BLOCK & TACKLE Releases “Open Eyes” Card Deck with Artist Stefanie Augustine
From the release:
Long Island City, N.Y. – (Dec. 16, 2019) – Continuing their annual tradition, creative studio BLOCK & TACKLE (B&T) Partners and Creative Directors Adam Gault and Ted Kotsaftis have once again collaborated with accomplished artist Stefanie Augustine to craft a beautiful “family and friends” holiday gift. This year, however, for the very first time, these gifts are available to the public.
Beginning today, B&T’s website will allow anyone with a U.S. mailing address to order a set of its collectible “Open Eyes” card decks, designed in-house for B&T’s clients and extended studio family. The first 52 orders will be complimentary (including free shipping), with an additional limited quantity available for the cost of shipping and handling only. The decks have been printed by the world-famous The United States Playing Card Company, established in 1881.
Gault explained, “These handcrafted objects embody the holiday season’s spirit of peace and goodwill – while also celebrating our studio identity and ethos. Aiming to extend the language we’ve established through our gift-making tradition, this edition plays with the themes of chaos and humanity that define the rules of card games – and modern life.”
According to Gault and Kotsaftis, classic card decks – with their warring families defined by suits, numerical and face-card hierarchies, and the unpredictability of Jokers – are inherently rich with lore. “There’s a predefined structure to the deck,” Kotsaftis began, “but at the same time, the cards can be combined in different ways to create new orders of strength: paradigm-shifting alliances that upend the game and cause us to rethink our strategies.”
After applying a theme to each family (Spades = Conflict; Diamonds = Fortune; Hearts = Humanity; and Clubs = Nature), context was attached to specific cards, inspired by real-world developments coming to light day-by-day. Newspaper headlines, bits of poetry, histories, scientific discoveries, and other memorabilia provide the designs’ backstories, giving the deck its vibrant conceptual backbone.
Worth noting, most of the illustrations were created by hand, using paper, pencils, paint, scissors and glue. “We love the spontaneity and looseness of hand-made work,” added Senior Producer Megan Anderson.
B&T also created a series of motion works extending their “Open Eyes” designs for social media. While being careful to respect the integrity of Augustine’s original artwork, the opportunity to develop concepts further and add some surprises was tantalizing.
Overall, the project consists of 52 individual cards, the thought-provoking package design, and custom animations of the package elements and selected hero cards.
For those ordering decks, B&T’s website suggests selected charities, to support the studio’s real-world inspirations (for example, honey bees).
“We love collaborations, and this project feels particularly rich in that regard. It is simultaneously personal, cultural and historical,” Gault concluded. “While the majority of our work lives on screens, people can touch, hold and play with these unique artworks. We’re thrilled to be able to share them with our extended family and friends.”