Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Three Revisions, Three Reveals

It might not be technically correct to call this one a "revision," since you haven't seen it yet. But it's been in my "done" pile for weeks now. And yet, every time I looked at it or nearly posted it here, my heart sank. I didn't like it. There was nothing wrong with the idea behind it, IMHO, but the execution left something to be desired. Last night, fed up with looking at it, I pounced on it again, tore it apart, and resumed almost from scratch. The colors were not right. The background was all wrong. Even the stone wall that the lady was leaning upon had to go. 

The original version features a kind of country estate in the background, exactly in the manor of the RWS version of this card. It just wasn't right for the deck: now my lady of the 9 of cups is the master of her own sideshow attractions. Being the owner as well as the star has earned her much in the way of material comfort. She has an air of authority now that she did not have before.

In Pamela Colman Smith's original design of this card, the lady's dress features a flower pattern: and the flowers are subliminal representations of the planetary symbol Venus. Here, I think the connection is even more subtle and subliminal, but it's there.

The Tilt-A Whirl ticket box (which implies that the lady's empire extends beyond the Freak Show) is from my mother's ex-collection of cultural artifacts, and used to live in the sitting room of her home.

Now, on to a revision of a card you have seen before:

The original version of this one is posted elsewhere on the site, and if you track it down I think you will agree that the new version above is a marked improvement: less garish, less crude, more detailed, and with the correct combination of colors. But for the lack of a complete array of cups (or buckets) it's an almost slavish iteration of RWS. Although I'm still not convinced that I shouldn't just scrap it and take the card in a completely different direction, I'm at least not humiliated any more by this design's original ugliness.

And now for one more revision, and it's a big one:

The new card back

I liked the original design, but for the purposes of a full deck I had to admit that it was too busy. I was  also on the lookout for more ways (other than a different DEVIL card) to differentiate the full deck from the Majors deck -- the latter of which is still available, by the way, limited to its first and only run of 300 copies.

This will be the card back going forward with the full deck. It evokes both the circus and the tarot, emphasizes the alchemical nature that the circus has in common with tarot, and is a good deal more subtle. If you like the old version, all I can say is Get It While You Can. 

Thanks for visiting!

-- Freder