Alternative approaches to tarot, ritual, magic & more
Irene is an artist, illustrator and witch based in Louisville, Kentucky, USA.
She may be best known for being the artist behind the Guided Hand Tarot – the hand-collaged tarot deck she self-published in 2018. However, she’s also a multi media artist working in fiber, watercolor and collage, and is always working on multiple projects at once.
I chose collage as the medium for my deck, because I felt that it shared a fascinating parallel with tarot: fluidity of symbols. One of the first things I learned when I started practicing tarot was that, while tarot is a very structured system with defined ‘meanings’ for each card, the way those cards are interpreted can wildly change what they ‘mean’ from querent to querent, reading to reading.
As an art form, collage deals with similar issues – what happens when you take an image out of its original context? How does its meaning change when placed in a new environment? How stable, then, is an image’s symbolism? Collage explores these questions and has historically been used by artists to challenge existing power structures and transgress oppressive social norms (for example, Dada artist Hannah Hoch’s work).
Every human in this deck is or was a real person, not an idealized concept of a person. Tarot, like art, reflects our lives – so if we look at either and see no one we identify with, no one who looks like us, it is as if our identity doesn’t matter, our story isn’t important. By using found images of people – mostly from vintage magazines – I was able to integrate a wider variety of cultures, ethnicities, ages, and genders into my deck.