In a cabin in the Mojave Desert outside Joshua Tree, California, an artist leans over her work, fingers stained with ink. The wail of Aerosmith fills the space as Kathy Kosmecki-Zyduck adds details to the flowing scarf on Steven Tyler’s mic stand.
She is working on a card in her Classic Rock Tarot series, and Tyler is the latest subject. She has paired him with the Wheel of Fortune card. Also on the set list are Jerry Garcia as The Hierophant, Ozzy Osbourne as The Devil, and Stevie Nicks as The Empress.
Kathy began the project in early-Spring 2020, and photos she posted of the cards quickly blew up on social media. We talked with the artist to learn about her process, her inspiration, and the evolution of the Classic Rock Tarot card series.
Q&A With Artist Kathy Kosmecki-Zyduck
The Artist and Her Art
WT: What inspires you?
KKZ: Music, shapes, concepts, mixing art noveau and rock, styles and influences in rock music. I am bohemian in all forms of the word down to my DNA.
I am bohemian in all forms of the word down to my DNA.Kathy Kosmecki-Zyduck, artist
WT: How does Joshua Tree/the Mojave Desert inform or inspire your work as an artist?
KKZ: After my divorce, I drove as far as I could until I needed a boat — and here I was in the desert — and there is something about it. Back home in Wisconsin, when you say you’re an artist, they look at you with suspect. If you say that in the desert, no one gives it a second thought…they love art here.
WT: How does Sacred Geometry inform your work?
KKZ: I learned from doing henna tattoos — which consisted of doing mandalas that have patterns that are part of nature. Once I saw that, it was difficult to see things without sacred geometry.
WT: In your Facebook video “$8 Stained Glass Window Art” you mentioned “lady parts.” How does the divine feminine inform your work?
KKZ: Flowers are basically vaginas. Art is part of nature, growing organically from these shapes.
WT: Do you have any formal art training?
Nope…self-taught. I was the high school art teacher’s pet. I also earned my skills by doing the henna tattoos for the Milwaukee Summerfest for 18 years.
The Classic Rock Tarot Cards
WT: What inspired the Classic Rock Tarot Card series?
KKZ: Tarot friends and people within the tarot community said my art would make a great tarot deck, so I thought, what a great project.
WT: From Stevie Nicks as The Empress, to Ozzy Osbourne as The Devil, the performers you choose for each card truly embody that card’s meaning. What is your process for matching a performer to their card?
KKZ: I look at what the card embodies and then I look at the person but the art as well to see if these reflect the traits of the card. Everyone is being considered but they have to have the qualities of the card. I also consider peoples’ suggestions.
WT: Do you listen to the performer’s music while you’re creating the art?
KKZ: Absolutely. And I watch the videos to study all aspects of the artist. I also look at hundreds, if not thousands, of photographs.
WT: Which media are you working with for this series?
KKZ: Sharpies and MDF and a few grey scale ink markers.
WT: Do you read tarot?
No, but I am now getting daily readings since I started doing this. I am delving into it more as I do this deck. Catholicism didn’t work. Being connected to earth is always good.
WT: What are your plans for the artwork?
KKZ: As each card is completed, I sell the card on my Fine Art America site. People can purchase the image on a variety of items — from a t-shirt to a postcard. These sales will help fund the completion of the deck.
The Classic Rock Tarot Cards
- The Fool: Janis Joplin
- The High Priestess: Grace Slick (Jefferson Airplane, Jefferson Starship)
- The Empress: Stevie Nicks (Fleetwood Mac)
- The Emperor: Robert Plant (Led Zeppelin, The Honeydrippers)
- The Hierophant: Jerry Garcia (Grateful Dead)
- The Lovers: Sid Vicious & Nancy (Sid: The Sex Pistols)
- The Hermit: Kurt Cobain (Nirvana)
- Wheel of Fortune: Steven Tyler (Aerosmith)
- The Devil: Ozzy Osbourne (Black Sabbath)
- The Star: Prince
- The World: David Bowie
About Kathy Kosmecki-Zyduck
Kathy Kosmecki-Zyduck has been doing art since she could pick up a crayon. She honed her skills doing henna tattoos at the Milwaukee SummerFest. She decided to be happy one day and got in her car, left her husband and drove to California where she has been living as an artist and happy ever since. She can be found, when not on lockdown, at various art markets in the Palm Springs/Joshua Tree area. With the markets closed, Kathy decided to take her love for rock and create a Classic Rock Tarot card series.