My name is Sunish Chabba, and I, along with my friend & illustrator, Ishan Trivedi, are proud to introduce you to “A Motley Pack – Transformation Playing Cards”.
This project is based on a rare & almost forgotten work of art & high creativity titled “On the Cards; Or, A Motley Pack” by the Australian writer, dramatist, journalist and publisher Garnet Walch that was published in Melbourne in 1875. Published as a Pantomime in the form of a Christmas Annual, the book consists of 40 transformed playing cards illustrated by Australian poet George Gordon McCrae. WoPC notes that George McCrae also wrote novels, stories, poetry, travel sketches and illustrated books. Some of his sketches may have been inspired by his travels to Mauritius and the Seychelles, as well as by Aboriginal people.
I’ve always been fascinated by Transformation decks (playing cards) which are a unique deck of playing cards where the pips have been incorporated into a larger artistic image. Some have estimated that around 70 different transformation decks were created throughout the entire nineteenth century, which by modern standards is a relatively small number. Transformation playing cards are a true collector’s crave and weaving a whole story around those cards in the form of the book takes the creativity & innovation to another level.