VIDEO: Creating The The Fountain Tarot:
A VERY Brief History of Tarot
For some, Tarot conjures up images of people in robes, a sacrificial goat, and a dark, candle-lit room! But the truth is that for hundreds of years, Tarot was a game, similar to bridge, played in Europe. Tarot decks were commissioned by the wealthiest Italian families (i.e. Visconti-Sforza, below) during the Renaissance, in the early 1400s, with artists incorporating family members into the images of the cards. In the mid-1400s, with the invention of the printing press, the game spread to the masses, and was played in houses and pubs regularly, for hundreds of years, through the 1800s
It wasn't until the late 1800s that French mystics popularized the potential use of the deck as a means for divination and fortune-telling, giving the Tarot its mysterious “occult” reputation. Over the past century, hundreds of thousands have enjoyed the cards for their ability to combine art, culture, history, and spirituality. Today, its popularity continues to grow as the world discovers and expands Tarot's ability to inspire, amuse, and enlighten.
Dec. 2013 | Mexico keeps offering its inspiring colors and patterns, Thanks for deciding to die in the painting studio, giant moth!
Sept. 2013 | The very beginning of The Fountain Tarot in Denver, Colorado... all 80 wood panels, randomly primed and ready to be designed and painted.
Reviews of The Fountain Tarot:
Oct. 2013 | Jonathan Saiz & Jason Gruhl move to Todos Santos - a "Pueblo Magico" in Baja California Sur Mexico for one year. While Jason explores the vast history of the tarot, and writes the new Fountain card descriptions and booklet, Jonathan paints the panels in oil; each to become a card in the full Fountain deck.
For us, creating a quality Tarot deck meant honoring the tradition of Tarot, while creating something new. This meant LOTS of research. We compared hundreds of elements, distilling them down in terms of: visuals, meanings and reversals, archetypes and symbols, story arcs, design elements, typography, booklet length and features, quality of paper and packaging, and many others. We read books, searched the internet, and bought and studied WAY too many Tarot decks - from the earliest Italian and French collections, to the most popular and iconic, to some of the newer decks, ranging from "niche" to quirky. In the end, we were left with the essence of Tarot, and from there, we began creating.
Many, MANY thanks to all of our Fountain Models. Artists we admire, friends, and family from all over the world. Some of the model resource photographs were taken directly by the artist, Jonathan Saiz, and other were provided by the models themselves. We couldn't have captured such a dynamic moment in time, now, without all of your help and willingness to become a part of this project.
Interviews with The Fountain Tarot:
May 2014 | The High Priestess in progress...
Next time you find yourself standing in the ethereal Templo de San Cayetano in Guanajuato Mexico, look up, just like Andi did when she was searching for the inspiration to design the striking backs of The Fountain Tarot cards.
"I wasn't certain at first how best to unify these incredible paintings into a cohesive visual story in one impeccable image. It couldn't fight with the opposite side, but couldn't be uninspired on its own. Plenty of decks have backs that feel like last minute decisions, ones which don't support the beauty of the deck as a whole. I wanted it to be classic and modern, so much of the geometry is based on the ceilings of old Mexican churches and chimes in the geometries of modern times and my love of math art. The color and texture was another hurdle, so using samples from the paintings themselves seemed like the best way to accomplish a design that felt part of the deck and not just put on top of it. It has samples from The Fountain card inverted, The Lovers and others, finding special little moments of texture, gradient and color." Andi Todaro
Dec. 2013 | So far, 18 cards are written, designed, and have at least their first paint layer (of many) - it will DEFINITELY take the whole year down here to finish them all...