Tuesday 24 January 2017

Art in focus: 'The Moon'

In Tarot 'The Moon' has several different meanings; fear, bewilderment, intuition, dreams. The list is rather long, and most of the connotations are negative, as the Moon illuminates your path, but his light is a reflection of the sun, not his own, so is his guidance an illusion or deception? The Moon sees the shadowy corners of your mind and knows what lurks in your sub-conscious. But The Moon also represents intuition and psychic power, follow your instincts and the moon will not lead you astray.

The traditional imagery used to depict 'The Moon' is largely unchanged from Tarots birth to modern day. The moon looks down on the earth, raining life giving rays and dew down to the ground. Between two towers sit a wolf, dog and crayfish. The crayfish is emerging from a pool which symbolises the development of consciousness, the dog and wolf represent the tame and wild sides of our minds and personalities, and a path  leads out into the distance, showing the journey you must take to reach a higher consciousness.

My interpretation of the moon purposefully has a different approach to the typical depiction of the card. Imagery of the crayfish, wolf and dog are used to reflect primal elements, evolution, different sides of our personality and the ancient fear of what lurks in the darkness. But I wanted to represent my own feelings about the night far more, and draw on the idea that everybody exposes their shadow self, their true inner feelings in the dark silence of night, which is exactly what the figures are doing.
An uninhibited celebration and embracing of basic human instincts and nature. A ritualistic, frenzied, honest appreciation of the twilight hours, and the moon. They do not fear the night, they embrace it together. I also wanted to weave the myth of 'lunacy' into the design somewhere, and that is represented by the idea that an observer may think that the figures are suffering from lunacy, but from their perspective (and the moons) they are worshiping the moon, the life he brings to the earth and each other. The figures lunar ritual is taking place within standing stones, suggesting that their practices, appreciation and basic primal instincts are ancient, almost as old as the moon itself.

When designing this card, the face of my moon felt very important. I chose to make my moon masculine (where most moons are feminine) as I was forever looking for the man in the moon as a child. I wanted my moon to represent the different phases and faces of the moon, his full face with a pleasant, contented happiness, his half face with a sad, low grimace and his sickle, almost imperceptible nothing more than a glimmer of light, seen, appreciated and understood by few. All of these emotions are a part of him and make him whole. Like the feelings of many humans (myself included) his emotions are often fractured, and the happy face he shows the world may not always be how he genuinely feels. Here he is out in full, presenting himself in all his glory to his admirers. They see every emotion of his face, for he has no reason to hide it from them, they celebrate him as a whole, loving his happiness, madness and sorrow, just as they accept their own.

'The Moon' felt to be a very important card for me personally, so I gave it great consideration when producing initial sketches. I have a long held fascination and obsession with our satellite, I spent hours looking at its craters through my telescope as a child, I had posters of moon maps on my walls as a teenager,  and I still enjoy looking up at the moon and admiring the face of my old friend still looking back at me.     

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