Exotic Cancer is the mysterious force behind the internet’s favorite erotic freaky femme artwork . Pleaser heels adorned with razor stubbled legs, hanging tits out on the Moon, and a sexy grim reaper leading you to the Death card dungeon . Their hilarious, unapologetic, and often disturbingly accurate social commentary surrounding their observations of awful strip club patrons, and the modern hell we’ve all come to know as dating apps. When Exotic Cancer announced they had a brilliant new tarot deck coming soon with all of these themes , I couldn’t wait to interview the artist to learn more about their spiritual practices, the inspiration behind the artwork, and so much more!
Hi Exotic Cancer, can you tell our readers a little bit about yourself ?
I’m a digital artist from Melbourne, Australia! My work is known for highlighting the dark realities of humanity and lust. I was formerly a stripper, so a lot of my work is heavily influenced by the SW industry. Most of my themes center around social commentary, I want my art to provoke thought and challenge perceptions.
What’s your astrological sign (sun moon and rising)? I’ve been so intrigued to ask since I’ve seen your work, and know you are very private about remaining anonymous but I’m sensing some Scorpio placements? Or maybe I’m wishful thinking because I’m a Scorpio rising and love being a mysterious bitch.
You’re right, I actually do have a lot of Scorpio! (Jupiter, Mercury, Venus, Pluto) My sun is Sagittarius, my moon is Taurus and my rising is also Taurus.
Do you read tarot? And if not, do you read tarot now especially after designing and studying all of those cards?
Prior to making the deck, I had had a very basic understanding of how to read them but found it a little overwhelming to remember the meaning of each card – creating a deck and studying every card in detail has been a great way to learn! I have a better understanding now and feel pretty confident doing my own readings.
What was your initial interest and inspiration in creating the deck in the first place?
I’ve always enjoyed seeing the artwork when getting my own readings done, I remember thinking to myself that I’d love to create my own. I wanted to create a deck that represents SWers in a way that is empowering – I actually started sketching ideas about 4 years ago, but quickly abandoned the project as it felt like too much for me at the time. I’m so glad that I waited though because my artistic style has developed so much since then. It’s taken me about 8 months to complete, I initially thought I could complete it much sooner, but it’s actually a huge commitment. So worth it though!
Which card in the deck best represents you and why? How do you identify with it and do you meditate with any of your major arcana cards as a form of spiritual practice? I always recommend that practice for beginners who are hoping to build a stronger connection to their intuition. How do you connect to your higher self/intuition?
I feel like The World resonates with me the most at the moment, especially after completing this deck! Such a sense of relief and achievement. My transition to full-time digital art has left me feeling like I need to find my feet in this new phase of life, but I’m excited to see what’s next. As for meditation, I’m not very good at it. I find it difficult to truly switch off and relax. I went in one of those sensory deprivation float tanks once and found it to be a very unpleasant experience
As a professional tarot reader, I have seen my share of fuckery being revealed in the cards. The cards do not lie! What is your least favorite card to pull in a reading, what is a major tarot red flag for you and why?
Although it is visually one of my favorite cards, my red flag card is the tower. I am naturally more of a pessimist, I can worry a lot, and have a bad habit of quickly leaping to worst case scenarios. When I see the Tower it can feel quite unsettling. Like, “Oh, is everything that is good in my life about to end?” It reminds me that nothing is certain.
Art has always been a form of powerful healing magic, the images we create and the stories we tell. The imagery in your artwork is brilliant, gorey, honest, and really such a relevant social commentary on the Femme experience in SW. SW’rs have historically been some of the most marginalized people yet are some of the most powerful healers and Witches within their communities. Women who were cast out of society and frowned upon and even killed because of the hypocrisy of patriarchy, and stupid religious moral judgments that came with it. In many ways your work speaks to and aligns with the witch, especially in our power to unapologetically own our sexual autonomy. Do you identify as a witch? And If not that’s ok too, but do you find your artwork to be healing?
This is one of the reasons I love being an artist – being able to express a concept through illustration that encourages conversation is invaluable. I hope that my work can support others by broadening perspectives and reducing stigma. I periodically receive messages from people sharing how my art has helped their personal circumstance or healed them in some way, which is honestly so incredible. Knowing that my art can positively impact others is one of the best feelings. I do have a deep respect for Witches and would love to be one, however I do not consider myself one.
I have a collection of over 300 tarot decks, all ranging from very old to modern. When I pick out a new tarot deck, I like to connect with the imagery of each card to see how I’m going to work with them. What is the overall vibe/energy that went into creating this deck and how do you hope for them to be used by readers?
It was important for me that my cards referenced the traditional symbolism from the Rider Waite Tarot, but to give them a modern twist. The vibe is flirty, empowering, and a little ominous. I hope that the readers can relate to the cards on a more personal level through the artwork alone.
What are some of your daily rituals that help to keep you feeling confident, and your creative energy flowing?
Creative energy is something that I allow to come and go as it pleases. I never try to force it. I do spend a lot of time brainstorming new ideas when I am in a creative mindset and keep a list of them for when I am burnt out or feeling creative block. I find that I will go through long phases of being really motivated and focused on creativity, or long periods of struggling to draw anything. I can find it hard to achieve a healthy balance in between.
When will the deck be released and Do you have any new projects coming up that we should know about?
At the time of writing this, I released pre orders just a few hours ago! They have been going amazingly well so far, I’m so grateful. It’s been a lot of work, so I’m probably going to take a much-needed break from any new major projects, but I do have a pretty fun project, a board game, in the works!