Thank you so much for participating in this interview with Tarot Stack for self-published Tarot artists. We received the Zeke's Arcana Tarot deck and wondered how you came up with such a unique art style that is so well blended in.
- We're just blown away by the artwork on this Indie deck. At first glance, the characters seem non-human and alien, but you've pulled it all together so well. We'd love to know what challenges you faced in creating your tarot deck’s artwork from this almost alien world?
I’ve been painting other worldly women and creatures as my signature for around 10 years or so now, so the transition to flesh out these characters was pretty seamless. I wanted an excuse to really see the diversity of characters and see the full potential of what this universe could look like. One challenge I faced was editing down concepts to make sure it all looked coherent. But the biggest challenge I tackled was the sheer amount of cards that needed to be made as well as merge the tradition of tarot into my style.
I had to transition my whole art identity to be about tarot for a few years just to get the project done. I documented the whole process for years on my YouTube channel, so the audience really got an intensive look into how the sausage was made, so to speak. It was quite a commitment!
- Would you mind telling us what specific cards mean to you? – The Patron and The Moon.
Of course! The Patron is a card that’s dedicated to the YouTube community who have been with me to see the whole journey through. Since we ran a Kickstarter to fund the deck, the audience or “patrons” have been an integral part of getting this deck made. This card is to honor them with a mirror reflecting each person who made this dream come true.
The Moon was a really fun card to make, I wanted to be fairly faithful to the original Rider-Waite card so a lot of elements were taken from that card but with a remix of sorts. The wolf, dog and crustacean are all apparent, as well as the towers. I’ve really just taken those elements and popped them in a blender to get a surreal dream-like quality.
- There are characters from different worlds, cultures, and backgrounds in the artwork. The "Ganesha" in The Sun card, for instance, caught my attention right away. When it comes to personal growth or spiritual exploration, how would you recommend using your tarot deck?
Oh definitely, I’m biased of course but the feedback has been beyond glowing as the audience has mentioned. Many people have found the deck to have a very playful energy.
I went on a very personal growth journey as both an artist and person making this deck. This deck not only pushed my technical skills but forced me to learn so much about cultures, connections throughout history and how symbolism is a powerful tool that spans across borders. I was aiming for a very globalized ethos for the deck, and I’m hoping that reads in the final result.
- In what ways does your deck fit into the larger landscape of tarot decks, and what benefits does it offer over more traditional decks?
I feel that this deck is super unique to the tarot-sphere without being too alienating. Although there's a handful of pink decks on the market, I think Zeke’s Arcana is the only one that’s unapologetically pink and feminine. The science-fiction twist is really what pushes it out of this world all while still being rooted in honoring the traditions of tarot.
Interview with Julia Rich | Zeke's Lunchbox.