The PoMo (Post Modern) Tarot by Brian Williams

This deck was drawn by the same artist who produced the Renaissance Tarot Deck. The style is very different however. While the Renaissance deck is finely detailed and colored, the PoMo deck was done in line drawings that were colored in. It looks more like scribbling from a sketch book, than art. Both the deck and its accompanying book have a tongue-in-cheek flavor. There have been radical changes in the Major Arcana, though you get the feeling Williams was trying to stay within some type of boundary as far as interpretation. The Majors are:

Some of the Majors are based on paintings,such as Mona for The High Priestess (Mona Lisa) , but most appear to have been drawn specifically for the deck by Williams. Wheels (The Chariot) shows a man driving a tank, and Mom (The Empress) shows a woman in an apron with a rolling pin in one hand and a pie in the other. The suits are Money (pentacles), which is counted in bills, Bottles (cups), TVs (wands) and Guns (swords). The Court Cards are Girl, Boy, Woman and Man. The Minor Arcana scenes are based on well known paintings from various periods. Most will be familiar to anyone who has taken an art class or visited a museum. Cards which may be familiar are:

The art is only fair and appears to have been done in ink and watercolor. It doesn’t look like Williams spent a great deal of time drawing this deck. The cards are large (3 3/4” X 6”) and the backs have an interesting picture of a naked youth in a fountain, holding all four suits. He balances a TV on one foot, stands on the other, has a Bottle which pours Money in his left hand and a Gun which shoots Money in his right. The suits are also interlaced into the borders of the card backs.

The book which accompanies this deck is surprisingly well written. It explains the traditional imagery of the card, a little background on the painting chosen to represent it and an upright and reversed meaning. There is a short section on reading in the back of the book, which gives the Celtic Cross spread and a short set of elemental correspondences, including the traditional, one based on Eysenck’s two dimensional model of personality and one based on Jung. This deck is a combination art survey, social commentary, and caricature of Tarot. I would recommend it to collectors. One could read with it, but I don’t think that was the intended purpose. When this deck was first released a couple of years ago, it was hard to find and rather high priced ($30.00). Now you can find it remaindered or order it from the Quality Paperback Book Club, if you are a member for $7.95. The deck is sold as a book/deck set packaged in a slip sleeve case. The cards have a separate box within the case, but the case is a wee bit small, making the book and deck difficult to get into and out of the slip sleeve.

The PoMo Tarot
ISBN 0-06-250965-9
See more cards from the Post Modern Tarot Deck

You can read a tribute to the artist of this deck, Brian Williams, here.


Images copyright (c) 1994 Brian Williams

This page is Copyright 1997 by Michele Jackson