It all started with a dream. It wasn't a dream of all-encompassing vision, just an image. The dream was of a fancifully colored, ornate, but highly impractical being, dancing in the desert of my subconscious. It almost seemed completely real. The next few days, I kept trying to figure out who this enigmatic creature was. He was "The Fool", aka Card 0, from the tarot. I grew up with a Rider-Waite tarot deck in my desk, since before I could talk, and certainly long before I had any clue what the cards actually meant, or what to do with them. The imagery always fascinated me, with its strange fusion of religious iconography, medieval life, and metaphorically detailed presentation.
The Fool was challenging me. "Make my deck," he dared, knowing full well that drawing 78 pictures is almost a fool's errand. I accepted his challenge, and after a year and a half of work, it is finally complete.
Many friends have asked me, "What is the point of this deck?" In all truth, the overall message was not even known to me, until about 8 cards in. A pattern started to form, which became very clear. As a child, gazing at Rider-Waite's deck, the medieval life portrayed, seemed very alien to me. Knights. Pages. Stonemasons. Kings. Queens. Priestesses. Magicians. Few of these things have survived into our modern experience. At this point, I knew I could make these creatures look like anything, and still have them retain their intended meaning. This is the true magic of tarot. Even if we, as a people, mutate into something alien, we will no doubt be ruled by that which the tarot informs : Love, life, loss, greed, desire, love, hate, evil, gratitude, judgment, etc. These concepts would still define us, even if we were all psychedelic colored squid crab monsters.
As for the tools used to design the deck, every picture was done in vector format, drawn in Adobe Illustrator. It's certainly not the easiest way to render these, but it's graphical nature looked the closest to the things I've seen in my head.
Life cannot continue without mutation. It's the beginning of the end, and the end of beginning, all at the same time, building to one reality : Survival.
– Mario Rosa, creator of The Mutation Tarot
"The Mutation of a Tarot Deck" - Spiral Nature Magazine