Does the world really need another tarot deck? Writer Jason Gruhl, fine artist Jonathan Saiz and artist/designer Andi Todaro think so, though there are already hundreds, and possibly thousands, of themed sets circulating out there, some of them dating back to medieval times and others cheaply modern, all kitschy and glittery, with flimsy packaging and a lowest-common-denominator appeal. Something for everyone -- true believers and dabblers alike? Not necessarily, the trio says.
"Where is the universal deck that speaks to the nowness and doesn't count everyone out?" Todaro asks. The answer, she believes, lies in their Fountain Tarot project -- an artful, contemporary deck that the team has already realized and hopes to print and market using funds raised through a Kickstarter campaign, now in its final week.
When the three friends, all Denverites (Saiz and Gruhl are now based in Mexico), first sought a project that would utilize their unique skill sets in a collaborative effort, they jumped on the idea of a tarot deck that would not only be beautiful and well-packaged but also designed to appeal to high-end clientele. After they researched the tarot, looking for a new road to take, Saiz took the lead in creating the images.
"Jonathan said, 'I just want to do one series that is a lot of small paintings that all have an inherent relationship to each other,'" Todaro notes, adding that Saiz completed the set of 79 oil paintings during nine months of intensive work, using friends and artists as models. As the wordsmith, Gruhl wrote a detailed 100-page instruction booklet, while Todaro created packaging designed to be both durable and gorgeous, right down to the "magnetic closure with a satisfying snap." And what will their Fountain deck do that no other deck has done before?
The namesake of the deck is a card added to the end of the Major Arcana called "The Fountain." Though the traditional Tarot ends with "The World" card (an elegant portrayal of the completion of cycles, harmony, and evolution from novice to expert), we craved a representation of the even larger context in which life takes place, beyond the "doing" of life, and even beyond the cycles -- the unchanging, unnameable force of which everything and nothing are a part. This is the Fountain.
"Wouldn't it be great if one hundred years from now this will be seen as the second coming -- with the deck of all decks?" Todaro muses. But in the meantime, she adds, "It feels like we've already got a business, but we have everything except the actual product."
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To that end, the trio is still looking for donations in order to reach their goal of $25,000 through their Kickstarter campaign. For more information, visit The Fountain on the web or on Facebook; or go straight to Kickstarter to pitch in.
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