When you think of art, what do you feel? When you see it, how do you feel? One Harlem-based artist is on a mission to showcase and express liberation and freedom in his new project. Artist, Kendrick Daye recently released The Black Queer Tarot – a 78-card Tarot arcana that includes a diverse cast of muses representing the Black queer experience. Stunned by his creations, we naturally wanted to chat with Daye to discuss the inspiration behind the project, his creations, and much more.

Tell us how you got into art?

I think I’ve always been artist. Growing up, I was what they call now a “highly sensitive person.” Still am but paired with that, I’ve always had endless amounts of opinions and energy. So, I found that I’ve always been the happiest when I could channel my energy into something creative.

What inspired your project, Black Queer Tarot?

Initially, I was looking to purchase a tarot deck for myself. I noticed there was a lack of any inclusive decks, or decks that featured any Black queer people. If there were any Black themed decks, they were catered to cis people. So, for a year or so, I was toying around with the idea of creating a deck myself. Initially I was going to just use works I had already created because a lot of my work, especially in the last couple of years have looked like they could be art for a tarot deck. That, I think comes from my influences which are a lot of occult and esoteric artwork. Once I decided to actually do this project, my triple cardinal sign energy kicked in and I decided to create 78 all new artworks for the deck. I not only created the art but photographed most of the muses myself. 

How would you describe being an artist during the time of an ongoing pandemic?

Honestly, I think this is the first time the world is setup for people like mw to win (laughs). I’m naturally an introvert, and prior to the pandemic I was already doing freelance art direction from home, so I was used to this style of living. I prefer it actually. I do miss being able to share my art at exhibitions and such, but even now, I think galleries are opening up a bit more, so that could definitely change. 

What do you want viewers of your art to feel?

It depends on the specific piece. But in general, I want people to feel… something. Art for me is a way to express a feeling I’m feeling, especially when words sometimes evade me. When people see my work, I want them to pick up on the feeling I’m trying to convey and hopefully look to a time they felt the same. 

What are you currently working on?

Right now, aside from living, breathing, and eating the BLACK QUEER TAROT, I’m also a working art director. I have a few art direction projects I’m working on for other people. I’m doing album artwork for an artist on Atlantic Records that should be coming out soon. I’m excited about that as I love music and incorporating my artwork with it. I’m also working on a commission for the Tony’s campaign for ‘slave play.’

What can we expect to see from you in the years to come?

I have a laundry list of long-term and short-term goals. But I can promise one thing, throughout my career I just want to create beautiful, awe-inspiring artwork across all mediums that centers Black queer people. 

For more on Kendrick Daye, click here.

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All images by Yinka Parris