The Knight of Swords came to me spontaneously amidst a lecture on the meaning of the Minor Arcana. The concept for some sort of “video tarot” appeared to me in which cards are somehow selected at random but presented as 10-second bursts of video imagery and music.
For the Knight of Swords, I saw a slowly panning shot of dead trees losing their few remaining dried leaves to violent gusts of wind in the night, lightning illuminating a twisted sculpture of metal, an indiscernible mass of razor-studded limbs, bladed helmets, and thrusting swords in a stalemate of confusion.
For the illustration of the Knight of Swords, I took the basic concept but late in the illustration, I opted out of using the dead trees and lightning because I feared they would render the illustration even more confusing than I’d intended.
Yet, when I look at it in its watercoloured conclusion, I can’t help but feel the dead trees and lightning are still there – just out of frame. I used a tornado to unite the Knight of Swords into one being because this isn’t an army of knights fighting each other; rather it’s one knight in various stages of being just as one mind has several conflicting ideas. The uses of reds and purples were to perpetuate a sense of violence that accompanies states of confusion for me personally.
All knight cards have their horses and the Knight of Swords’ horse is split, facing opposite directions, actually being pulled together and apart at the same time by barbed chains. Blades are pointed outward and inward, destructive and self-destructive, the blind desperation of confusion. I can’t say whether the metal eyes of the horse can see but the knights have no vision in their dagger-like helmets.