Now and Then.



I recently read a book called  “A Dark Premonition: Journeys to Hieronymus Bosch,” by Cees Nooteboom. In it, the author recounts a personal story of his visiting several museums to see the major works by Bosch. He begins by recounting his first encounter with Bosch, discovering “The Temptation of St. Anthony” at The Prado, as a 21 year old hitchhiker some 61 years earlier. Now, as he’s writing this book, he’s gone back to the Prado to see it again, and he’s struck by the notion that as 61 years have passed, he has become a different person. Yet he still has the same body. And what of the painting that was finished some 500 years ago? It seems that the people who looked at it then saw something very different from what the people who look at it today see. Yet it is the same painting.

This got me thinking. I painted the trump cards of my Bill’s Tarot as a 21 year old art student at Cooper Union in New York’s East Village in the early 80’s. The world, and the people in it, were quite different then. Those people saw things quite differently from how things are today. And I was one of those people. The East Village had an entirely different atmosphere. The world had different views about art: What it was, what it was for, and where we thought it was going.

Around twenty five years later, when the world and I had evolved into something else, I set about creating the remaining pips and court cards to complete my deck as Le Tarot Tournant. This is the same world, yet not the same as when I began. Everything looks different. Everyone sees differently now. History is different. Everything is different. I am the same person I’ve always been, yet not the same. So, is this then a collaborative work between two of myselves, sharing a common thread, but separated by time and space? I guess so. And I find that interesting.