David Aronson and the Alchemical Wedding

I’ve featured some of his work before, in my post on the Tarot. His name is David Aronson and he’s the artist behind Alchemical Wedding. Not all of Aronson’s work is dark, but some of it certainly is.  First, a few of his Alice-themed pieces from his take on Alice Through the Looking Glass:

david-aronson-looking-gla

David Aronson – Looking Glass

David Aronson - Banquet

David Aronson – Banquet

David Aronson - Red King

David Aronson – Red King

Now some of the illustrations done for Tom Bradley‘s book We’ll See Who Seduces Whom:

David Aronson - We'll See Who Seduces Whom (1)

David Aronson – We’ll See Who Seduces Whom (1)

David Aronson -We'll See Who Seduces Whom (2)

David Aronson -We’ll See Who Seduces Whom (2)

David Aronson -We'll See Who Seduces Whom (3)

David Aronson -We’ll See Who Seduces Whom (3)

David Aronson -We'll See Who Seduces Whom (4)

David Aronson -We’ll See Who Seduces Whom (4)

David Aronson -We'll See Who Seduces Whom (5)

David Aronson -We’ll See Who Seduces Whom (5)

David Aronson - Summertime

David Aronson – Summertime

David Aronson - The Bath

David Aronson – The Bath

David Aronson - The Mountain Where the World Began

David Aronson – The Mountain Where the World Began

David Aronson - (Title Unknown)

David Aronson – (Title Unknown)

The Alchemical Wedding (Official Site)

Comments:

From Rev. Benjamin M. Root IV on October 27, 2011
I’m not against edgy, or even creepy. But I just dont “get” this style…
There’s disturbing that you just can’t not look at.
And then there’s disturbing that makes me just say “why bother?”

From pipstarr72 on October 27, 2011
Ah, but aren’t you making the mistake of projecting your impressions and feelings onto others? There are pieces that are disturbing enough to me that I can’t really stand to look at them for long (though they’re rare), but other people seem to have no problem with them. And, after all, many people are disturbed by simple child nudity in art, and yet I find it to be incredibly beautiful in most contexts. We are all different.

One question that arises with regard to disturbing art is desensitization. Is it good for us to get used to such things as violent imagery? I suggest that many people arguing against imagery that desensitizes us are begging the question. The assumption that desensitization is necessarily a bad thing is intrinsic to such moralist arguments. Personally I think a degree of desensitization is not only okay, it is good for us. Who wants to freak out at a little violent or sexual imagery? To me that is far more unhealthy and neurotic than being desensitized to nearly everything.

As for Aronson’s style, well it is rooted in the lowbrow art movement, which combines pop art, children’s illustration, fine art . . . it pretty much appropriates everything. The point, I think, is to eschew limitations, both cultural and social. As with a lot of lowbrow art, Aronson often mixes humor and horror for a rather peculiar effect that is its own kind of transgression. The fact that we don’t always know how to feel about these pieces is, I think, precisely the point.

From Rev. Benjamin M. Root IV on October 27, 2011
Just as a caveat…I want to defend my position by just reminding that it’s only a position. I enjoy art to the point that I even enjoy not liking art. It’s part of what makes art. ‘Tis better for art to offend than to have no effect at all.

The Sun Tarot (and a Few Others)

I’ve long held a fascination with the Tarot, particularly the Major Arcana.  Although there is a generalized agreed-upon symbology with the Tarot deck, it is not always adhered to in the designs of the various decks.  Nevertheless, one card that tends to change very little is Arcanum 19: The Sun.  Considered by many  the best card in the deck, it almost always features one or two children as the central figure(s), along with the anthropomorphized sun itself.  When there are two children represented, they are usually male and female, often nude.  I’ve never found it particularly surprising that this card has developed as it has over the ages, with happy naked children under a blazing sun representing all that is beautiful and magnificent about life and the best aspects of mankind. Here’s a pretty good summary of all that this important card represents to Tarot readers.

I don’t know the artist or the original deck from which this first card is taken, but I know it is an old one and has been reproduced many times.

unknown-the-sun-tarot

(Artist Unknown) – The Sun (1)

A digital version of the card above:

(Artist Unknown) - The Sun (2)

(Artist Unknown) – The Sun (2)

Angie Mason - The Sun Tarot

Angie Mason – The Sun Tarot

I like the rough woodcut-like design here:

(Artist Unknown) - The Sun (3)

(Artist Unknown) – The Sun (3)

(Artist Unknown) - The Sun (4)

(Artist Unknown) – The Sun (4)

Bea Nettles’ Mountain Dream Tarot is notable for being the first tarot deck to use photographic imagery.  If anyone has a better/larger scan of this, I would love to have it:

[151016] Ever since I first read this post, I was fascinated about this odd niche of tarot art.  I also learned something of the personal story behind this particular deck and purchased it to offer you better quality scans.

Bea Nettles - Mountain Dream Tarot (Sun)

Bea Nettles – Mountain Dream Tarot (Sun)

Bea Nettles - Mountain Dream Tarot (Star)

Bea Nettles – Mountain Dream Tarot (Star)

In a short message, Nettles shared additional background information which gives context to the deck.  The new deck available at her website has changed slightly over the three editions. The models are all the same except for the Pages of Cups and Swords who are are her son and daughter, and the Page of Wands who was a young student at Penland. With the introduction of PhotoShop, she was tempted to retouch and modify elements that had been very difficult to create in a conventional darkroom. Each time the cards were reprinted, the format changed to become a bit longer and narrower. This was due to the box design, an element outside her control and thus the cards are now the “standard” tarot size. Given the human interest story behind this deck, it was suggested that it be accompanied by a story board, telling some of personal details and anecdotes.  Most of the models are her family and friends and a few willing Penland craftspeople that she had met.  Penland is a crafts school in North Carolina where most of the deck was shot. -Ron

The Alchemical Wedding Tarot by Dave Aronson is one of my favorite decks overall. You gotta love that sun:

David Aronson - Alchemical Wedding Tarot - The Sun

David Aronson – Alchemical Wedding Tarot – The Sun

MichelleX - Savage Tarot - The Sun

MichelleX – Savage Tarot – The Sun

A few from DeviantArt:

Exiled Chaos - Dreampunk - Sun Tarot

Exiled Chaos – Dreampunk – Sun Tarot

Mako-fufu - The Sun

Mako-fufu – The Sun

Niamh O'Connor (Sive) - The Sun Tarot

Niamh O’Connor (Sive) – The Sun Tarot

Leister - The Sun Tarot

Leister – The Sun Tarot

The rest of these sun cards are all from unknown artists and decks.

(Artist Unknown) - The Sun (5)

(Artist Unknown) – The Sun (5)

(Artist Unknown) - The Sun (6)

(Artist Unknown) – The Sun (6)

(Artist Unknown) - The Sun (7)

(Artist Unknown) – The Sun (7)

(Artist Unknown) - The Sun (8)

(Artist Unknown) – The Sun (8)

And here’s an assortment of cards other than The Sun featuring girls:

(Artist Unknown) - The Devil

(Artist Unknown) – The Devil

David Aronson - Alchemical Wedding Tarot - The World

David Aronson – Alchemical Wedding Tarot – The World

(Artist unknown) - The High Priestess

(Artist unknown) – The High Priestess

Angie Mason: Playful Vision Art (Official Site)

SpiralUpward: Mountain Dream Tarot by Bea Nettles

David Aronson: The Alchemical Wedding (Official Site)

MichelleX [creative] (Official Site)

DeviantArt: ExiledChaos

DeviantArt: Sive

Art of Embarr: The Art & Designs of Niamh o’Connor (Official Site)

DeviantArt: Mako-fufu

Mako-fufu (Official Site)

DeviantArt: Leister