Tarot Talks Volume XVII: An interview with Kristi Prokopiak, creator of the Illest Tarot

Peace, light & love fam…. The Summer is in full swing & oh is this is my favorite time of year. This week is charged with the energy of the Leo New Moon, & is a great time to connect with self. The Tarot is a tremendous tool for meditation & self-reflection, even if you are not a reader. Nowadays, there are so many decks to choose from, & every so often you come across a deck that just stops you in your tracks. The Illest Tarot is a deck that is close to my heart, I have always been deeply inspired by many artists.  Kristi Prokopiak created a deck that uses many people that have inspired me & many others for years as its archetypes. With each card, you see the familiar faces of muses like Erykah Badu, Fiona Apple, Drew Barrymore, Sade & Bjork… just to name a few. It is as if this deck has been picked from my mind, I hope that you enjoy reading about it as much as I love working with it. This is a special one!!!!!!!!

-HERU JEROME

  The Illest Tarot by Kristi Prokopiak

The Illest Tarot by Kristi Prokopiak

Interview
Kristi Prokopiak creator of the Illest Tarot

“When they see you coming N***s take off running from you its true oh yes they do” Erykah Badu…. Erykah reminds us to rid ourselves of that which is heavy and keeps us from attracting new things in her song Bag Lady. The Summer is a great time to look internally at those things, because the natural alchemy of things coming together is all around us in the Summer. It is a time to manifest!

Worthy Tarot: You have chosen some amazing architects in art to be muses for your deck, how did you choose who would represent certain suits?

KP: Thank you! To be honest, I chose the artists, actors & influential figures that touched my life when I was younger. Drawing from my own life is what gives it such a unique flavor. I have been studying the Tarot for several years now, so I have a grasp on what all the cards mean in the traditional sense, but also how they speak to me specifically. I just matched up the ideas & characteristics of each card with whomever represented those traits for me. Their sound, their words, their affectation as a certain character, these are all subtle things I remember, & that was how I

  The Illest Tarot by Kristi Prokopiak

The Illest Tarot by Kristi Prokopiak

decided who I would want to embody each card’s archetype. In some cases, my choice is literally based off of one character in a movie (The Tower) or a specific album (The Lovers). In other cases it’s about their general style, vibe, aesthetic or unique voice…. Sometimes I knew without question who would be matched up (The Wheel of Fortune, The Hermit, The Moon & The High Priestess were all locked in from the get) but sometimes I couldn’t make up my mind (The World, Temperance, Justice & Judgement took a few tries). There are so many small specific ways that each card speaks to me, so I am excited to see them interact with other readers, & how their personal experiences relate to the people chosen for the cards. The name came from one of my favorite bands when I was a teenager, The Beastie Boys. I am a born & raised New Yorker, so I am sure that influenced some of the choices.

  The Illest Tarot by Kristi Prokopiak

The Illest Tarot by Kristi Prokopiak

Worthy Tarot: We are entering an Air Age which is associated with thought. When you examine air it can blow everything around that is not tethered. People are trying to ding their footing & light as they enter this age & are drawn to the magic & spirituality of the Tarot. The face of the tarot just like or new age is changing, how do you feel your deck lends to this revolution?

KP: It really is an interesting time!!! I began reading tarot when I found a Tower card on a sidewalk in Brooklyn. I took it as a sign & quickly became obsessed with the Tarot. Luckily there was a bit of a witch trend happening over there, & it was easy to find others that were reading intuitively & sharing their knowledge. I remember being so frustrated with the images on the classic Rider Waite Smith deck. Most of the symbolism was lost on me at first, & I found the heteronormative, all white people thing kind of frustrating. I think the Illest Tarot makes it a little more approachable, relatable & fun. I know I prefer to read with indie decks, & there are so many amazing options. I love everything Mary Evans of Spirit Speaks does. The Starchild Tarot speaks to my soul. The Slow Holler deck is such an amazing concept with such beautiful execution….. Our Tarot is so unique & inspiring… There’s a deck for every kind of reader! I hope my deck speaks to the people that need it most in their lives. I love to watch people’s faces when they find a card that really resonates.

  The Illest Tarot by Kristi Prokopiak

The Illest Tarot by Kristi Prokopiak

Worthy Tarot: What inspires you & how was that inspiration incorporated in your deck?

KP: Well that depends. Right this second? My Spotify playlist! It’s some of my favorite songs from the artists in the Illest Tarot (you can find it on Spotify, it’s called “the illest tarot”). So obviously music from the 90s is a huge influence here. In general, I am inspired by a wide range of things. I love the street art in NYC & the cactus gardens in the High Desert. Definitely the ocean, which is likely why there are so many blue & green backgrounds in the deck. Really great clothes. Individuals that aren’t afraid to be themselves, to be weird & different & intense in an unapologetic way.

  The Illest Tarot by Kristi Prokopiak

The Illest Tarot by Kristi Prokopiak

Worthy Tarot: Would you ever create another deck, think about this one as I know 78 cards are a huge undertaking!

KP: I don’t know! This is my 3rd deck & by far the most popular, so it’s a bit daunting to think about another one!! I know my love for tarot is always changing & growing, so I am sure I will have a new idea eventually. For now I am just happy to see this deck come to life!!

Worthy Tarot: If you could have your favorite artist/artists create your dream deck who would they be?

KP: I would love to see a deck by Kelly Tunstall. Her paintings feature beautiful alien-esque females & whimsical worlds. Her take on tarot would be amazing. I’m also a huge fan of Sarah Gottesdiener, that would be a really rad, graphic deck. My friend Juliana Sabinson is a hugely talented mixed media artist & I would love for her to publish all of her work in an oracle of some sort.

  The Illest Tarot by Kristi Prokopiak

The Illest Tarot by Kristi Prokopiak

Worthy Tarot: If someone is interested in your deck how would they get a hold of you?

KP: This deck is up for pre-order on my website shop www.lovekp.bigcartel.com & I can always be reached via www.kristiprokopiak.com .