From Franco-Georgian surrealist artist Nino Japaridze, art dealer Steve Lucas, and U.S. Games comes what may well be the most interesting and important tarot deck of 2014. The Japaridze Tarot, by Nino Japaridze, joins the Dali Universal as a serious contribution to the tarot world from a popular surrealist artist.
The first thing you will notice about Japaridze Tarot is its exquisite packaging and presentation. This deck and book set come in an artistic keepsake box. The 175-page accompanying book is no simple little white book. Art dealer Steve Lucas, who collaborated on the tarot project from its beginning, wrote the Japaridze Tarot book. Color images of each of the seventy-eight cards illustrate the book. The book includes two original tarot spreads by Lynn Araujo and Jody Boginski.
With the holiday season upon us, it is important to note that the Japaridze Tarot is a thoughtful and affordable gift for the art-lovers on your shopping list, even if they are not tarot aficionados. Japaridze Tarot will be great fun on anyone’s coffee table, and would be a great icebreaker at sophisticated cocktail parties.
The card images are beautiful, colorful, deep and evocative. The images span a wide variety of art styles and media. In some ways, this makes the deck feel a bit inconsistent. Some of the images are clearly recognizable as the cards they are, and slightly reminiscent of Waite images. Other cards are re-interpretations of the archetypes. Some of the images are incredibly clever. The Three of Fire, for instance, is a hot air balloon.
Although neither Lucas nor Japaridze have a background in tarot, the images and text of Japaridze Tarot are deep, thoughtful and evocative. Steve Lucas’ writing style is personal and readable. Japaridze’s cultural experience may be evident in her interpretation of a few cards, but so is her obvious understanding of the tarot archetypes.
The term “art deck” is often used in the tarot community to describe beautiful, artistic decks that aren’t exactly readable. Art decks are more of interest to collectors than to tarot readers. Japaridze is of the rare breed of art deck that is both collectable and supremely readable. The art of Nino Japaridze lends itself beautifully to the soulful and intuitive process of card divination. The lens through which Japaridze and Lucas see tarot brings a new depth to my own understanding of the Fool’s Journey.
— Christiana Gaudet, Tarot Trends