A Re-imagined Tarot Card with a Romantic Past

Six of Cups, Sweetheart Come

This Saturday, March 16th, Modern Eden Gallery presents Tarot: Art of Fortune. 78 artists re-imagine the entire deck of tarot cards. I chose the Six of Cups. 

The Muy Romantico Back Story

I want to take you back to December of 2010. I was in Lafayette, California (East, east Bay area), living alone for the first time in...well, ever. I was in the middle of a divorce. It was a time in my life that was both dark and exciting, and I was relating to the music of Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds more than ever. His lyrics just get the imagery flowing in my head! So I wanted to paint something inspired by a line from his song, Sweetheart Come:

Come over here, babe. It ain't that bad I don't claim to understand The troubles that you've had. But the dogs you say they fed you to Lay their muzzles in your lap And the lions that they led you to Lie down and take a nap.

For me, this line speaks of a "tragic" person, someone who complain about the world being against them. But maybe this person has a revelation and learns that they will be OK. The world may look pretty dangerous but so far you're doing fine, you know? Anyway, I wanted to paint something about this girl. Something beautiful and kind of funny. 

So many of Cave's songs are about dark haired women. I'm all about that! So I went to finding a raven-haired model to work with. My first thought was of a young woman who had contacted me a couple years earlier. At the time I ran a costumed life drawing studio and she was interested in coming out from the Bay Area to model. There were transportation problems or something so that never worked out.

What can I say about this girl? The word statuesque may have been invented for her. She's fucking gorgeous. So now that I was in the area I went ahead and contacted her about modeling. She was into the idea and we eventually came up with a time to meet up and talk about it. Why not during my company Christmas party? 

I won't go into all the details except to say that we hit it off right away and we haven't been apart much since. Now I'm engaged to marry this model. What can I say? when it's right, its right. 

But what about the Sweetheart Come painting? Honestly it fell by the wayside. Amanda has been the muse for a lot of my art over the last couple years but this idea got put on a back burner in favor of other projects. I guess I've felt a bit like a flake for that, it being the "Reason We Met" and all. With the invitation from Warholian's Michael Cuffe to be in a tarot card show, I had a reason to resurrect this piece.

Reference photo, Ben Walker, 2013 

So What About the Tarot Connection?

Don't worry, I know there is no real mysticism or power in tarot cards. It's the ambiguity of tarot cards and astrology that keeps people interested. But that's what makes them harmless too. When I read the description of the Six of Cups tarot card it all clicked. 

  • The Six of Cups represents innocence
  • Being blissfully unaware
  • Feeling nostalgic
  • It is a truism that there is violence, anger and mean-spiritedness in the world. Certainly there is enough of this, but there is also much good will and caring.
  • I don't know, this just sounds like my concept for the Sweetheart Come piece. Even if it doesn't totally work, who cares? Rather than force another "illustration", I wanted to make something meaningful to me.

    Enjoy.

    And buy Nick Cave & Bad Seeds  new album - Push The Sky Away.

    And buy No More Shall We Part

    Push the Sky Away
    By Nick Cave & Bad Seeds
    No More Shall We Part
    By Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds