Tuesday 17 January 2017

Art in focus: 'The Star'

'The Star' Tarot represents deep personal calm, high self esteem and great understanding and fulfillment. You have endured challenges, possibly even disaster, but you have been strengthened by these difficult times and are ready for personal growth and renewal. Big changes are afoot, and thanks to 'The Star', positive ones. Have faith and believe in yourself, 'The Star' brings you hope and tranquility to enrich your life and yourself.

The general imagery is largely unchanged from the time of the Marseille Tarot to modern day. It features a nude woman kneeling between land and water, pouring water from two jugs, this is a symbol of fertility and the act of fertilizing the surrounding land. Behind her are a number of stars, the stars are 8 pointed because the eighth Tarot in the Major Acarna is strength, and represent the number 17 (the number of 'The Star') because 1+7=8.

When designing my interpretation of 'The Star' I felt it was important to give the star itself more focus than it receives in other depictions. I decided to keep the image of the 8 pointed star, as it is numerically important to Tarot, and it's symmetry is aesthetically pleasing. 
I wanted to include a female fertility symbol of my own creation, which visually moved away from the traditional interpretation, but maintained the symbolism. I chose my female to be majestically placed in the glowing light of the star, it is bathing and soothing her, she is the physical embodiment of the star on earth. Her hair flows down into the landscape, connecting her with the land and suggesting that they are bound together. As a slightly cheeky play on the 'jugs' used in decks such as Rider-Waite and Marseille, fluid flows from the woman's breasts, fertilizing the earth and fields and crops. Channeling the stars power, through her being.
The infinite mountains stretching out behind the woman represent the earth, but I chose to use mountains to reflect the loneliness of the star and the vastness of space. 
The stars which fill the sky and surround the one great star, are all constellations mapped out as we see them in the Northern Hemisphere. They show that the one star is in fact not alone, but is surrounded by infinite others across the universe.
When working on any cards relating to space I made a conscious choice to work with a lot of silver and black, and a very muted palette which reflects the world at night, as seen through human eyes. Most of the colours of the world have been washed away and replaced by gentle starlight and darkest shadow.

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