Tuesday, April 22, 2014

The Seven of Cups

Although this card was "done" at least a couple of weeks ago, I made a slight addition to it just last night and now I am much happier. It's just one indication of how a design and a deck grows and changes in the making. Sometimes your thoughts take a while to catch up.

In this case, the element in question is the standing sign in the lower left, a generic cartoon mouse obviously cribbed from a mouse of greater celebrity. Copyright infringements of various sorts were very common in fairground signage throughout the mid-20th century. This piece is from my mother's former collection of antiques, art and toys, and is an actual fairground sign used at the entrance to a ride of some sort. It's made of painted wood, and shown on the card in more or less actual size in relation to the little boy. Touches like this always please me and make the cards feel that much more personal... to have something in the image that I actually lived with, once upon a time. This happens more often than I talk about here.

Now as to the card itself: I must say I'm pretty pleased with myself about the idea behind this one, about the way it parts with tradition but still gets the theme right. The PCS version shows a silhouetted man having a cloudy vision of cups -- each one filled with some kind of object of desire or feeling. There were lots of ways I could have gone with this. But especially in the late 19th century and early 20th, whenever the circus was coming to your town the billposters would precede it, and when their work was done nearly every flat surface in your town would be covered with gaudy imagery promising wonders undreamed of. For a lot of kids, those wonders were beyond their means. For a lot of black kids, the way would have been barred whether they had the money or not. All that was left to them was to look upon the promises, and dream.

Speaking of changes to be made, I'm pretty much certain now that I want to rework my six of cups with a completely different design from the one I posted here a few weeks ago. I was never particularly happy with it, and now a vintage image has come to me that lends itself at least as well to the card as the one I used, but also picks up on a common thread running through the suit. I'm also thinking that the card back needs a new design, if for no other reason than to differentiate the full deck than the Majors version available now. We'll see about that one... card back designs are tough.

Onward! I am now well over halfway through what it takes to make this deck happen, my file folder for the deck contains many more completed cards than empty ones. This is a good feeling, and one I haven't felt since I was near to completing the majors. I've even contacted the printer about the final production, but haven't heard back from them yet...

Next up: More Queens.

-- Freder.