March 29, 2021
Laugh Your Craft Off: Meet Lares Feliciano who is going to show you how to make your own Tarot Cards
This Wednesday, we welcome back our virtual program series, Laugh Your Craft Off. The virtual craft workshop series brings together local artists and comedians for an hour of crafting and laughing. We had a conversation with crafting artist, Lares Feliciano, where we learned about what words get her going in the morning, her artistic practice, and what fortunes she is looking forward to in 2021.
Lares Feliciano (b. 1985 Oakland, CA, USA) is an interdisciplinary artist and cultural worker based in Denver, CO. Feliciano uses animation, installation, and collage to create worlds where marginalized experiences are front and center. Her work explores queer identities, mixed-race experiences, and complex expressions of grief and trauma. She holds an M.F.A in Cinema Production from San Francisco State University and a B.A. in Film & American Studies from Smith College. She has completed residencies with RedLine Contemporary Art Center and Grand Canyon National Park and was a participant in the Colorado Creative Industries Change Leader Institute.
Hi Lares! How have you been doing?
Hello Tai! I am doing pretty well- soaking up the full moon in Libra from this weekend and really glad to feel the changing of the seasons.
We’re excited to have you show us how to craft our own tarot cards! What got you interested in the tarot?
I bought my first tarot deck from an occult shop in New Orleans when I was twelve or thirteen. I was instantly drawn to the symbolism and storytelling of the cards but was admittedly really intimated. The book that came with the deck was vague and cryptic - it seemed like you need to have a Ph.D. to really understand the cards. So I tucked the deck away until my early twenties when I found myself living in a house of witches and weirdos in Oakland, CA. A new deck had recently come out, The Collective Tarot, and my roommates and I devoured it. The deck was made by a collective of queer artists and witches and was designed to be accessible and representative of the contemporary world. It resonated so deeply with me and encouraged me to dive deep into learning the tarot. I have since unearthed the original Rider-Waite-Smith deck I bought in my adolescence and use it regularly now.
Have you found that more individuals are turning to the guidance of the tarot in this past year?
Absolutely. I think folks have been increasingly drawn to tools like the tarot in the past several years as a way to cope with and make sense of all the pain and struggle in the world. This was amplified this past year as folks found themselves at home with lots of tough emotions and plenty of time to have to deal with them. The tarot is an excellent tool for self-reflection - giving us perspective and insight into our relationships with ourselves and each other. I think lots of people have felt drawn to the tarot as a way to process this really rough time.
When did you start making art?
I have always been making art! When I was a toddler my medium was stickers - I would cover my mom’s shoes with brightly colored shapes and animals. As I got older I found myself drawn to everything from theater, to music, to painting. In middle school, I discovered the art of filmmaking and fell in love. After receiving my M.F.A in Cinema Production I thought I would find myself in Hollywood working as a narrative filmmaker. But my love for art in all its forms pulled me into the world of immersive art and installation. Now I identify myself as an interdisciplinary artist who makes animations, installations, and collages.
What has influenced your artistic practice?
I’ve always been drawn to archives, old photos, vintage yearbooks, and found ephemera. My process manifests as a ritual of gathering these found materials, deconstructing their original intention, and finally piecing them together to build new meaning. In this way my practice feels like that of both a witch and a detective, existing somewhere between magic and mystery.
What is a saying, music verse, quote that has been a mantra in your creativity?
I LOVE this question!! I have lots of mantras lately, for my creativity but also just to get me through on those tough days. First I want to share a quote that really inspires me:
“Create your own committees, build your own institutions, give your friends awards, award yourself and be the gold you wanna hold my G's” - Solange Knowles
And the following lyrics have become my morning mantra:
I am healthy, I am wealthy, I am rich, I am that bitch
I am gonna go get that bag and I am not gonna take your shit
I am protected, well respected, I'm a queen, I'm a dream
I do what I wanna do and I'm who I wanna be
- Yung Baby Tate
And last, a mantra I have returned to time and again:
“It will happen because it’s happening”
How have you found ways to stay creative during COVID?
I think first and foremost, allowing myself to take some of the pressure off and make art just to make it has been essential in nurturing my creativity in this weird time. One practice I have adopted is collage journaling - throwing together a little collage in the place of a journal entry at the end of the day. Some of them I have scanned and shared with folks but many of them are just for me.
What are you feeling excited about for the year ahead?
I am so hopeful that 2021 will bring some much-needed light into our lives! There is a lot I am excited about but the top of my list is Memory Mirror, an immersive installation I am currently working on. Memory Mirror will invite visitors to explore their relationship with memory through animation, dioramas, and interactive storytelling. Opening in July, Memory Mirror will transform the Denver Art Museum's Precourt Family Discovery Hall into a surreal domestic den made up of memories donated by the community. This is by far the biggest project I’ve ever taken on so I am super excited!