I sit up and create something beautiful all night. It’s all ink. But tonight I experiment with all sorts of chemicals, aka as stuff in the kitchen, that can break the tension of the water. I also add real gold to the thing.
What I create is art in the suminagashi style, or Japanese marbling. Art on the back of Tarot cards. Each back of the card tells a unique story.
After washing the cards several times in all sorts of concoctions, I create a magic mix straight out of the Picatrix. The green blinds me almost, even though I work by candle light and it’s 2 AM in the morning.
I marvel at the stuff. Since I’m heavily myopic, and now that I’ve passed 50 I can see that I need thicker and thicker reading glasses too, I might as well welcome the blinding effect of a magical potion.
The thing about having ‘bad’ eyes, and yet wanting to create beauty in the world, is that when you insist on wearing no glasses for any of it, you get to discover furthermore the magic of stumbling into grace.
Most of the time when I handle my inks I’ve no idea what I’m looking at. I never wear any of my glasses. But I work with a sense of utmost precision, control, and faith in the breaking point of whatever chemical I happen to use at the time, from yeast to baking powder, absinthe of high percentage alcohol, or black tea of the most expensive kind.
Some would say, ‘surely you don’t waste such luxury on creating backs for your cards.’ My answer to this would be, ‘surely I would, since the backs of the cards can be as interesting as the front, and especially since I can hardly see anything. At least I can smell it. Even gold has an interesting smell…’
And then, there’s nothing like experiencing how chance maps unto culture. For instance, I’m amused by the fact that the title card, featuring the Devil, got an Angel on its back. This was not planned and happened entirely at random.
The cards I’m talking about are quite magical. They are inspired by and dedicated as an hommage to Yamamoto Masao, to whom I’m greatly indebted. I made them exclusively as a celebration of myself for my 50th birthday. You can read about the process in my Patheos essay, or see a short video below from my instagram feed.
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Today I created boxes for my new Tarot Interdit. The artists who inspired it get a cut. But while working on it, listening also to medieval music, I thought about how true it would be to say that sometimes I create something as a pretext to use an old box or to dip a brush in special gold ink. I think of pretexts as treasure boxes. #cameliaelias #tarotinterdit #tarot #divination #cartomancy #arttarot #yamamotomasao #antique #box #art #photography #pretext #treasure #gold #ink
Yamamoto sensei is getting the finest cut, and although I can imagine his cringe – I’m a digital manipulator of light, rather than going all analogue and gelatin silver as he does – I know exactly why he would also appreciate my effort.
The theme of my cards is erotica, so they’re particularly prone to be read in connection with either your most sensual desires, or sex issues. I use it on special occasions, or if someone has a special request for it.
Make something beautiful, and make sure to also keep going if you find that you have excess ink. Mine here turned into a fine samurai.
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