A lot of work since my last update - I'm finally at the point at which I've got a pretty solid plan for the remaining cards in the set. With the completion of the Emperor, I have only 14 cards still to complete out of the 78-card set, and I've already done photo shoots for four of them. I have the last two photo shoots for my top-tier backers coming up in October, and I'm excited to get to them. As I walk around NY now, it is with a little bit of regret, because now that I know everything that I'm planning to depict with the remaining cards, I also am aware of all of the cool buildings and neighborhoods and statues around the city that won't ultimately make it onto a card.
This is among the most straightforward of the trumps when it comes to meaning. The Emperor represents law and order, the safety of social structure and the power of government. He can be good or bad, a tyrant or a noble guardian, depending on the circumstances. But ultimately, the emperor is Father, and has all of the associations with the paternal role just as the Empress is Mother and the representation of maternal power. In the context of the city and my tarot, the Emperor is the mayor of New York.
I had my father pose for this card, in what I imagined as a combination of our mayor Michael Bloomberg, Winston Churchill, and Balon Greyjoy (a reference that only fans of Game of Thrones are going to understand). I see him standing proudly on the East River, giving a speech under the shadow of the Brooklyn Bridge in the midst of Hurricane Sandy's pummeling stormfront, refusing resolutely to surrender to mother nature's fury.
My father, Elliot Grossman, is in reality pretty far from the stone-faced lord of the city I portrayed him as here - the hardest part of the photo shoot was getting him to stop being goofy long enough to get a serious expression. I asked him to read sections of Churchill's speeches from 1940 while gesturing forcefully to get him in the right frame of mind:
Shooting the Cups
I've done a couple of photo shoots this past week for the minor cards of the suit of cups. The next card I'll be working on will be the two, subtitled "Love". Adorable married friends Dev Purkayastha and Laura Simpson posed on request for me at the local Starbucks:
Assembling the Spreadcloths
A large box has recently arrived to my apartment from Spoonflower, containing 100 yards of printed cotton silk fabric, with my subway-inspired spreadcloth design printed 300 times across it. My amazing wife Amy (who you can see being an invaluable assistance in both of the above photo shoots; not to mention every other part of this project) has taken on the task of turning that into 300 finished spreadcloths, stitched around all four edges and attached to a purple fabric backing. Expect some progress shots of that as we get underway on that soon.