Our latest interview is with Brant Pallazo, the creator of the Moon Baby Tarot - a tarot deck based on the Hoi Polloi tarot. First marketed in 1972 as a game for children, the Hoi Polloi has remained a favourite deck among collectors despite its low print quality because of its funky take on the original Rider Waite Smith deck.
Brant knew the quality could be improved to contemporary standards while preserving its mid-century aesthetic. The deck was re-coloured and re-formatted so that the images could be printed in modern tarot dimensions. The original old gothic font didn't suit the style of the deck so it was replaced with a fun '70s style font. The result is a fun, updated take on a classic vintage deck.
The Kickstarter for this deck has finished and it was fully funded within 7 hours!! Enchanted Gypsy will stock the deck, so keep an eye out if you would like to purchase!
Brant will have an etsy shop and will have high quality art prints of the most popular cards in the deck and other fun goodies.
Where in the world do you call home?
I live in the capital city, Baton Rouge, Louisiana USA
What was your first experience with tarot and when did you fall in love with it?
I actually grew up about 45 minutes away from New Orleans which is a major hub for Voodoo and other Magical practices. Jackson Square is a city block and is sort of where all the action is. There are tons of street performers and venders selling handmade products. Among these artisans are tarot readers set up all over the streets. As a young person I spent many weekends there with my family and friends. So, I really grew up seeing tarot readers and so for me tarot has always been normal and I never really had any negative ideas about tarot. For me, it’s just always been normal and fun.
It wasn’t until I grew up that I really learned about how to use the cards. My love for tarot really began when I started collecting decks. My vintage deck collection is my prized possession. There’s nothing I enjoy more than searching for and finding a deck that is hard to find.
What made you want to create your own tarot deck? What was your inspiration?
The Hoi Polloi is one on of the first vintage decks that I got at the start of my collection. I absolutely fell in love with it! It came out in 1972 and had everything- a fun ‘70s vibe, Rider Waite Smith based, amazing colors. The only issues I had were that the cardstock was thin and poorly cut and hard to shuffle and the printing was not very good. Shuffling is such an important part of the reading for me. I’d say I’m kind of an aggressive shuffler actually. I always wished I could use the Hoi Polloi more easily. It just wasn’t satisfying to shuffle.
When the Pandemic started I lost my job. I was left in a place I hadn’t been before in my life. I didn’t have the answer this time, I didn’t know what to do this time. I have always been interested in art. I’ll pretty much try any medium. I’ve experimented with acrylic painting, weaving, macramé, pastels, gouache, watercolors and the list could go on for pages. I hadn’t really ever worked with digital media though, so I decided to turn the lemon that life gave me into lemonade by exploring and learning photoshop. It was an excellent help to keep me focused on something good and fun and really kept my mind off of my unemployment.
I started learning photoshop by editing, reformatting and recoloring the Lovers card from the Hoi Polloi. After I finished that card I moved to another and then another. Pretty soon I had worked my way through all the cards and really developed my photoshop skills.
What would you say is unique about your deck?
It’s hard to find a Rider Waite Smith deck that isn’t just fully drawn from the original deck. My deck is fully Rider Waite Smith without being a complete clone of Pamela Colman Smith’s original drawings. My deck has a decidedly ‘70s aesthetic- from the font to the colors. At the same time, it feels relevant today. It doesn’t feel old, it feels Vintage and retro.
How long have you had the idea for the deck and how long has it taken you to create it?
I started working on the deck around September 2020. It was a slow process though because I didn’t consistently work on it every day. I would sort of work on it a little when I could and then came back and worked on it more when I had time.
How has the pandemic affected your creativity?
I’d say the pandemic actually helped with my creativity. Being at home and having limited time with people other than my husband and immediate family opened up my free time. It also was the only reason I had the time to learn photoshop and work on the deck.
What have been your challenges in creating the deck?
The biggest challenge was the learning curve of photoshop. I picked it up well but it was difficult to find ways to do the things I needed to do because I didn’t know what the processes were called. I don’t have a graphic design background so I didn’t always have the vocabulary to describe what I needed to do. It was a challenge but it was fun!
How do you thing the ‘70s style will resonate with younger tarot readers?
I think the colors are really timeless on their own and it’s only when you put them next to each other that they give the feeling of the ‘70s. I also think that the timing of my project is really good because the ’70s kind of groovy tie-dye vibe is kind of having a moment on social media. The deck is definitely groovy and retro but also seems relevant with the current trends and aesthetics.
How will you celebrate when the deck is finally published?
I think I want to celebrate during the entire process. I want to enjoy it every step of the way and I want to include the people who have been supportive of my project. I’ve been thinking about filming the tie-dying process for the reading cloths and then the packaging process for my YouTube channel, @Moon Baby. It has been such a lovely process unlike anything else that I’ve experienced. It’s one thing to create a work of art and have your friends and family compliment it and support it, but having the support of people all over the world is the most overwhelmingly good feeling. It’s hard to put the feeling into words.
What is on offer for the people who pledge?
So far the deck will be printed on high-quality cardstock with a matte finish and will be housed in a rigid two piece box. We’ve blown through the stretch goals with include: two additional cards so you can pick which numbers you want strength and Justice to be, a Spread cloth that will be Tie-dyed by me with custom colors that match the palette of the deck, and a guide book that will have all the basic things you need to know to read your cards for the first time and will include my favorite spread.
Moon Baby YouTube QR code: