ArCANIS: A Modern Animal Tarot, by David DePasquale – Book Review by Fred Patten

by Pup Matthias

Submitted by Fred Patten, Furry’s favorite historian and reviewer

ArCANIS: A Modern Animal Tarot, by David DePasquale. Illustrated.
Los Angeles, The author, July 2017, hardcover $30.00 (unpaged [168 pages).

I went to the Center Stage Gallery in Burbank, CA during August to see the “ArCANIS: A Modern Animal Tarot” art exhibit by David DePasquale; a full 78-card Tarot deck in color, divided into 22 Major Arcana cards and 56 Minor Arcana cards split into 14 cards each of the four Tarot suits (swords, wands, pentacles, and cups), with each card featuring an anthropomorphized animal. Besides the original art (for sale), there were the printed cards, a rotating enlargement slide show so the attractive stylized art could be easily seen in detail, and brief notes on the history of Tarot and the meanings of the cards.

In addition to the exhibit, visitors could buy in advance (the publication date is in September) the printed 3.5” x 5.5” deck of 78 cards in a customized tuck box, and a de luxe hardcover book showing the 78 cards individually on right-hand pages with a one-page explanation of each on the left-hand page:


Upright: Determination, Hope, Persistence

The Nine of Wands can represent searching inside yourself for the inner strength to overcome a final hurdle. You have worked through many obstacles to get to where you are now, so do not give up when you are so close!

Reversed: Defensiveness, Hesitation, Paranoia

The reversed Nine of Wands can indicate that you are slowing down in your progress toward your goal and defensive about how much you’ve been accomplishing. You’re hesitant to take on more work when you already feel like you’re drowning in it. You could use a good, long break to recuperate and gather your strength.

The Nine of Wands features an orange-&-black dragon. The jacketless book is attractively printed in color (although each card is in just one color plus black) on thick glossy paper. The binding is black cloth stamped in silver foil.










David DePasquale is a Los Angeles/Hollywood visual development artist who has worked at Nickelodeon, Disney and DreamWorks, among others. His online posts are heavy on anthropomorphic paintings. He got the inspiration for this Tarot card deck and book last November, received lots of encouragement from fellow artists, ran a Kickstarter campaign from March 17 to April 18 of this year, and raised $19,748 with a $13,000 goal. He’s been working since to complete everything; this ArCANIS art exhibit at CSG in Burbank, July 28 to September 3, is its first public release.

Fortunately, there are plenty of his Tarot cards on his website to show what they look like: modern, stylized, and bold. There are dragons, goats, cats, raccoons, eagles, lions, wolves, deer, storks, horses, bear – you name it. There are not 78 different animals and birds, but duplicates (except dragons) are kept to a minimum.

ArCANIS: A Modern Animal Tarot is a private art project and is not publicly available – but its Kickstarter is still online. For a $30 pledge, you can still get this book; or the Tarot card deck, if you prefer. For $50 you can get both the book and the card deck. See the Kickstarter for other goals, such as an enameled pin or original sketches.

DePasquale says on the Kickstarter video that he will launch ArCANIS more publicly at this year’s CTN Animation Expo, in Burbank, CA on November 17-19, 2017. CTN stands for Creative Talent Network; it’s not a fan convention but a professional animation artist’s job fair. Check out the Wikipedia entry. Furry artists and fursuit makers may be interested.

Fred Patten

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