Tuesday, May 5, 2020

Featured Artist: Pamela Colman Smith

Looking to do something a little different this time for my Featured Artist post.

Pamela Colman Smith, aka "Pixie", might the most recognized artist you have never heard of.  Recognized in the sense that you know her work, even if you don't know it belongs to her and she certainly was not recognized in her time for it.

Born February 16, 1878, and died September 18, 1951, at the age of 73 Pixie spent her time among all sorts of artists, Bohemians, Suffragettes, and occultists including members of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn which she would later join.

She produced art for William Butler Yeats and Bram Stoker.

It was while she was a member of the Order of the Golden Dawn she would meet Arthur Edward Waite.  He commissioned her to produce art for a Tarot deck.   Not just the Major Arcana, but all the Lesser Arcana cards as well.

This deck became known as the Rider-Waite Tarot deck after the publisher and the A.E. White.

Pixie's name was never associated with it, until very recently, and she was only paid a flat fee for her work.

In fact, these days many Tarot aficionados who like Pixie's art will opt for the Smith-Waite Tarot deck instead.

Much of her art reflects the esoteric lifestyle she lived. All of it feels like an Art Noveau fever dream from an Authrurian age, or Pagan age, mixed with what Middle Earth must have looked like in Tolkien's minds eye.

She would often do her art while listening to music, allowing her to create without other outside distractions.

And she did covers for Bram Stoker.

The Divine Mystery of Pamela Colman Smith
Reviving a Forgotten Artist of the Occult

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