Blog Post 2 – Autonomic Tarot


Emily Dakin

Sophy Hollington’s Autonomic Tarot

Sophy Hollington’s Autonomic Tarot is a contemporary nod to the wood-cut poster masters of the 19th century. This 30-card Tarot deck features bold lines and shapes, accompanied by flat planes of colour, that give it a pop-punk aesthetic while also having a hand-crafted feel. This deck of carefully planned cards bridges the gap between the early poster masters and contemporary block-printers through the imagery and stylization of each card. It is important to note that Tarot plays a role in the resurgence of “New Age” spiritual and religious beliefs, that have re-emerged in the 21st century and continue to gain traction. This re-invigoration of traditional images in the Tarot is important and should be included in the text book, as it demonstrates the cyclical nature of graphic design methods, while re-working it into a contemporary lens that can be interpreted by the viewer.  In a historical context, artists in the 19th century began to incorporate the use of symbolism in their art to illustrate and represent universal truths.


Though Hollington’s deck was created in 2018, it has roots in the symbolist movement of the 19th century. New theories about the nature of reality and the nature of one’s self in the late

19th century, allowed for mystical groups such as the Theosophical and the Rosicrucian’s society to turn tarot into a fad in the early 1900s. This society referred to a deck created by A. E Waite, a British member of the “Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn”, by the artist Pamela Colman Smith.  Like the tarot decks before it, the Rider-Waite deck pulls from various myths, folklore, divinations and religious images. Hollington’s High Priestess card, strips away any conventions of traditional tarot. Hollington recreated the High Priestess as a disembodied set of legs, with sharp, pointed heels digging into the ground. The number of the card is not obvious at first, but is indicated in two drops of menstrual blood, falling between the legs. Traditionally the High Priestess is depicted as a woman who looks like royalty, with the moon and a scroll in hand; and the card can be taken at face value as an allegory to illustrate feminine power. Hollington re-imagines what feminine power looks like in her illustration of The High Priestess, and this fusion of punk- aesthetic in the colour palette, style and patterning in the illustration, with the literal depiction of high-pointed heels, places the reader in both veins of tarot, the mystic and the physical world and bridges the gap between early European Renaissance tarot and contemporary tarot. Hollington’s symbolism in this graphic design rejects traditional notions of femininity, while also maintaining 19th century ideas and implementations.


tarot-highpriestess unknown

Work Cited:

Latham Phillips, Emma. “Sophy Hollington’s Striking Tarot Deck Combines Mysticism with a Glam-Punk Contemporary Twist.” It’s Nice That, 16 July 2018, Accessed 26/10/2019

Penco, Carlo. “Dummett and the Game of Tarot.” Teorema: Revista Internacional De Filosofía, vol. 32, no. 1, 2013, pp. 141–155. JSTOR,


Bartlett, Sarah. The Tarot Bible The Definitive Guide to the Cards and Spreads. Godsfield Book, 2006.


In the Wild




Tommy Guerrero album cover “A Little Bit of Somethin’”

Album Artwork by Margaret Kilgallen

I stumbled across the musician Tommy Guerrero on one of my endless YouTube spirals, in which I scour the depths of the “instrumental chill-hop” playlists and suggested videos in the sidebar for an eternity, searching for the perfect soundtrack to draw to. I knew I had finally found the right jams to match my vibe, when this album cover popped up on my screen. I was immediately drawn to the warm colour palette, the bold line drawings of the characters and the “Old Western” style typography used in the album name “A Little Bit of Somethin’”.  This album artwork was done by Margaret Kilgallen, a painter and printmaker from Colorado. Kilgallen had a BFA in studio art and printmaking from Colorado College, and went on to have a few solo exhibitions in New York and California during 1997 through 1999. Unfortunately, Kilgallen did not have a lengthy art-career or a large body of work, as she was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2001- and opted to forego chemotherapy so she might carry her unborn-child to term. She died three weeks after giving birth. Fortunately, her work is still being displayed in various galleries across the US, and has had retrospectives written on her.


Kilgallen’s album cover for Tommy Guerrero has many influences. The hand-painted Old Western font gives a “folksy” feeling to the cover.  Kilgallen was also inspired by Mexican artists, and employed the use of warm colours and imperfect perspectives that showed the craft and handmade quality in her work. The choice of these design elements lend themselves to the genre of music she is trying to emulate in the album cover. The warm tones match the warm guitar chords, the sharp line-drawings and mix of styles are reminiscent of the music on the album, it IS a little bit of something, and a mix of many things. The type at the top is just as stylistic as the illustrations, and the album cover reads like a sequential narrative. The stylistic choice to leave Tommy Guerrero’s name in a sans-serif, hand-lettered font at the bottom of the composition expresses that Guerrero is not the main focus, as the focus is on his instruments and music, not his voice. Overall this graphic design made me interested in the album, from just observing the cover I could tell I was about to listen to something with warm, beachy vibes and I promptly added it to my ever-growing study playlist. Thanks for visiting my blog.