Anecdotes Tarot

Our latest interview is with Yve Lepkowski, creator of the Anecdotes Tarot. The deck is based on Joanna Newsom's music and the artwork is a whimsical representation of a specific lyric, or a song as a whole. 

The 22 trumps follow the sequence of our old friend, the Tarot de Marseille. The imagery in all the cards has been inspired by other historic Tarots, such as the Sola Busca deck, the "Mantegna Tarocchi," and the decks of the Etteilla school. The songs of the trumps span the entire discography.

Kickstarter - Anecdotes Tarot

Where in the world do you call home?

I’m from Northern New Jersey. It’s a place with a lot to offer in the way of inspiring landscapes – the forests, the ocean, the ominous marshes, flame-spouting electricity plants, and the looming, increasingly pointy Manhattan skyline.

What was your first experience with oracles and / or tarot and when did you fall in love with it?

I’ve always loved playing cards, but I first heard of trump suits through science fiction & fantasy books. The two big ones are Roger Zelazny’s Chronicles of Amber (where the main characters communicate and teleport using special trump cards), and Gene Wolfe’s novel The Sorcerer’s House (which seems to be structured around tarot trumps and/or Lenormand). So my start in tarot was actually looking at it as a series of artistic symbols, more than an oracle!

What made you want to create your own tarot deck? What was your inspiration?

Anecdotes Tarot is the second tarot deck I’ve drawn, and it’s all inspired by Joanna Newsom’s music. Creating tarot art is appealing in the same way as treating mythological and religious themes – it gives you a certain language and way of looking at the world to work with. My background is in math and I really like having this semi-formal framework for art as well. It was really satisfying to look for all the connections between the music and the tarot archetypes. But I think my favorite aspect of tarot art is that it’s functional. These pictures won’t be stuffed away in a portfolio or hanging on the wall for the rest of their lives. They’ll be shuffled and used, and the pictures develop and change in relation to each other.

Aside from your own deck, do you have a favourite deck? If so, which one?

I’ve only been using it since January (that is, after I started creating this deck), but my favorite deck is the Etteilla-based “Grand Jeu d’Oracle des Dames.” These are from the late 1800s and done in a faux-medieval engraving style, using Etteilla’s keywords and oddly rearranged trumps. It has a really gorgeous antique look and lively poses. My favorite pre-Etteilla deck, not without its own oddities, is the Jacques Viéville tarot. I used this deck as inspiration for a lot of Anecdotes Tarot, in particular the “Moon” card, and the colors and feel of the entire Suit of Coins.

Do you have a favourite card (either from your deck or just the card in general). If so, why is it your favourite?

It’s difficult to choose, since I spent a lot of time on each picture. I like my version of the Ace of Cups, since I think that in this case the lyric I used (“sun pouring wine . . . “) fit particularly well with the temple-like cup from the Marseille pattern.