The story behind the tarot decks
Truth be told, the backstory of the original Madam Clara deck might surprise you.
I created the Madam Clara character as part of a year-long project leading up to the Salem Witches Ball on Halloween. I have always been fascinated with the dark and mysterious world of antique carnival and circus imagery. I wanted to create an experiential "costume" that was based on a vintage penny arcade fortune teller (the old lady in the glass box) and I wanted to dispense single fortune cards to bring the experience full circle.
Being it was in Salem, authenticity was very important to me, so I researched the subject of tarot tirelessly, but I also felt somehow guided in the creation of this deck, which became a true labor of love for me. The fortunes needed to be genuine to the cards, but I wanted them to be mysterious and also a little kitschy, if you will.
The designs are true to the archetypal symbolism in the Rider-Waite decks, but uses a combination of collage, vintage engravings and graphic patterns. While the deck is not 3D, I definitely had in mind the left-right brain balance and tension in the design. Also, I cannot tell you there is a specific significance to the 2 extra cards. Only that I was compelled to create the 2 extras and I wanted them to be at once equal and opposite, light and dark. Of course, you are free to interpret as you will.
I hope you enjoy the deck. It has inspired me to keep going and create additional works, which I will share the progress on this site. Feel free to contact me with your comments and suggestions!