You can discover so much when cruising around Instagram (also it helps if someone tags you. Thx, LB!). In this case I noticed a new tarot artist and one that has taken it upon himself to make a contemporary version of one of the most treasured systems around: the Tarot de Marseille. (Did you hear that gasp too?)
Artist Rosario Salerno is primarily a sculptor but came into contact with tarot at a very young age already. For the longest time he stopped reading after his priest told him he was dealing with the devil. But last year, luckily not being pestered by religious interdictions anymore, he was reminded of his love for the cards again and that made him decide to get reacquainted with a deck. This time as an art-project. The New Choice Tarot is the result and Salerno is already quite far with his prints.
Jodorowsky’s Tarot bible
The designer chose to make a version of the Tarot of Marseilles after reading The Way of Tarot by Alejandro Jodorowsky and Marianne Costa. In an interview with Tarot T-shirts (some of his work is used for prints) he said: “Jodorowsky has not only written this bible of Tarot, but he has also restored the oldest Tarot of Marseilles’s deck, together with Philippe Camoin, who is the direct descendant from the family who has the legacy to continue the Tarot of Marseilles.
Jodorowsky and Camoin have had a huge influence on Salerno’s inspiration for the New Choice Tarot. He’s tried to make his version of their classic Tarot de Marseille, respecting all the original symbols, colors and details. Of course the New Choice Tarot is not an exact copy. Those are already in existence. It is definitely a contemporary take on the TdM, with a more modern style, his own drawing style.
To make it more 20th/21st century he added just a few modern symbols. A good example is the Fool, normally represented by a court jester or bum with ripped pants or a dog tearing them down. The New Choice Tarot’s Fool is a punk character, having his jeans pulled by a dog. “The meaning of the card is about free energy, free from any idea of rules and establishment, so I thought this representation of the card as a punk or a character a little on the edge of society would be suitable.” His Tower card differs a bit from the original too, referencing a building in Berlin that is considered somewhat of a temple, a place for celebration. The Devil is definitely a little more provocative.
Other than that the deck is immediately recognizable as a Tarot de Marseille…or should I say: *influenced* by it. I for one truly like the style. The TdM’s that we know were made of woodcuts, hence the very obvious style in art and coloring. But in the case of the New Choice Tarot it just makes use of the 21st century techniques available while incorporating the whole system of the TdM and most of the same symbolism.
Purely based on the sketches that I have seen this deck – imho – deserves a place in this specific genre. I’m supporting this evolution. I would go as far as that I hope it will be recognized as a Tarot de Marseille, even though I am also sure not everyone will agree.
I hope to do a review on it one day so that readers who now steer away from a great system just because the art is unappealing, might be persuaded to dive into it…starting with the New Choice Tarot.
Release date unsure yet.