Formline Playing Cards from Ace Artist Rico Worl

Formline Playing Cards from Ace Artist Rico Worl

Sara Shahriari

Artist Rico Lanáat’ Worl, Tlingit/Athabascan, designs skateboards and snowboards, but often branches out to other products. His newest design is playing cards that rethink the classic figures through formline, the graphic indigenous art style native to the Pacific Northwest. The only problem was that Worl needed an order of 2500 cards to get printing underway. In search of money to fund that order he turned to Kickstarter, the online fundraiser. "I made these cards to represent our living art of the Northwest coast: its adaptability, resilience, and quality," Worl, who is based in Juneau, Alaska, wrote on his Kickstarter page.

Adding a touch of Native artistry to an everyday item like a deck of cards is a natural step for Worl. "Growing up in a family that is close to the culture ensured the arts would be close by," he says. 

A great deal of thought went into each drawing. For example, the jack of hearts. "What is Jack looking towards or away from? What does it mean in relation to the rest of the court and the status of each other member of the court?" Worl asked himself. "Overall I interpreted the court of hearts as full of intrigue."

Worl raised more than double his $7,500 goal in less than a month, and the cards will ship beginning in late August. They're sold through Trickster Company.

Rico Worl also works at The Sealaska Heritage Institute.

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