In preparation for my gallery show in August (the 19th and 20th to be exact) I have been putting together art card descriptions for all the pieces I'll be showing. For most of my work this is relatively easy as it just involves a brief explanation of why I did it.
For my tarot cards it has been a far more in depth process. Because the cards are based on original deck designs and each one has a meaning behind it, I've needed to really polish my descriptions. It's been interesting as I've reflected on each design, going back to the very first ones I completed, moving forward to the final three I finished just a few months ago. Initially I didn't actually spend a lot of time explaining my work. I would finish a card, post some pictures of it to my blog and that was that.
When I held my first gallery show in Calgary in November 2009 I realised I needed to tell the story behind my work. I've been to galleries and museums where the work is summed up with a card stating the name of the artist, the material used and the title of the work. This is boring.
There is nothing more exciting than laying eyes on an original piece of work and getting a story to go along with this. A sculpture of a woman, who was also the artist's mistress. A painting of Jesus, which at the time was actually seen as a racy comment on the current king and resulted in the banishment of the artist. A series which started with great definition and progressed into pixilation and abstract as the mind of the artist turned to madness.
All of this makes the work that much more wonderful to look upon. I know I felt it as I revisited all 22 of my Tarot Paintings. I remembered the things going on in my life as each one took shape. Some designs started out with frustration and have now become my favourite pieces. Other designs had very little written about them and suddenly I was able to write long paragraphs, finding it difficult to keep the descriptions succinct.
Designing these cards has been an incredible journey for me. Not just professionally with regards to developing my skills, but personally, as I've worked on myself. I really am so happy I took it on. I think if I'd thought to far ahead on it the task might have seen impossibly daunting. As it is, looking back, I'm stunned at what I accomplished and extremely proud of the result.