aiv21.jpg (29934 bytes)Artist's Inner Vision Tarot Deck -- Review by Michele Jackson 

This deck/book set is a collaborative effort by 26 artists. Many of the artists are from the rubber stamp community, but various mediums were used, including collage, pen & ink and painting. I have participated in several collaborative tarot art projects, and because you have people with a wide range of artistic skill levels, the art tends to be a bit uneven. There are usually a few really excellent cards, a few not so-good-cards, with most of the cards falling somewhere in between the two. This deck is different, in that the art is uniformly good. I like some cards better than others, but all of the cards are well done. The cards measure 3" X 4 3/4". The backs have a beautiful collage image and are not reversible. The Major Arcana have the traditional names. Justice is VIII and Strength is XI. The suits are Wands, Cups, Swords and Coins. The court consists of King, Queen, Prince and Princess.

This is primarily an art deck. Collage seems to be the medium of choice, usually with scissors, paper and rubber stamps, although some cards, like the Tower, were done digitally, via PhotoShop. A few were drawn (the Moon - colored pencil) or painted (High Priestess). Most do not depict traditional imagery, and very few resemble the work of Pamela Colman Smith. Most of the artists involved seem to have had little experience with Tarot and base their imagery on an interpretation of a meaning supplied to them. It makes for some interesting results. Some of my favorite cards are the Empress, the Tower and the World. I found the strangeness of the Hermit oddly appealing.  I like the bold style of the Three of Wands, and the imagery used in the Seven and King of Wands. While most of the cards bear no resemblance to the Waite deck or the Marseilles, the few that do are still quite interesting. Judgment and the Three of Swords are examples. Again, all of the art is good. The only ouch is that the cards seem to be a bit dark and have a reddish cast to them. This is probably due to the printing process.

The book that comes with this deck begins by describing how the deck was created. The goals of the book are described as providing basic card meanings, and relating those meanings to popular movies and television shows as an aid to memory and understanding. Some basic tarot information is provided, followed by a brief introduction to the Major Arcana. Each Major Arcana card has a section devoted to it. The section begins with a description of the image and how it relates to the card meaning. The description is followed by the card meaning. Most of the card meaning is devoted to the positive or neutral aspects of the card, but there is usually a brief section describing the negative aspects of the card. I say usually because all of the cards do not have this section. I don’t know if it was overlooked or if these cards are always positive. The card section closes with a comparison to a character in a movie or television show. This section may not resonate with everyone. I have watched a fair number of movies and television shows in my day, but there were a lot of movies/shows I had not seen.

The section on the Minor Arcana begins with a description of the suits. The sections for each card are in the same format as those for the Major Arcana. The author generally stuck with traditional meanings – no small task, since the art is usually quite different. In some cases, the artist’s intended meaning is different as well. However, the author nonetheless tried to keep things recognizable to those who are familiar with the Waite deck or the Golden Dawn meanings.

A short section on how to use the cards follows. Two spreads are provided – the Celtic Cross, and a five card spread. Biographies of the 26 artists are next – each did three cards and three stamps. In the last section of the book, the artists explain the techniques they used in creating their cards and the meaning they were trying to portray. The book is decorated throughout with rubber stamps designed by the artists involved in the project.

Overall, this set is very nice. You can tell the coordinator of the project wanted to put together a high quality product that would be beautiful to look at, but also usable and accessible to those who were not very familiar with the tarot. This is a tall order, which explains why most art decks are created solely with the intent of being good art. This deck succeeds better than most. However, some may find the varied art styles distracting. The deck comes in a drawstring bag that matches the book cover – a nice touch that belies the author’s artistic background. There is also an Exclusive Limited Edition that is signed by each of the artists. It comes with a lined pouch, some hand screened art and a hand-bound, hand stamped book. Those who ordered early also got a rubber stamp as a bonus.

You can see more cards at the NoMonet Website

The Artist’s Inner Vision Tarot Deck
ISBN: 0-9676804-0-9
Order from the Publisher: NoMonet Full Court Press

Excerpt

Nine of Wandsaiv9w.jpg (15776 bytes)

Life may look difficult, yet there is still strength and confidence to complete the tasks at hand. There is a reserve of energy and creativity to achieve goals. If we seek this extra spark within ourselves we find it; if we dig deep enough within out hearts we find in our hour of need we can do many things that we never knew we could.

The night may be dark and back, forbidding and endless; yet the energy of the Wands shines through, providing light and courage to see and guide us. This card speaks to us of the nine muses who inspire us and change us with their energies. These muses represent creative energy and the inspiration that is often said to come from the shadows and the changes of the moon.

Look within yourself and you will find the strength, courage, determination and abilities to go the distance on a project, reach a goal, or finalize a commitment. The energy is there for you to tap into when you need it most.

The negative of this card would be an internal barrier erected to prevent you tapping into your potential to overcome adversities. Look within to discover hidden motivations, unrealistic perceptions and suspicions.

In the movie Broadcast news a broadcaster, Tom Grunick, has the looks mannerisms and speech for the job, but not the experience and the timing and flow that he has to learn. He had to cross that bridge to become a better broadcaster, which reflects a Nine of Wands life lesson."

pg. 79 - 80

Images and text Copyright© 1999  NoMonet Full Court Press



Review Copyright © 1999 by Michele Jackson
Page Copyright 2000 by Diane Wilkes