The Fool

I think I fashioned myself a romantic because I grew up in a Southwest Florida suburb looking out my bedroom window and never seeing what was there but rather seeing beyond it. Every new girl I met had a mystery, every mix tape had a secret message, every sunset was really mine whether anyone else knew it or not. I was the fool. Hell, I am the fool. And like the fool, I eventually left that suburb without much of a plan.

Recently, I was asked to take part in an art show inspired by the tarot (as an aside, the show opens on July 19th, at LAST Projects Gallery in Hollywood - Not only was I honored to be joining so many artists I respect but I was also genuinely interested in the theme after having just taken a course on reading tarot specifically in the hopes of finding some inspiration for my art and writing.

As soon as I was told about this show's theme, I immediately knew I'd have to do the Fool card, one of my favorites of the deck for many reasons; chiefly because he is the romantic.

The Fool illustration pre-colorization

I had a basic understanding of the Fool card but the tarot course went much more in-depth than what I'd read in passing. But as every human has his/her own mythology, I had a lot to draw on when adhering to the symbols of my Fool while honoring the universal symbols of the card.

The Fool in all his glory


In my rendition of the Fool, he is seen, as usual, prancing toward the edge of a cliff. His eyes are hopelessly focused on a blue moon that beckons him with a grin. Originally, the clownish mask that my Fool wears (somehow inspired by Punchinello and Pinocchio) was to be his true face, but as I worked on other cards in the series, this didn't seem to make sense. Something beyond me told me the Fool is wearing a mask.

Likewise, instead of a knap sack, he's carrying a scarecrow. The scarecrow is taken directly from a dream I had as a teenager in which I was trying to impress a girl I thought I was in love with; when I was rejected, I smashed myself up against a boulder repeatedly until my spine was snapped. At this point, I became the scarecrow.

Of course, art is always up for interpretation, but when I see the mask, I see a false smile, a nose that indicates lies, possibly even forced confidence. But that confidence, as porcelain and frail as it maybe, as fake as a mask, still gives my Fool the courage to soldier onward. After all, this is his unique mask and it fits him well.

The scarecrow ties into this somewhat, providing my Fool the same comfort as a cherished stuffed animal might, despite it being a man-made effigy. The scarecrow may also represent his past foolish behaviors and possibly displaced fear over the journey (as evidenced by the scarecrow's expression). You could also see him as half of a man or a burden of some sort that my Fool has carried, like a cross, through his travels. 

The dog in my Fool card was originally supposed to be a hyena but I felt the hyena expressed too much cowardice and pack mentality when my Fool's journey is primarily his own. Instead, my dog represents a combination of intelligence, faith, and loyalty to a cause, so I created a sort of hybrid fox/wolf that is pointing the way forward.

Some may see this card as a confirmed tragedy because of the shark marauding the waters directly below the cliff, but what risk could be worth taking that wasn't the slightest bit scary? I chose a light pink color for the shark to indicate that this is actually a benign event that can look scary from afar. I have full faith that my Fool will survive his fall and make it to the island in the distance.

And what about that island? The palm trees indicate the typical paradise island setting but they surround a pink Space Mountain-like structure. This is purely a personal reference; every time I go to Disneyland, I have a huge debate on whether I will ride Space Mountain. Typically I do and it terrifies me to the point of regret.

But there's also a lot of romance assigned to this ride for me, probably owing a lot of it to that same fear. How better to describe the journey of the Fool after his initial plunge? Honestly, do we have many occurrences in our lives where we take a leap of faith and that's all that is asked of us? That's often just the introduction to the adventure.

Instead of a rose, my Fool has picked a poppy. The Wizard of Oz reference wasn't intentional, but with the poppies and the scarecrow, it's not hard to see a subconscious influence from another great fool's journey. The poppies bring sleep and dreams and the Fool is a dreamer. He offers the poppy to the moon as a romantic tribute while losing himself in his dreams.

Again, this piece will be on display on July 19th, at LAST Projects Gallery in Hollywood - You can see the Facebook event page for it here: