Please note illustrations in body of interview are from the upcoming Tarot deck The Tarot of Dreams
The Tarot of Dreams 2005
Read Boudica's review of this brand new deck by clicking here.
TWPT: Would you please tell us a little bit about yourself ?
CM: I was born in
TWPT: How does a "Photoshop Guru" get into designing a Tarot Deck?
CM: My experience with digital media is a obvious consequence of the corporate design work I do. Applying the same tools to the style of my personal illustration work was a logical evolution but one that evolved over many years as the learning curve is steep, and involves technical as well as artistic input.
Many times the author of the book is also the person
designing the symbolism and layout for the cards, and the artist is just the
brush. While the actual artistic style is the artists own, the content is
usually the symbolism of the author. Who designed the elements of
this deck and how does Barbara Moore, the author of the book, fit into
However I was also concerned that it is one
thing to produce an illustration that only needed to make sense to me, it
is another to produce 78 images that needed to comply with certain established
meanings and symbology. I made sure that Llewellyn was fully aware that I was a
novice, they felt comfortable despite that, so I started to put pen to paper
(or in my case digital pen and mouse to monitor).
CM: There was little purpose taking on the volume of work that a tarot deck represents simply to churn out yet another Rider-Waite clone. That's why I'm wary of the ultra traditionalists of the tarot community who are unreceptive to any deviation from the established imagery. I mean, if one took that approach to the extreme then the artist of any new deck is relegated to being a glorified photocopying machine.
Nevertheless, realizing that keeping everyone happy was not going to be possible anyway, I decided to use my lack of familiarity with the subject to my advantage . I read multiple descriptions of the cards from various sources, but deliberately avoided looking at many images, so that I'd be as uninfluenced as possible by the interpretations of the other artists. Of course there in lies the potential danger of veering off to far and alienating too many people.
My take on it was that the male figure is there in a sense, I saw myself as the male figure, returning home from my labours and observing in the third person the domestic scene with the positive connotations it projects. Llewellyn accepted the interpretation.
TWPT: Could you discuss how you designed this deck and worked it through the computer medium?
CM: Technically my illustrations and the Gilded were produced digitally. I "paint" using a digital pen and tablet. I only use Photoshop. Unlike most computer "generated" decks, I didn't use special third party filters or scanned photographs. Everything is created from scratch, with the exception in the Gilded where a few photographic faces of myself, family members and friend who posed for some cards were incorporated.
TWPT: Your website is awesome. I loved exploring the site, the artwork, and it is well laid out and easy to navigate. Is this your design also?
CM: I designed my web site to serve as a virtual gallery and shop window to offer fine art prints of my work. While it's probably a little frustrating for anyone with slower Internet access to view, I felt it was important and appropriate to have the contents somewhat graphic heavy, and to try and show as much detail as possible. I'm pleased to say that its attracting a growing number of visitors, and I'm receiving almost eight hundred a day.
TWPT: Tell us about the "Special Edition" decks you have available on your website.
CM: The special edition versions of the Gilded Tarot have been an interesting exercise. It started as a couple of hand made decks I'd produced for myself . I simply didn't have the patience to wait for the published version to be released so I could actually have something tangible in my hands. I then offered them to the public, but did not seriously expect anyone to buy them. It gave me something to talk about and discuss in various tarot related forums, while once again waiting for the standard deck to published.
Unfortunately the fact that they were printed one deck at a time front and back, hand glued, trimmed, plus additional satin laminate etc. etc.; it was extremely time consuming. Along with the cost of special paper inks etc, I was obliged to charge a high price for them, which to be honest still didn't make business sense considering the effort involved. and is certainly not an option I will repeat for future projects. But certainly as a marketing exercise to promote interest in the published deck that followed, it was worth it.
TWPT: What have you in store for us in the future? Can we expect any more projects like the Gilded Tarot Deck?
CM: My next project is called the Tarot of Dreams, and I'm particularly excited about it. While I'm satisfied with the Gilded, to use the following analogy: its like the The Hobbit, whereas the new deck will be my Lord of the Rings. I hope that it will provide the tarot community with some significant new approaches.
Once again it will consist of a 78 card deck, with fully
illustrated minors. But the illustration style will be far more detailed that
the Gilded, and will be deeper in esoteric symbology. This is due to my own
learning curve, along with the collaboration of Lee Bursten, who I have
contracted to join me and will be writing the text for the companion material
as well as providing insight and recommendations. He has also developed a Tree
of Life chart which is incorporated in the imagery of the cards.
TWPT: We would like to thank Mr. Marchetti for his insightful answers to our questions, and wish him much success on both of his projects. Please take the time to visit his website below and view some of the brilliant imagery he has produced. It is well worth the trip to his website.