The Isidore Tarot is my baby. I love all of my artistic creations, but I absolutely love this tarot. It’s a charmed deck that brings me nothing but joy. It only takes a brief viewing of my artistic portfolio to see that it is perhaps the brightest and most soft edged thing I’ve ever created. Perhaps I’m growing a little more subdued in my older age. 😉
The Isidore Tarot Deck is an art collage style tarot that uses vintage illustrations by J.J. Grandville to recreate the symbolism of the Rider Waite Smith tarot deck. Grandville’s characters are turned into new characters with the aid of Victorian era ink illustrations and additional ink detailing to fill out the collage. Grandville’s work was taken from his book Le Metamorphoses du Jour in the public domain. Once the cards were done, they were given a themed color palette. The major arcana is heavy in rich crimsons and pale gold. Each of the minor suites are colored based upon the element they represent. The original idea for the style of collage is based upon Max Ernst’s Une semaine de bonté collection.
The Isidore Tarot debuted the autumn of 2013 as the first card deck published by my family’s small art studio. Since that time it has gradually been refined and released in distinct numbered editions – this edition being the third. There is also a spring special edition and a dollsize edition. The spring edition takes the deck’s original rose and gold colors and flips them to teals and other watery colors. Below is a partial sampling of the deck, not all cards are pictured. When available the third edition and these special editions can be purchased through The Attic Shoppe Trading Co.
“A delicate and sarcastic smile, eyes sparkling with intelligence, a satirical mouth, short figure and large heart and a delightful tincture of melancholy perceptible everywhere -that is your portrait, dear Grandville!” From Alexandre Dumas’ introduction to a chapter of his memoirs that is dedicated to Grandville.
I started a project called An Autumn with Isidore where I took a variety of black and white illustrations by artist J.J. Grandville (1803-1847), one of my young art crushes, and used them to create new images with the same sort of whimsical and surreal scenes in mind. Originally the project was just to help me focus on something fun that was done in my down time and allowed me to set my more demanding commission work to the side. It was such a drastic departure from my typical art style that I wasn’t even sure how it would fit into my portfolio. I did add it to my online portfolio though and used it as a way to wave at my followers and tell them I was still alive and kicking. Not long after I was approached about the idea of reworking some of the collages into a major arcana. I started at the beginning and began work on the Fool card and it came so quickly and naturally, the deck just seemed to create itself from that point on.
This deck has done very well and I’m quite proud of it. I’m also happy to have an opportunity to introduce people to Grandville who may not have had a name to put to his art. I think nearly everyone who has spent any time floating about the internet has seen at least one of his illustrations; they’re hard to avoid and he was very prolific during his short life. You should be introduced to the man proper. This is a wonderful article about Grandville. It is very complete and links to numerous galleries and resources for the artist. I highly recommend taking a moment to read through and get to know him! Sadly he wasn’t in the world as flesh and bone for very long, but while he was here he left an incredible illustrated legacy and he should always be remembered for it. I hope to keep his memory and spirit in art alive and well.