Finding those tarot decks you click with and you love is…a process. For some folks, it’s the first and only deck they get their hands on. For other folks, it takes a few tries. Or more. For me, and others I know, it tends to be less about finding that One Deck for All Time, and more about finding the deck that works for This Reading and This Time Frame.
And then again, sometimes a deck just smashes you in the face before it’s even done being made and you know it’s going to be one of Your Decks. This is what happened to me with the Brady Tarot. A friend shared the link to Emi Brady’s kickstarter, I clicked on it, then immediately went “oh no, it’s pretty.” And a year and half later, finally in my hands, it really, really is. Emi Brady carved and lino-printed and painted her way into creating an incredible animal based deck. It’s deep and real and electric. It was very much worth the wait.
Once the Brady Tarot was just about ready, Emi Brady set on a launch tour from Denver to Brooklyn with a limited supply of decks in hand. Fortunately, she was able to stop off in St. Louis and the Fortune Teller Bar (home base for many of us here at Indie Deck Review!) to share the story of the deck’s creation process, sell decks and swag, and read tarot for some folks. We were able to meet, talk tarot, and set up an interview. Emi shared stories and myths behind a number of her cards, spoke about the joy of having Rachel Pollack write her book for the deck, and captivated the audience with her presentation.
Afterwards, I sent her interview questions, which she gracefully answered for use to share with you all. If you’re waiting on your copy of the Brady Tarot to arrive, I promise you, it is well worth the wait. Until then, I hope you enjoy this interview with Emi as much I did!
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- What was your Gateway Deck?
The Haindl Tarot, which was given to me around 2005.
- What about that deck made you want to stick with tarot?
The Haindl has so much to fall into. Layers of meaning and visual details make the cards feel fresh every time I read with them. It also pulls from many different cultures and traditions, and is not entirely Euro-centric.
- How did your Gateway Deck influence your tarot preferences and reading style?
I admire Haindl’s use of the family names (daughter, son, mother, and father) for the court cards, and I totally stole that from him for my deck. I also enjoy having keywords for the minor cards. I find having a small text-based prompt to go with the image is always helpful.
- If your friends were tarot cards, who would they be?
The High Priestess and Death are two of my closest friends, and I might have married the 8 of Pentacles.
- Where do you go for inspiration?
Nature. Biodiversity is a vast source of inspiration for me.
- What prompted you to create your own deck?
Honestly, I felt ready for a new deck after working with the Haindl deck for about 13 years, and there was no deck that had everything I wanted. I yearned for an artist’s deck that combined scientific research with indigenous mythology. I wanted and couldn’t find a deck that treated animals as people instead of pure symbolism.
- What is your favorite part of the creation process?
I love when I get into the groove and the images start to spring up out of the darkness. I also love having a vast amount of art to work through and get lost in while also having an overall structure to explore and build on. Feeling time dissolve when I’m really in the middle of it is such a great feeling.
- What is your favorite thing about your creation?
That I gave each card the time it demanded and did not rush anything. The wait for this deck has been pretty tough, but the time invested has been well-spent. I continue to find things in the images I never noticed, even as the creator!
- What are the pieces of you that you’ve imprinted in your cards and/or book?
There’s so much of me in the cards. My love of birds and other animals, fascination with biology, and dreams all contribute to this deck’s personality. I think the deck has my sense of humor, too. Kinda dark and sometimes too real, but also forgiving and light-hearted in the end.
- Where do your interests lie outside of tarot?
Biology, ecology, music, art, illustration, animation, and just being out in nature. I also love wasting time on video games! I’ve been lost in Dragon Quest XI lately.
- What are some misconceptions or illusions you think people have about creators’ lives?
I think people expect artists to have an unstructured and hedonistic lifestyle and that creating good art requires some kind of self-destruction or misery. The reality is that we work hard and must have some kind of self-discipline and structure to sustainably make our art. I feel the best work comes from a place of self-care and compassion, not of self-destruction. Sacrifices in our personal lives are often made to do good work sometimes, too. I often turn down opportunities to go out and party if I’m in the thick of creating art.
Artistic practice is so much less The Devil or the 8 of Swords and so much more the Hermit or the 3 of Pentacles. At least for me.
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So many thanks to Emi Brady for taking the time to complete this interview! The Brady Tarot will be available to purchase at bradytarot.com for $55 USD in October 2018.