Cut Paper Playing Cards - Emmanuel José

During each week of 2011, Emmanuel José challenged himself to create an artistic paper cutting. At the end of the year the perfectly precise and varied images were transformed into a complete deck of playing cards called the Curator Deck. Throughout 2012, Emmanuel has been working on a second deck, this time with a bird theme that he calls Clipped Wings; the Queen of Hearts seen here is part of that deck. Emmanuel is about to embark on his third series of paper cuttings, also destined to be made into a transformation deck.

paper cut Queen of Hearts playing card
The Queen of Hearts. Paper. 24" x 17.125" 

Emmanuel was a recent Studio Art major at Davidson College in North Carolina, and has had a longtime interest in the 'card as art canvas' aspect of card decks. I asked him if he was aware of any other cut paper playing cards... he replied that as far as he knows, his deck is the first of its kind. I was also curious if collecting special decks is a common hobby... "Yes, there's a growing number of people who collect cards, and in the last decade or so there's been a boom in the creation of custom playing cards. There aren't too many art decks like mine, but it's amazing how much beauty and design can go into playing cards."
The Curator Deck and full sheets of Emmanuel's designs are newly available at House of Playing Cards. [edit: no longer available]

Have a great weekend, everyone. May you find time to fit in a card game or two, and Happy Hanukkah to all who celebrate!

Ann Martin
Ann Martin

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  1. Amazing paper cut. What a fabulous idea and this bird really fits the queen of hearts card.

  2. i love emmanuel's art cards! i especially love the bird theme and the set that says...a little bird told me....such a fantastic concept!!
    licia politis

  3. Oh, his cut paper art is amazing. I can't believe how much work he puts into making a deck of cards. Very impressive.

  4. Impressive. I'd probably want to take some poker lessons again if I get to use some of his cards (though they'd probably cost an arm and a leg).


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