Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Patrick Valenza's Whispers from an Inkwell and Other Projects

An Inkwell
Patrick Valenza's recent projects

Originally published August 21st, 2014

A Word or Two Re Patrick Valenza's Recent Works

By Viv Dulac

I’ll just get this out of the way: I'm in love with Patrick Valenza.

All right, let me clarify that. I'm not in love with the man Patrick Valenza - although he is a handsome, personable guy, with a wavy mane that’s definitely romance novel cover material. (Well, for one thing, he’s married. Some girls just have all the luck.) But I'm certainly in love with the artist Patrick Valenza since discovering his Deviant Moon Tarot, which was published by US Games in 2008.

However, as much as I love Patrick’s work now (can I call you Patrick, Patrick, even though we have never spoken?), mine was not a love at first sight. In fact, it took me a while to understand why other Tarotists were gushing so over a deck that I found, alternatively, silly and sinister. Months passed until I started to get used to those unusual images, and more months still until they started to intrigue me. I finally, tentatively, bought a (gently) used copy of the Premier edition, and the rest, as they say, is history.

Made from the stuff of nightmares - of elegantly drawn nightmares, infused with a wry, dark, all-pervasive sense of humor - the Deviant Moon was immediately received with open arms in the Tarot community. So much so, in fact, that we have already seen three iterations of it:

  • A standard edition in a tuck box;
  • A Premier edition in a bigger box, with a beautiful 17” x 20” spread sheet that you can use for Tarot readings or display on your wall as art; and
  • A borderless edition that came out just last year and somehow feels like a whole new deck.

Spurred by its success, Patrick has been working in a so-called “Sister” Tarot, which has evolved since into two decks: the upcoming 333 Tarot, also known as Trionfi della Luna or “Black Deck,” and the mysterious 222 Tarot or “Red Deck.” Both will apparently be self-published; and a limited, majors-only edition of 100 copies of the Black Deck has an expected release date of September 1st. Patrick himself has said that this new deck is “not as ‘dark’ as the DM” but that, like her predecessor, “overflows with mischief.”

Meanwhile, he released in June of this year a deck that, in his own words, “although neither an Oracle nor a Tarot, it just may spark a strange chord in your imagination all the same!”  Also self-published, this “art deck” is a 30-card little wonder called “Whispers from an Inkwell.”

Whispers is unique in many respects; not the least of them is the fact that the backs are not uniform: each one features a different drawing on a black background. (For some reason, I expected that either the backs or the fronts would assemble into a larger picture, like the majors of John Matthews’ Grail Tarot or the Maya-inspired Xultun. That’s not the case here.)

Whispers showcases the strange creatures one comes to expect from Patrick, some more or less recognizably taken from myth and legend (demons, mermaids), and others born of his inexhaustible imagination: armless women with their breasts vertically placed, or with supernumerary breasts; all manners of winged, indescribable beings; a crowned, pregnant figure with a skull face that may or may not be Death…

Like Deviant Moon’s menacing reveries, this may not be everybody’s cup of tea. And it may not be suited for divination – although I doubt it, since anything can be used for divination in the end (tea leaves, coffee grounds, lines in the sand, the flight pattern of birds…) But for Deviant Moon lovers like moi, who are anxiously expecting her Sister deck(s), Whispers from the Inkwell is a Godsend. And, if you feel that way, too, I suggest you hurry: Patrick only made a small edition of 1,000 copies that is rapidly going out of stock.

To get this quirky little deck, or for news and updates concerning Patrick Valenza’s past and future works, you can check out: Deviant Moon on WordPress, or Patrick’s (perchance too many?) Facebook pages:

Deviant Moon on Facebook
222 Tarot on Facebook
P. Valenza Art
Trionfi della Luna

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