The Portland Tarot
The Portland Tarot
A Portland artist is creating a Tarot deck that bridges old and new. It's subversive, whimsical and dangerously charming.
A Portland artist is creating a Tarot deck that bridges old and new. It's subversive, whimsical and dangerously charming. Read more
About this project
I am creating the Portland Tarot deck at a rate of a card per week, with the aim of completing all 78 cards by October 10, 2014, but I need your help to get there.
Each card is a stand-alone work of art, created through a process of blending original photography with digital collage to create crisp yet surreal images that visually and tonally evoke my adopted home town of Portland, Oregon.
While Portland is the inspiration for this quirky, character-driven and symbol-rich deck, you don’t have to live here to resonate with the energy of this place or to appreciate it as a backdrop for Tarot.
In addition to the unique visual slant of the art, my goal is to create a final deck package that is beautiful and well-designed. I'm KEEPING IT LOCAL and printing the deck in Portland, Oregon.
The key design elements of the finished deck I will be printing next year:
The cards will be a bit larger than average (3" x 4.75"), allowing for more image while being easy to shuffle
The card stock will be thick enough for lasting use and has a nice smooth texture with a matte coating to prevent glare
The deck will come with a 100 page booklet
The deck and booklet will come packaged in a beautifully-constructed box with a velvety-soft finish
The whole thing will be printed locally in Portland, Oregon where I can personally assure the high standards of the finished product
Making a deck is a massive undertaking, but I’m ready! I’ve completed 10 cards to date, collected a large repository of landmark and accent photos, and have finished studio shoots for subjects from 16 cards. But I have a lot of work ahead of me to complete the remaining 68 cards that comprise a standard 78 card Tarot deck.
Priority One: Print a minimum of 2,500 decks locally and sustainably (including interpretation booklet and box)
Priority Two: Get the funds I need for incidental expenses that I come across in creating the art and getting the deck out into the world (equipment, props, costumes, promotion, etc.)
With your backing I can get at least 2,500 of the finished decks printed and can have a fund at the ready for all the costs I will incur during the creation of the artwork.
Each piece takes an average of 40 hours to complete (including photographing my subjects, collecting background photography, and putting together the final illustration) and costs me an average of $50 in various photo shoot expenses.
I'm running a Kickstarter now because I need funding to finish making the art (overhead only, NOT for my own time) and I'd rather spend my time making art instead of later running a second Kickstarter to fund the printing. Efficiency!
If you want to learn more about my approach, check out The Lovers card process.
To get more info about the project and see all the art I’ve completed so far, go to the official web site for The Portland Tarot.
Death represents rebirth, regeneration, and shedding of the old. The subject, Brooke, had a strong connection with the Death card and suggested the day of the dead candy skull makeup. (It's a pretty popular costume choice in Portland for Halloween.) Behind her is the Vista Bridge. I chose to take a colorful, hopeful take on the card in effort to buck the trend of seeing this card as dark and frightening.
This is The Chariot, starring my good friend, Tarot muse, and frequent collaborator Cynthia Lopez. (She made my Kickstarter video!) This is the illustration that started this whole project. If you're curious to know more, it's a great story, and you can read it on The Portland Tarot web site.
This in-progress card stars my good friend and mentor Lee Moyer. He is a powerhouse of creativity and manifestation in his own right, and it seems even more fitting to have him in the Magician card with a deck of the Portland Tarot within the image, since he is part of the mojo helping bring this deck into the 3D world.
This card features derby player Juvie Hall, with a dual scene incorporating the Hollywood Theatre and the Japanese Gardens, showing the tension between the energy of reaching to express our true self and passion in a world where we are expected to perform.
In a Portland Tarot deck, well, the World is actually Portland itself. And since Portlandia (the statue) had so many similarities with The World card, I thought it fitting for this card to be an homage to the statue. Springtime is the period in our city when everything seems right with the world, and so I chose a wreath of cherry blossoms instead of the usual laurel.
Here are some questions I'd ask if I were in your shoes...
78 pieces of artwork? Is she going to actually finish it?
There is nothing I’ve wanted more than to create a Tarot deck. I’ve had a blast so far, and with all the support I’ve received, there’s no way I will back down!!! I am 100% committed. So, the answer to that question is a resounding, “Yes.” The bigger question is, are you going to join me on my journey? I hope so.
Do I need to know or care about Portland to enjoy the final deck?
No! In fact, I am doing my utmost to make sure the deck appeals to a general audience. The city is my muse, but you don’t have to know it to find meaning and enjoyment from the deck itself. The symbols and imagery within will be universal, if more quirky and subversive than a more traditional deck.
I've funded other deck projects on Kickstarter. Isn't your target budget a bit high?
I realize that I have a higher-than-average target compared to most other card decks funded on Kickstarter, but my parameters are also different than many of them. Between the magnitude of the project (including up-front costs to completing the artwork), the added cost of printing locally (instead of overseas, where most deck companies go), and choosing a printing route of a higher quality, it will take a chunk of change to pull it off. After researching more affordable routes in printing, I strongly believe that taking the high road is the way to go.
There is currently no extra room in my budget to put money in my own pocket. Every dollar in my target goal goes straight back into the project.
The Made in Portlandia “Arts’n’Crafts” Upgraded Deck
This Kickstarter-only limited edition deck will be custom-printed on a nicer stock, at a slightly larger size than the standard deck. The box will be decorated by myself or another local Portland artist and finished by me. These decks will be numbered and each one is going to be a totally unique piece of art.
Posing as a Card Subject
Many of the people who have posed for cards so far have revealed that their participation proved to be a powerful experience, during and after.
I am very deliberate about who I collaborate with as a subject for each card, and the person I cast must fit the card’s meaning in some way, either in their personal story, or in the person they are actively working to become. For some of my models the card they posed for served as a totem for them, setting the tone for their chosen inner and outer journeys at the time.
If you are feeling called to partake of this reward, then I know in my bones you are meant to be in this deck. I am eagerly anticipating getting to know you!
If you choose to claim this reward level, we will schedule a call or meeting so I can get to know your story and more about your current inner and outer journey. I’ll get a sense of your likes and dislikes, working to understand you and your personal style. (This is something I am highly regarded for in my business, as clients often claim I have a special knack for deeply listening and “getting” who they truly are and what they are reaching for.)
From there, I will choose a potential card or two for you from those that I have yet to illustrate, on which you will have an opportunity to give approval. I’ll pitch my suggested design direction to you, but you will also have the opportunity to contribute your own input and insights. Every card I create is a collaborative process between me and my subject. Whatever meditations you bring to the table about the chosen card will flavor what I create.
Then we’ll make plans for the photo shoot, including makeup and hair. You’ll have a luxurious and fun half day of art play in my studio, from which you’ll get a couple of outtake images that you’ll be free to use however you like, within a couple of days after the shoot.
When the illustration is completed, you’ll get a framed and signed 14" x 20" metallic print of the artwork that you can hang up at home, as well as twenty 5" x 7"s of your finished piece to hand out to friends and family.
The entire process is guided by intuition and creative play, and your presence will forever be enjoyed in readings worldwide. Plus you’ll have the beautiful satisfaction of knowing you supported an artist in creating something truly special that will live on for future generations.
High-End Fine Art Deck and Carved Box
This is a special offering for high-level “patron saint” contributors for this project. This one-of-a-kind offering includes higher-quality print, large art cards — each hand-signed by me. I will work closely with the local marionette artist Geahk Burchill of CastIron Carousel to design a unique wooden box that he will then hand carve. You may also opt to include a symbol in the carving that is of personal significance to you. In addition to the custom deck and box, you will receive a framed and signed 14" x 20" metallic print of your choosing.
Rewards That May Require Travel
For folks taking advantage of the Tarot Night or Posing as Deck Subject rewards, it is not out of the question to request that I travel to you. However, in most cases I will not be able to cover this cost out of my own pocket, and we will have to discuss arrangements before you make your pledge. Contact me to discuss your particular circumstances, and we can go from there. (In the case of the Posing reward, I request that you come to my studio so we can make use of my equipment there, but if you are passionate about being a participant and travel is not possible for you, I am willing to find a way to accommodate.)
I am a self-employed graphic designer, web developer, and business consultant, and have been managing my own successful design and development business for nearly seven years. I moved from Mississippi to Portland in 2002.
Since I started reading Tarot in 2008, I’ve wanted to make my own Tarot deck, with ideas for styles, imagery, and specific card slants that could meet the needs I had begun to crave in a deck for myself.
I bring a huge reservoir of experience to this project, between my own design and Tarot experience and the incredible support of my various team members.
If you want to know more about my Kickstarter video or the other people who made this Kickstarter possible, I posted credits on The Portland Tarot website.
Risks and challenges
Potential creation delays: There is a possibility that, due to specific constraints around my style for acquiring source images, the deck art will not be completed by my estimated due date. I have done my best to give a realistic timeline, and feel that a card a week (barring additional financial support that might allow for more) is a realistic assessment of what I can do within my current workload, especially if I front load as many of the photo shoots as I can.
Potential printing delays: I already have an established relationship with a local printer of my choice and we have done the beginning work of pre-planning all the physical details for the final product, so I don’t anticipate any surprises here. We will remain in close contact over the course of the project and I will get on their schedule far in advance, sorting out any remaining questions well before I am ready to print.
Potential surprises on ownership that affect images: The only other potential risk that I can foresee is running into a situation where I create a card that has some ownership issue of which I am not aware, and I end up having to recreate the card art at an inconvenient time. For each piece I make I carefully review rights concerns, ask the appropriate permission, and try to make sure there are no specific usage fees on images. (As a specific example, when I began to embark on a card for which I wanted to use the classic “Welcome to Portland” stag sign, I discovered the city had recently begun charging a moderate fee for usage of that image in photos and illustrations. While I am happy to pay this, I might run into situations less documented and more costly that would require me to go back to the drawing board after having begun work on a piece.) Having said that, because my in-progress work is so public (allowing for commentary from other informed parties) and I am so dedicated to researching permissions concerns (which includes access to legal aide), I don’t anticipate this being a major roadblock to timely completion.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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