I guess I haven’t written much here in quite a while. I’ve been thinking about what to do next with Le Tarot Tournant. That’s not as easy as it sounds. From very early on, I set out to make a contemporary, pure expression of a very old thing, with no regard for real world concerns of production or the marketplace. Now I’m faced with the idea of producing something that people can buy, without sacrificing too much for the sake of practicality. Sales numbers have never figured into my notions of “success” in art, but a lot of people around me seem to think that my ultimate goal ought to be selling as many tarot decks as I can. So, should I really be trying to please as many people as possible? I was going to write something here about AutoTune, Walmart, Contact Paper, McDonald’s, and Thomas Kinkade, but that’s probably better left for some other day. Instead, I think I’ll quote from an old interview with a sculptor, Bernard Brenner, who summed up some of my worries pretty well: “The minute you start…. you’ve got to communicate an idea, and the idea has to be expressed in its lowest common denominator in order to appeal to the largest majority. You’re trapped into dissipating this thing until you are able to come out with a worthwhile piece of public art, and this rarely happens.…We keep talking about the new Renaissance. I have yet to see the new Renaissance in a culture that is quantitatively oriented. You know, 40 million people buy records instead of 39 million; that’s progress.” (He was talking about public sculpture commissions, but similar notions apply to any creative endeavor.)
I set out a long time ago to expand boundaries, and for me, simply printing pictures (regardless of how nice they look) on card stock doesn’t accomplish that. The idea is where this thing lives. The pictures are like an incidental side effect of the Big Idea. So now that it’s finished, and I have a tangible expression of that Big Idea all worked out, I’m just not sure about how it might fit into the current tarot landscape of printed decks & guidebooks, or even whether it should try to fit in at all.
I’ll explain further in the next couple of entries…