I received the beautiful 78 Astral Tarot deck for review, but I felt drawn to sharing more about the amazing three women behind the 78 Tarot, who have successfully crowd funded and self-published four Tarot decks since 2014! So, I decided to interview Kayti, Trish and Delphine.
For each deck, the 78 Tarot team chooses a unique theme and collaborates with 82 talent artist from all corners of the world. Each card is illustrated by a different artist. I can only imagine what a huge undertaking this has been for the ladies and is obviously a project of love. If your curiosity is piqued, you can you can peruse through the gallery of the four decks: 1st Edition, Nautical, Carnival, and Astral.
Kayti Welsh Stewart, Founder + Director
How did the idea to do the first 78 Tarot deck initially emerge?
You know, it really was one of those things that just happened. I have always been interested in the Tarot, and having been a working artist for so long, I know a lot of artists online. The idea came four years ago, I had just recently discovered the magic of Facebook groups and it had allowed me to reconnect with a lot of my old artist friends in a group that I created on grassroots marketing. We were chatting with a group member, who happened to be a Tarot Reader – and I mused in chat that I had always wanted to illustrate a deck as an artist, but never had the time. And the idea just hit me to do a collaborative deck. It started with the idea of getting maybe 30 artists together to each do a card or 2, I was not sure how many artists would also be interested in Tarot. But, it turns out a great deal of them were. I put out a call for artists and had easily enough for each artist to do a card in the deck, 24 hours later. Admin teams were created, contracts were written, brand names were developed and thus, the 78 Tarot was born.
What drew you to creating the 78 Tarot Astral deck?
Astral was something we all really felt a connection to. I really love astrology and anything to do with star beings and we all really wanted to do a deck that celebrated everything to do with the cosmos! The group of artists are all very into sci fi and fantasy, so we thought their art styles would be perfect to create a truly out of this world, epicly astral deck!
I believe you are working on the 5th 78 Tarot deck. Wondering if you are able to share what theme the next deck will be? And, if possible, what the bonus cards will be?
We are about 75% finished with 78 Tarot Mythical – Tarot of the Legendary, which we will be launching at the Northwest Tarot Symposium in Portland Oregon on March 3rd, where the entire Dream Team, including Trish Sullivan ALL THE WAY FROM THE UK will be vending for the weekend. As for the bonus cards, we have the Meditation card like our last 3 decks – and the wild cards will be revealed during the Kickstarter, we like to have a small element of surprise to give the backers <3
This deck really celebrates Legends from all over history, all over the globe, and connects gods and goddesses and heroic myths to the deep rich symbolism and history of the Tarot. Trish Sullivan worked very closely with each artist so that each one has a different myth, that is connected deeply to the meaning of their card and is diversely rich in culture and background.
Delphine Levesque Demers, Co-founder + Art Director
How do you choose an artist to be part of the 78 Tarot? And, how do you assign a card to them?
The whole admin team – Joanna Nelson (artist liaison), Delphine and Trish and Kayti Welsh choose the artists and assign the cards, but Delphine does the background work of researching each artists style and matching them to each card. We don’t really take in a lot of new artists, for Mythical only a few were switched out. We love the energy and friendship we have with this group, some who we have all known for 15 years of our own art career. We are just artists working with artists to make something bigger than ourselves. And we really love working with our friends, we consider ourselves to be a family. That doesn’t mean we don’t let new artists in, quite the contrary, with a group of 82 artists some are bound to have personal issues and not able to complete their card, so we keep a backup list of people who contact us, who we like for cases like this. We feel like the universe truly is in charge of all of this anyway, we just do our best to orchestrate it.
It is very important we align the artist with a card that will suit their arts personality, for example, we don’t often give light and happy cards like The Sun to darker artists. We recognizes each person’s talents and weaknesses and match them to the Tarot card that would suit them and that they would like and be challenged by! The art is the single most important part of the deck and we take it very seriously. We like to have a wide variety of artists to represent the Tarot, from beginners to Legends (Fools to Emperors) and everything in between. We feel it adds a richness that is not easily achievable and it is what makes our decks so special.
If you could, what artist dead or alive would you want to include in the next 78 Tarot deck?
We all agreed Bob Ross (purely for his awesome energy) and Alphonse Mucha.
What impact has the 78 Tarot decks had on you as an artist?
By stepping out my comfort zone, trying to come up with better compositions and be creative with concept and meanings, having my art among such amazing names really makes you want to step up and deliver and create your best work.
Trish Sullivan, Author + Media Manager
Before you start writing, what steps do you take to connect with the energy of the card?
Usually, I’ve been talking to the artist during the conception and creation of the image, so I have a good connection to the card and what the artist has wanted it to convey.I make notes at each stage of the image. Then when the image is complete, I take those notes and all WIPs, and reconnect before writing each card meaning and description
Has an artist’s interpretation of a particular card ever challenged your understanding and shifted your perspective?
There was a card in the Carnival deck, in particular that I saw completely differently when I was starting to write it up. The artist sent me her interpretation and it challenged me to look again.
How has writing the guidebook for the 78 Tarot influenced you as a reader?
Writing the guidebooks has given me more confidence in my own knowledge of the cards, and also to read more intuitively. I’ve found that the daily readings for 78 Tarot has helped me even more.