Our latest interview is with a unique group of creators of The Radiant Scales Tarot, a dragon-themed tarot deck. The unique feature of this group is that there are 75 collaborative artists and writers behind this fantastical creation. The diverse artwork will appeal to any dragon lovers or anyone who appreciates beautiful artwork.
Kickstarter - Radiant Scales
Where in the world do you call home?
I - (Tony Collins, lead writer) live in Cincinnati, Ohio - our project lead Nicole Cucinella lives in Naples,Florida, and our art director Elizabeth Goldring lives in Argentina. Our tarot decks are collaborative efforts, and we have artists from all over the globe work with us - so really, it's far more like the internet itself is our true home!
What was your first experience with oracles and / or tarot and when did you fall in love with it?
I was raised pagan, so it's hard to remember the first time the concept of oracle work was
introduced to me. I fell in love with the practice, however, when I was nineteen and away at college.I found studying the traditions to be very meditative, and I used to sit out in my dorm's communal lounge doing readings for my classmates - I made a lot of fantastic friendships and meaningful connections this way. I've continued the practice into my adult life, challenging myself each year to learn a little bit more than I knew last year.
What made you want to create your own tarot deck? What was your inspiration?
The drive to create actually originated with Nicole! I'd been friends with her online for a few years before she announced her first collaborative tarot project. Now, I say the following with the utmost love, but I knew right at the start that Nicole was underestimating the amount of research and work that would go into the project - and I knew I had an intensive knowledge set she was missing. So naturally, I stepped forward and politely volunteered my expertise for the project. In a very real way, it was love for a friend and a desire to be helpful that got me involved in this process.
Aside from your own deck, do you have a favourite deck? If so, which one?
It's hard to have a favorite deck, the same way it's difficult to pick a favorite child. Each of my decks has its own personality, and are useful in different situations. My favorite deck at any given time isthe one that gives me a bridge to bond with the person I'm doing a reading for! In that sense, I'm very fond of decks that borrow imagery or lore from popular fiction. A layperson may know nothing of tarot, but they absolutely will have a favorite movie, tv show, or book!
Do you have a favourite card (either from your deck or just the card in general). If so, why is it your favourite?
My absolute favorite card is The Empress, because it's my wife's favorite card - every time it comes up in a reading, it reminds me of her and the lessons she's taught me. My second favorite card is Death, especially when it comes up while I'm doing a reading for a novice - I love getting to explain that it's not actually a frightening ill omen, but instead a reminder about having to close one chapter before you open the next. That the old must make way for the new.
We are living in such crazy times. How has the pandemic affected your creativity?
The pandemic is a blessing and a curse all at once. Because I've been working from home, the amount of time and space I've had to engage in creative endeavors has gone up exponentially - but on the other hand, it's become so much more difficult to focus when the world feels so uncertain and unsteady. Right now, I'm just trying to keep my head down and keep on creating - trusting that in time, the world will eventually right itself.
What have been your challenges in creating this deck?
Communication and scheduling have been the biggest unexpected landmines during this deck's creation. Now more than ever, it's really common for real-world emergencies to take one of our artists completely offline for weeks at a time. It's been a lesson in patience, persistence, and flexibility.
This deck is a collaboration of 75 artists and writers, was it difficult to work cohesively with such a big group to achieve a common goal? Did the finished product end up as you imagined?
The trick with collaborative projects is to not get too married to an idea of what it will be before all he other artists get to have their say too. At the beginning of a collaborative project like this, the core team sits down together to discuss imagery, guidelines, and create some baseline assets to give all the artists we bring on to help us work. We have talks about unity of imagery, and make welcome packets that will help guide everyone's work - but once we have all 75 artists on the project and in a server together, we have to accept and EXPECT that their presence is going to define what the work will be. None of us individually could have made this deck exactly what it is - it's a conversation, it's communication and collaboration, and it's perfectly imperfect because of this.
How will you celebrate when the deck is finally published?
Our core team loves to meet up on discord video chats at key points in our project - and project completion is a pretty lively time. We'll hang out, watch a movie together and eat a meal, and then we usually finalize the details of the next project. It's that good death card energy all over again.
What is on offer for people who pledge?
Besides just the deck itself, we have a lot of tiers full of cool merch and extras our artists have designed. Stickers and a lanyard and postcards and charms - we even have an artbook with full size borderless versions of the card art! As we've been blowing through our stretch goals, we've added a reading mat, an enamel pin, and some really cool holofoil features to the decks themselves. Right now we're working on adding a cloth deck pouch too!
To help support this amazing, collaborative creation, pledge here:
Kickstarter - Radiant Scales