Tarot Deck

Skowhegan Alliance Alumni Publication 2016

Deadline: WEDNESDAY, October 12



It is a game of pictures: a mysterious template that seeks to offer guidance through the murky, devastating, ecstasy that is human existence. Start at zero, gather all of your tools and begin stumbling, unraveling and ascending your way through it. Who needs a map?

There are hundreds if not thousands of themed Tarot decks. Forget Rider-Waite, forget the cat decks and the cyber goth decks. We are making our own! This iteration of the Skowhegan Alliance alumni publication is taking on a new, more mystical format: a tarot deck. The deck’s theme will be loosely based on a quote regarding the first Chaos Magician Austin Spare, “diagrams of ideas which I have quite failed to unravel.” 

Alumni and faculty are asked to submit artwork for the major arcana cards, which will be printed in a limited edition, functional tarot deck. To forge a degree of visual consistency, four artists are designing each of the suits of the minor arcana: Elijah Burgher (A '11) is designing cups, Melissa Brown (A '02) is designing wands, Alison Saar (F '93) is designing swords, and John Walter (A '12) is designing pentacles. Christopher Carroll (A '08) is designing the card back.


  • We are soliciting images for cards in the Major Arcana – The Fool, The Magician, The Priestess, etc. — to be printed in a functional Tarot deck.
  • We encourage works in all media (painting, drawing, text, photo, etc.) that relate to the card you select—visually, emotionally, spiritually, diagrammatically or otherwise.
  • Please submit only one image for each card, with a maximum of four cards per artist. 
  • Your artwork should be sized to fit a 4.75”x2.75” Tarot card. If your image is a slightly different aspect ratio, It may be cropped during the design or printing process. You will be contacted should this occur. If your image is a wildly different aspect ratio (i.e. horizontal) your artwork will not be eligible for the Tarot deck. 
  • Please do not submit artwork with the card name already on it. If you are submitting an image from a Tarot deck you have already made, please remove the text from it. We will add card names, as well as your name, to each card so each one may function as a discrete artwork. 
  • If more than one submission is received for a card, the Tarot organizers will pick the artwork that best fits within the the deck, both thematically and with the Minor Arcana. 
  • Submissions will be capped for cards that have received too many images. Please submit early if you have specific choices in mind. 
  • To compensate for production costs, decks will be made available for sale at our launch event and online. Artists whose work is selected will be given a deck as a small thanks for making this project possible. 
  • IMAGE SPECIFICATIONS: at least 1500x900 pixels, 300dpi, .jpg or .png format.
    Guides: Illustrator  /  Photoshop
    The submission form has a 1MB upload cap for images – please submit a smaller resolution file and we will contact you for the full size version upon selection.

  • If you have any questions, please contact Paige at plaino@skowheganart.org at least 4 days before the deadline.



Submission form


Elijah Burgher

Elijah Burgher is an artist and occasional writer currently based in Berlin. He was featured in the 2014 Whitney Biennial (selected by Anthony Elms), the 2014 Gwangju Biennial (as part of AA Bronson's "House of Shame"), The Nothing That Is at the Contemporary Art Museum of Raleigh, North Carolina, and The Temptation of AA Bronson at the Witte de With Center for Contemporary Art, Rotterdam, among others. His work has been discussed in The New York Times, Art in America, ArtReview, Artforum.com and was included in VITAMIN D2, the hardcover survey of contemporary drawing. He recently completed a collaborative publication with Richard Hawkins, "Sperm Cult," forthcoming from Bad Dimension Press. Burgher received a MFA from the School of the Art Institute, Chicago and a BA from Sarah Lawrence College in Bronxville, NY. He is represented by Western Exhibitions in Chicago and Horton Gallery in New York City. 

Melissa Brown

Melissa Brown was born in New Jersey and now works in Brooklyn.  During the 2009 Nuit Blanche, she hosted ‘How To Win The Lottery’ in the Toronto financial district. The goal of the performance was to win the lottery with thousands of other people by playing identical sets of numbers, attempting to make collective fantasy a reality. She designed a deck of cards called The Tabloid Deck, which assigns language from Tabloid Magazines to 52 cards that randomly form absurdist (but plausible) Supermarket Tabloid headlines as you play cards. She currently organizes winner-take-all poker games that are played for art; each game produces an art collection formed through chance. These poker games have taken place at the think tank Where, Nada New York 2015, Essex Flowers and at Safe Gallery. Her paintings and animations take influence from fantasy-related paper ephemera: money, lottery tickets, playing cards. She has been the subject of solo exhibitions at Magenta Plains, Bellwether, CANADA, Kansas, Essex Flowers in New York City and internationally at Kenny Schacter, Rove in London and Roberto Paradise in San Juan.  She was awarded the Joan Mitchell grant for painting in 2012.

Alison Saar

Alison Saar was born in Los Angeles, California.  She studied art and art history at Scripps College and received an MFA from the Otis Art Institute. She  received the United States Artist Fellowship in 2012 and has also been awarded the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship and two National Endowment Fellowships. Alison has exhibited at many galleries and museums, including the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden and the Whitney Museum of American Art.  Her art is represented in the collections of the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Baltimore Art Museum, the Modern Museum of Art and the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

John Walter

John Walter (b. Dartford, 1978) is an artist and academic working across a diverse range of media that includes painting, video and installation. He studied at The Ruskin School of Drawing and Fine Art at The University of Oxford, The Slade School of Fine Art UCL and is currently completing a PhD in the Faculty of Architecture and The Built Environment at The University of Westminster, London. His PhD, entitled Alien Sex Club - Educating audiences about continuing rates of HIV transmission using art and design, explores the spatial properties of gay bathhouses and saunas in order to inform curating his own maximalist artistic aesthetic representations of HIV. He was awarded the Sainsbury Scholarship at The British School at Rome in 2006. His work is held by a number of public collections including The Walker Art Gallery in Liverpool and The Ashmolean Museum in Oxford. Recent exhibitions include Alien Sex Club Ambika P3 London and Camp & Furnace Liverpool 2015, Courtship Disorder White Cubicle Toilet Gallery London 2015, Turn My Oyster Up Whitstable Bienniale 2014, The Oil Baron's Club Smart Gallery Aberdeen 2012. He is currently Resident Artist in Infection at UCL supported by a Wellcome Trust Large Arts Award for his collaboration with Professor Gregory Towers entitled CAPSID. His commission for the new London super sewer, Tideway, will be installed at Chambers Wharf in autumn 2016.

Chris Carroll

Christopher Carroll studio practice shifts between printmaking, video, electronics, and sculpture – his work is, ultimately, absurd, depressing, frustrating and potentially beautiful. Despite the reoccurring themes of defeat found throughout his practice his work is not that of a cynic but instead that of a Romantic; its central operation is to make the insignificant appear monumental, the empty full, and the shallow deep. He is currently infatuated with re‑visualizing external spaces as well as internal psychological spaces. More dramatically put, his practice can be described as desperately looking for the ghost in a potentially vacant machine. Christopher Carroll received his MFA from Massachusetts College of Art and Design, his BFA from Virginia Commonwealth University, and has exhibited both nationally and internationally. Christopher attended Skowhegan in 2008 and has worked as Skowhegan’s Program Coordinator as well as run the campus media lab for the past 7 years.