Leonardo- Art Playing Cards is an intriguing deck inspired by the works of Leonardo Da Vinci. The deck contains the paintings, sculptures and science of the master Renaissance artist woven throughout its narrative. Designed by Dent-de-Lion du Midi, each individual cards is a work of art by itself but together, these 56 cards weaves history, legend and metaphor into an intriguing visual that captures the imagination.
Dent-de-Lion was nice enough to take a small break from the campaign and answer a few questions about the Leonardo- Art Deck and its development.
Can you tell us about yourself and what is your design background?
I am an artist and an inventor. As a young man, I traveled extensively before settling in Switzerland. I was an early pioneer of 24 bit color computing (long before Photoshop!), color printing (I did some of the very first IRIS prints), and 3D Graphics (Wavefront and Softimage on SiliconGraphics machines).
My artistic and scientific work brought me to the renowned toy company, LEGO. I became Director of Research and founded Darwin, which grew into a 100+ person team whose work led to Mindstorms and The LEGO Movie.
I spent many years at LEGO immersed in state-of-the-art technologies and virtual reality - but all the while I continued to develop my knowledge of the older forms of expression: painting, drawing, and photography.
After my tremendous experience at LEGO, I spent many years inventing companies, exploring social structures and co-founded the "Ministry of Ideas" in Copenhagen, the capital of Denmark.
Then, after many years of living and creating in Europe, I returned to California and embarked on a solo film project. Having worked on several team oriented projects, I was fascinated by the idea of crafting an entire work on my own: as director, editor, composer - like a painter, self-producing the entire piece. This is Portrait², a film without words.
In the last years I have returned to my earliest love, composing orchestral music. I completed last year a song cycle, a group of 12 compositions based on the poetry of some of the most beloved poets of the past. This is “A Song Cycle of Love and Death”.
On a personal side, I am a longtime vegan, an orthodox atheist, an avid amateur golfer, and a the father of two wonderful 20 somethings.
Wow.. incredible! Can you describe Leonardo- Art Playing Cards and why you’re passionate about it?
Weaving elements of Leonardo’s paintings and drawings together and carefully integrating them has deepened my appreciation for Leonardo's sublime talent.
Leonardo is a way of honouring my debt to a master artist who has given me so much. There are others... Shakespeare, Beethoven, Vermeer, Hesse…
How much time did you spend working on the deck?
Realising his work into modern playing card design has completely absorbed me this last year.
Walk us through the process you took to design this unique deck. How did you get to this finished product?
The process is fairly straightforward:
> Researching Leonardo’s work, studying his drawings and paintings.
> Zap! Inspiration for a particular card comes to me - aka, the creative spark.
> Finding additional drawings that amplify this seed of an idea
> Compositing them, blending, toning, re-painting missing details... starting over!
> Finalising the card for print
> Repeat above 52 times for each deck!
What was your most brilliant breakthrough when designing the deck?
Creating the Jack of Spades, the iconic card, this was really the moment when it all came together.
With all the projects competing for funding, why should potential backers choose Leonardo- Art Playing Cards?
Simply for the love of Leonardo, and seeing his work in a new way.
Finally, what are your favourite playing card decks?
I like some of the “handworked” decks, like Pagan, Aves, the Uusi decks, Heretic… the usual suspects. My favourite deck is Glitch, because my daughter Soleil designed it.
Thank you for your time, Dandi! At the time of writing, the project is only 90% funded with 26 days to go. If want to support Leonardo- Art Playing Cards, you can find it on Kickstarter here.
Available in Gold and Silver, Leonardo will be printed by the Legends Playing Card Company. Upon reaching the $50k stretched goal, Leonardo will be printed by USPCC. Pledge starts from $15 and there are multiple add-ons available such as Uncut Sheet and Art Print.