Le Tarot Tournant (Bill's Tarot)


La Fin

I have been hesitant to start a thread here, as I've never been too keen on publicly discussing work in progress, and I'm not exactly sure of what's ahead. But since a few people have asked about the background of my deck, and a few others have asked about its future...
Here I am.
And what better day to start a creation thread than January 1st?

May 1984 : 22 trumps.
Oct 3, 2011 : 40 pips.
Nov 8, 2012 : Various title & cover cards; Various back patterns.
Nov 11, 2012 : 16 courts.
Deck complete.
Jan 22, 2013 : First printed working proof decks done.
Sept 22, 2013 : Deck revisions completed.
Jan 6, 2014 : Prototype first-draft book & prototype boxes completed.
Mar 20, 2014: Two fully-realized working proof copies presented for review.
Mar 2, 2016: Advance Special Ed. Decks received.
Mar 12, 2016 Special Ed. folder.
Mar 20, 2016: Website launched- https://nopotatopress.wordpress.com/portfolio/le-tarot-tournant-2/
Jul 14, 2017: This creation thread closed- Aeclectic Forum shutdown.

Thank you everyone for following this project, particularly those who have been here since the start, nearly 10 years ago. And for everyone who took the time to post their comments here, I'd like you to know that I realize that coming up with something to say about someone's art takes an effort, particularly under guarded conditions, so I really do appreciate every word that has been written here. It has been a great help.

I'm sorry I haven't launched a finished deck yet, and I thank those who have stuck with me for their patience. I had hoped to make my public launch from here, and complete the story where it began, but it seems that is not to be so. If the day ever comes, I suppose I'll rent a hall in some other place, and I'm sure some of you will be there.

In any case, going forward, you can see updates and info on my website:

For those who find this thread in the future, I've recently been asked to write an artist's statement that summarizes the full project. Some of this has appeared earlier in various discussions here, but here it is:


Bill Wolf
Le Tarot Tournant
Hypotyposis Systematis Mundam

If you look up at the night sky, you'll get an overall impression. If you look closer, you'll begin to see features and patterns emerge. If you stay with it, and look deeper and deeper, over time you'll see more and more and more, and find more and more order, even if you never reach the point of finding "everything" there is to find. This is the idea at the root of this project.

Le Tarot Tournant: Hypotyposis Systematis Mundam, is conceived as a non-linear book that addresses the nature of archetypal symbolism and the historical underpinnings of the traditional tarot. Rather than communicating in the orderly, start-to-finish line of a traditional book, it presents its information by weaving together a series of inter-related points into a set of conclusions that are reached by accumulation, rather than progression.

This is accomplished by means of both physical and conceptual structure. A custom designed box is opened to reveal two printed packets, conceived as two halves of the human brain. The right side contains the visual material: A deck of 78 tarot cards that I designed to present new interpretations, yet with imagery that fits comfortably within a long-established tradition. I painted these in watercolor over a period of many years. As the cards are shuffled and dealt, new narratives will emerge from the relationships between them. The left side contains the academic basis for the imagery: A series of 11 small volumes of text and diagrams, outlining the design process of the cards, together with general historical background information on early tarot design traditions and original interpretation of historical material. These 11 volumes are intended to be read in random order, thus imparting additional levels of understanding as the reader forges meaningful interrelationships between volumes, both physically and intellectually. (For example, some volumes are accordion fold, and are intended to align and relate vertically with one another. Other texts cross-reference design and historical context between themselves.)

For this project, the image serves the idea. Rather than simply producing a re-rendering of traditional tarot symbols in a new artistic style, I've concentrated much of my efforts in working out and defining an elaborate symbol system, and then "telling" the idea in an organized visual language. An overall Master Plan was conceived for the cards, then great effort went into fitting each design element to that plan and designing individual cards to convey the overarching concepts. Over time, this project has developed into an investigation into the differences between being an illustration of something, and actually "being" the something. It's not intended as simply another new picture of old tarot cards.


I'd also like to thank MrsOnePotato, who's been with me the whole way.

I'll end with the beginning:

"This looks like that,
But it is not that."



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Bravo Sir, bravo