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The Urban Tarot Deck is an illustration series that is nearly 10 years in the making. It is about magic, truth and the city.
The Urban Tarot Deck is an illustration series that is nearly 10 years in the making. It is about magic, truth and the city.
346 backers pledged $33,595 to help bring this project to life.

Four and Six of Wands

Little behind schedule on this update, but some more good progress this week. I was banging my head against the 5 of Wands for a bit... I had an idea, but couldn't quite decide how to approach it. But I've got that sorted out now - I just need to shoot some model reference for it. I've got that shoot scheduled for next week. Meanwhile, I'm gonna skip past it and move on with the Wands.

The Four of Wands

This card was distinctly my wife's idea, and a rather timely one for the season. It's graduation day at Columbia University. The robes are in Columbia blue, and the statue behind them is the bronze sculpture of Alma Mater, who sits on the steps in front of the Low Library. If you look closely, there are torches on either side of her throne representing Sapientia (Wisdom) and Doctrina (Teaching).

The Four of Wands is about the end of a job well done, an intellectual effort carried out to completion and the achievement of a greater level of understanding. It is also in a sense, only a stepping stone towards later cards in the suit of fire - like graduation, it is as much a beginning as it is an end.

The Six of Wands

Skipping over the Five (Strife) for now, the Six is called Victory. More than the simple and easier Completion in the Four, Six represents the end of a hard-won struggle. The Four has not seen trouble, has not yet had to face opposition. The Six has met that opposition head on and has come out proudly on top.

I felt the NYC Marathon was a good match with this card - a long, grueling race with a clear finish line at the end. The figure is based specifically on Derartu Tulu who became the first Ethiopian woman to win the marathon back in 2009. The card's colors are incidentally inspired by the Ethiopian flag. The actual ribbon she broke had the ING logo across it, since they sponsor the event, but I naturally didn't want to include that. However the logo does have a lion in it, which reminded me that this card is coincidentally associated with the sign for Leo. So I created a pattern using that Zodiac symbol across the ribbon. 

The particularly observant NY'ers may note that the marathon crosses the Verazano-Narrows bridge at the very beginning, rather than at the end of the 26-mile route. This is totally true, but I really loved the image of the bridge in the background, and the tree-lined road of Central Park wouldn't have had the right feel at all.

  • Image 123699 original
  • Image 123700 original


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    1. Missing avatar

      Zachary Bishop on June 7, 2012

      The four of wands looks absolutely stunning. The color and texture choices just seem to fit so well together. Keep up the great work!