Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Delightfully Dark Finds: Calaveras Card Deck

Calaveras Playing Cards by Chris Ovdiyenko


There are many crowdfunding campaigns vying for attention at the moment but these Kickstarter project playing cards, inspired by the Mexican Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) festival, recently caught my eye. The beautiful illustrations on these cards are by artist, Chris Ovdiyenko, and were inspired by the work of the famous Mexican printmaker, José Posada.

La Calavera Catrina by José Guadalupe Posada
José Guadalupe Posada (February 2, 1852 – January 20, 1913) was a Mexican cartoonist, illustrator, printmaker and political satirist. He is probably best know for his "calaveras" or skull artworks, in particular the Calavera de la Catrina, which satirized the Mexican upper classes during the reign of dictator, Porfirio Díaz. Posada's work has since become associated with the Día de los Muertos holiday.

You can see more of Chris Ovdiyenko's artwork, and find out how to obtain your own deck of Calaveras playing cards, here.


32 comments:

  1. Replies
    1. Hi Alexandriaweb,

      I think so too! I was besotted from the moment I set eyes upon them! :)

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  2. Oh I love them and I love that they are black and white too!

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    1. Hi Sandy,

      I love that they're black and white too! The colourful side of Día de los Muertos is wonderful, but I've always been particularly drawn to the monotone artwork.

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  3. Lovely cards! I wish we had more Dia de los Muertos stuff over here - actually, any at all would be great...

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    1. Hi Misantropia,

      Yes, we don't get an awful lot of Día de los Muertos stuff in Australia either. Halloween is finally starting to catch on here, so I'm hoping that there will be more interest in the Day of the Dead soon, too!

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  4. You need to grab your fellow Aussies kicking and screaming to celebrate Halloween Emma! I see this guy has already double his Kick starter project request, good for him! The cards are very cool.

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    1. Oh, we're getting there gradually, Mark! I think Australian retailers have finally cottoned on to the fact that they can actually make a little money out of Halloween. I even had a few trick or treaters turn up at my door last year. I've got high hopes for Halloween 2013! :D

      Yeah, a lot of these crowdfunding projects seem to struggle, so it's amazing that he has already accumulated twice as much as his goal amount. The cards are very cool though, so I'm not surprised there's a market for them.

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  5. You never realize how many dark artists there are in the world until you come to Little Gothic Horrors! Thanks Emma!

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  6. Nice cards! There's a "supermercado" in the city north of me and I found a neat Dia de los Muertos candle in a drinking glass there. The glass has a skull-faced figure in a black robe imprinted on it. I was more than happy to add one to my collection of creepy things.

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    1. Hi Nightwind,

      Oh, that Día de los Muertos candle and glass sound fabulous! Nice find!

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  7. Replies
    1. "Those cards really are to die for."

      Haha! Love it, Yvonne!

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  8. I love the idea of Horror playing cards even though these are more macabre than horrific. Thanks for the info on the artist and the cartoonist who inspired him. :-)

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    1. Hi Lexa,

      I wish there had been more horror-themed games around when I was a kid. The only ones I had were two board games: Addams Family and Which Witch. Both were fantastic! I bought a cute Halloween 'Old Maid' card deck by Justine Ehlers, of Justine's Halloween, a couple of years ago.

      I think it would be lovely to play cards with a deck as gorgeous as this Calaveras one! :)

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  9. Wow! That card deck is beautiful! by the way, thank you so much for the giveaway prize it arrived yesterday :D Lovely!!!

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    1. Hi linnea-maria,

      Oh, I'm glad your goodies arrived safe and sound! I'm sure you'll find a wonderful way to use them! :D

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  10. What a pretty Queen. I might get her on one (or three) of the Antique Bronze Finish Coins...

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    1. Hi Magaly,

      Yes, the Queen looks gorgeous on the coin. I'm very taken with his woodcut prints too!

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  11. wow! what a pretty card deck!!!

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    1. Hi Octapolis,

      Yes, I love stumbling across little treasures like this card deck! :)

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  12. Wow - what a wonderful find! I'm getting a deck (maybe two? ;)) Oh... and pinning this... yes, yes I am :) ♥

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    1. I love that you get as excited about things like this as I do, Dawn! :D ❤

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  13. Replies
    1. Hi Mina Lobo,

      Ah... creepy and gorgeous! Two of my favourite things! ;D

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  14. What a beautiful find! I'm going to have to add them to my skelly collection. :D

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    1. Hi Maudlin Pixie,

      I'm sure these cards would make a beautiful addition to your skelly collection. :)

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  15. I love Day of the Dead, I really want to go to one, I love the idea of having a party for the dead, instead of being all miserable! It reminds me of when I was reading about the cemeteries of London and how in the past people would have parties and markets and play football in the cemeteries, and they thought the dead would not mind, because they liked the company, they liked to be surrounded by life, and not misery.

    I like the etched style of the cards.

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    1. Hi Margaret,

      Yes, the Day of the Dead festivities seem to be a really healthy way of dealing with death and also a wonderful way of remembering the lives of loved ones who have passed! The Victorian cemeteries, like Highgate, are so beautiful. The idea of making cemeteries a pleasant place for the living to visit seems a healthy way of coping with death too. :)

      I love the etched style of the cards too. Apparently, the artist used a scratch board technique. I remember doing some etching into metal plates in art class back in school, which was hard work, but I'm actually quite tempted to give scratch board a go some time.

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  16. Very beautiful artwork indeed!

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    1. Hi Margaret,

      Yes, he keeps adding new artwork to the site too, so I keep checking back every couple of days! :)

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