. I started Trickster Co. with the same goals as this deck of cards: to represent authentic, Native art in contemporary and vivid ways.
Northwest Coast Art Design
The study of formline design is rigorous. A constant balance of positive and negative space. I was fortunate to grow up surrounded by the art, and to be raised with great inspiration and great teachers. My aunts and uncles, my parents and siblings - they all continuously exposed me to an abundant amount of art, and provided me many opportunities and critiques. I thank them all for their love and support.
These cards feature customary Tlingit (a Northwest Coast tribe) art, with a nod to some design traditions of playing cards. They will be made by the U.S. Playing Card Company to capture the quality and style that makes a deck of cards enjoyable to handle. The colors are traditional Tlingit colors, but use the red is closer to the one traditionally found on playing cards. Designs also feature characteristic details such as the suicide/assassinated King, the one-eyed Jack, etc.
This project turned out to be a great test of my formline design abilities. The repetition of creating the human figure in so many distinct ways forced me to explore the options presented by the form. I am proud of the designs that were created and hope you enjoy them.
Each face card was hand-drawn using traditional Northwest Coast formline design, vectorized line-by-line in Adobe Illustrator, and will be printed on Bicycle grade paper by the United States Playing Card Company.
I have spent 3-5 hours each night after my day job since January studying playing cards, then hand-drawing formline versions inspired by each card. I then scanned them into my laptop and hand-vectorized each design to ensure that the lines would be true to formline rules when printed. Click here to view all the designs up close!
I need your support!
Getting a run of cards printed at USPCC requires a minimum order of 2,500 cards. That's a big order! But, with your support, we can make this deck happen together.
Let me give you cool stuff! Card decks, t-shirts, prints, artist's proofs, skateboards, and gambling sticks.
The Deck (artist's proof pics):
If you choose a reward including the card print you will get to choose any face card, the ace of spades, or the back of the deck to receive an 8"x10" signed, limited edition giclée print. To see designs up close please visit my website here.
This custom-designed brick box holds 12 decks of cards and converts into an aesthetic display box.
Ace of Spades T-Shirts:
Choose a black tee or a white tee, size youth large up to 3xl.
Gambling Sticks (50):
“Games of chance have long been popular on the Northwest Coast. Several different types of games were played, including; hand and stick games involving an opponent guessing where a specially marked stick, disc or bone was located. These games were played by men for very high stakes. Counters were used to keep score. It was believed supernatural powers could affect the outcome of a game, therefore ritual preparations for games were important. Hand games were introduced to the northern areas from around the south, where they remain popular today.” -University of British Columbia Museum of Anthropology
These handmade, hand-painted sticks have been designed to be potentially used as poker chips. 1 mark equals 5, 2 marks equals 25, 3 marks equals 50, and 4 marks equals 100. The carrying case is hand-sewn, made of deer hide and abalone.
Hand-Painted Trickster Skateboard:
$9,000 [ACCOMPLISHED] - I will design the remaining ace cards (hearts, spades, and clubs) in the same formline fashion as the Ace of Spades!
$12,000 [ACCOMPLISHED] - A second deck of cards with Tlingit language instead of numerals will become available!
Risks and challenges
The major challenge in this project is a slightly longer than average shipping time to and from Alaska. Thank you for your patience!Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (23 days)