Last week, I was delighted to unbox the Light Visions Tarot (James R. Eads, 2nd Edition) and compare it with the Prisma Visions Tarot (James R. Eads, 3rd Edition). You can find the video comparison of the two decks here. James was also kind enough to answer a few questions for me:
How and when did you first get interested in the tarot?
My interest in tarot began about ten years ago. I was drawn to the idea of tarot as an art object, something that has not only survived over the centuries but has also been reinvented and reimagined by countless artists throughout time. The tarot as a tool for divination is inarguably what makes it so magical and appealing to so many people, but it as a form of art is what drew me in.
Which was your first deck?
My first deck was the classic Raider-Waite deck, I remember buying one in highschool not really knowing what tarot was. When making the Light Visions and Prisma Visions I used this deck as a reference for symbolism that would appear throughout the tarot.
What made you decide to create your own deck?
The idea to create my own deck actually started from a gig poster commission for a client of mine. The image was of a tarot reading and in it were the first 12 cards that I ended up implementing into the Light Visions Tarot. I had a lot of fun creating these images and so I decided to keep going in an effort to create a full 78 card deck.
What was the impetus behind the Light Visions Tarot?
Something that was important to me when creating this deck was to create something that had a timeless quality to it. With the first edition of the Light Visions tarot each deck came housed in a hand branded wooden box. I wanted it to seem as if this object could have come from any point in time.
Were there any cards that you found particularly tricky? Can you say a bit about that?
The minor arcana cards in general took much longer to develop than the major cards. For these I wanted to tell a story across all 14 cards, not only in that they would all line up to form a full image but that also each card influences the storyline of the card preceding and following. Telling this story was tricky but in the end it was rewarding and has become one of my favorite parts of the deck.
Which cards brought you particular joy, and why?
I think the cards that I took a little more symbolic liberties on were exciting to create. The hanged man for example, is rather a floating man in the water. The devil is the darkening and unknown forest rather than a figure. The sun, a pool of melting flowers rather than the classic glowing orb.
Did you always intend to create a full colour version, what became the Prisma Visions Tarot?
Not at all, Prisma Visions was created after Light Visions was finished. Initially it began as 8×10 limited edition full color prints of the major arcana cards, as part of the kickstarter I ran for the project. But I found myself halfway through Prisma Visions and the reception was very positive so I decided to see it through.
Do you read professionally? Do you read for yourself?
I don’t read professionally but I do readings for a lot of friends, I love when I do a reading and the reaction is “wow I can’t believe how much that relates to my life right now”. Seeing people smiling as I’m telling them about what the cards are saying is always a rewarding experience.
What is currently on your creative table?
I’m actually working on a deck of playing cards right now that I am hoping to launch later this year. Having the experience of making a tarot deck is making the playing card deck simultaneously much easier and much more difficult as I am trying to pack as much symbolism and imagery into these cards as I have with the previous decks. I’m hoping to create an oracle deck down the line as well.
Is there anything else you would care to share with my audience?
We are going to be at Wanderlust 108 this year, a traveling mindfulness festival across the US. We’re going to be offering tarot 101 workshops as well as have a pop up shop of the Prisma Visions shop. We’ll be in almost every major city across the US, come find us in person or head to www.prismavisionstarot.com !