Our latest interview is with Hansjurgen Bauer, the creator of The Lost Tarot - a tarot deck that is enriched with seventy-eight cards of medieval imagery, including emperors, empresses, kings, queens, knights, and their retinues, also a mage, a hierophant, the lovers, and the common fold of Feudal England at the time of Henry VIII.
Kickstarter - The Lost Tarot
Where in the world do you call home?
I reside in Kerrville, a small town nestled among the hills, rivers, and forests of the Texas Hill Country. I also have a home in Los Angeles, California, but seldom remember to visit there. In the past couple of years, I’ve spent a good bit of time in New York City.
What was your first experience with tarot / oracle and when did you fall in love with it?
My first experience with tarot came when I was gifted a deck of the gorgeous 22 card Majors only Sola Busca tarot. After that, I was smitten.
What made you want to create your own tarot deck? What was your inspiration?
I have long had an interest in creating photo-based art, but the decision to create a tarot deck was not originally my idea.
Once, it was my desire to create a portfolio of highly distressed, antiqued photographs depicting well-known historical personages (Robin Hood, Julius Caesar, Joan of Arc, etc.) as if they had simply shown up at my door requesting that I make their portrait. For several reasons (the difficulty of finding suitable models and period-appropriate costumes), those first attempts were unsatisfactory and, in time, I moved from Los Angeles to a rural Texas town, where I soon forgot about the project.
After several years, during which I sporadically attended two local Renaissance fairs, a friend reminded me of the earlier project and suggested that most of the heavy lifting had already been done by the wonderful characters encountered at the fairs, with their fantastic costumes, armour, and period accessories. My friend further suggested I try my hand at a Tarot deck, about which I knew little at the time.
I decided to experiment with a single card, The Fool, and, if pleased with the result, would continue. To my great delight, The Fool far exceeded my expectations.
What would you say is unique about your deck?
Through trial and error, I was able to create a 22-card deck of Majors giving the impression of an authentic medieval tarot. Clearly, such vintage decks were already in existence, but mine would be different: The Lost Tarot would consist entirely of photographs, the idea being that they were created with a crude prototype box camera (a camera obscura) nearly three-and-a-half centuries before the actual intention of the first camera in 1839.
How long have you had the idea for the deck for and how long has it taken you to create it?
The first images were made around 2014. In 2017, testing the waters, I published the signed/number limited edition Majors + 4 bonus Aces. Now four years and countless hours later, I’m publishing the full 78-card deck + 2 bonus mono cards.
We are living in such crazy times. How has the pandemic affected your creativity?
Having been self-employed most of my life, I have the luxury of working from home. I’ve been blessed in having been largely unaffected by the pandemic, although I have put a few trips on the back burner.