You know how it is when you’re avoiding the things you should be doing and scrolling through Pinterest instead? Lost for hours amongst the tarot art all over that website. I’m not sad about it. In fact, every time this happens, I find myself looking through R. Black’s tarot deck. It’s just so lovely, with all of those clean lines and beautifully colored images. I reached out to him and he was kind enough to give us an interview.
IDR: What was your Gateway Deck?
R. Black: Probably like most, it was the Rider-Waite-Smith deck. And after years of seeing other decks I still enjoy this one. I love the Visconti-Sforza tarot deck and the one featured in Penny Dreadful by Anaïs Chareyre as it aligns with my artistic taste for minimalism W
IDR: What about that deck made you want to stick with tarot?
RB: I love conjunction between visual art and the magic arts, however you want to read into that word.
IDR: Do you still read with/have that deck?
RB: I don’t, I gifted it to someone in need.
IDR: What are the pieces of you that you’ve imprinted in your cards and/or book?
RB: My personal philosophies and view of the universe are imbedded in it only in as much as an artist imbeds any of their works with themselves.
IDR: If your friends were tarot cards, who would they be?
RB: That’s a dangerous road to travel down 🙂
IDR: What prompted you to create your own deck/book?
RB: I wanted to do art that was multifunctional. I wanted my art to do something besides hang on the wall, I wanted it to be useful, wanted it to be a tool. Also, as wall space is a very limited precious commodity, I want to be able to give people a piece of art that didn’t take up physical space, but huge in mental space.
IDR: What is your favorite thing about your creation?
RB: I think it’s the reception I’ve been getting. I’m blown away, and it’s still not finished. Daily I get emails from around the world asking about it, more international than my own country. It’s really nice to have an acceptance of a community before the project is let free.
IDR: Where do you go for inspiration?
RB: Mostly the internet. When working on each card I do research from several sources trying to garnish the true essence of each and I derive my own understanding of them. As well as friends I know, libraries, occult shops and the like.
IDR: Tell us about your favorite card, please.
RB: I love the Fool, besides being the card, I identify the most with as well as a metaphor for this tarot journey I’m on. I love the colors and the landscape. Its inspired by all the time I spend in the Sierra Nevada and my love for the philosophy for Buddhism.
IDR: What deck is at the top of your wishlist?
RB: An original print of the Visconti-Sforza deck
IDR: What is the most difficult card in your deck, and what is the most difficult card for you to read for yourself?
RB: I’m only half way thru truly deciphering them for my own needs, but the two of Pentacles was the hardest one artistically to portray everything I wanted and be able to pull off visually. The Tower and Five of Cups have been sad cards for me.
IDR: Do you find that tarot pops up in unexpected places?
RB: I find everything pops up in unexpected places when you are looking for it or have been exposed to it
IDR: What is your favorite part of the creation process?
RB: I love the implementation of the research into a visual concise form
IDR: Where do your interests lie outside of tarot?
RB: Hiking, camping, walking, kayaking, murals, Buddhism, Zen, Taoism, a great roadside dive bar and a good bourbon