Interview with Meesa – Creator and Artist of the Circo Tarot

I have a new Tarot crush, the Circo Tarot.

This Rider-Waite inspired Tarot deck is a stunning addition to the Tarot world. I have been blessed to work with this deck now for over a month and it has such a wonderful personality as a deck.

I am so happy to welcome Messa the creator and artist of the Ciro Tarot to share her journey on bringing this deck to life.

Circo Tarot 3Can you share a little about yourself. Where you are from, what you are passionate about and what is your profession?

My name is Marisa, but prefer to go by my nickname Meesa. My sister came up with it because should couldn’t pronounce my name when we were little. I am a LA native and I work as a freelance illustrator, own a small stationery company called Tightrope Press and read on occasion.

I am very passionate about a lot of things. I love tarot, painting, hand-dyeing fabric, sewing, making cards, Pilates, getting drinks with friends (nothing better then a veggie burger and a beer after working in the studio) and especially traveling. I spent the past 7 years living in different cities in the US and abroad. Living lightly was really nice, but since I ‘ve come back to LA I have no desire to grab my passport and leave, unless its to Australia. 

How did this journey of creating the deck unfold?

I got my first deck when I was 14 and I just fell in love with tarot after that. I always knew in the back of my mind that at some point I would need to make a deck.

I always dabbled on and off with the idea, never really taking it seriously until I moved back LA after years of being a nomad and living out of a backpack. It was a project that grounded me for the first time and it has been an experience.

What were the unexpected challenges creating this deck?

I never thought it would be so draining and exhilarating at the same time. I put a lot of pressure on myself and I felt stressed a lot because I wanted to each card to stand on its own. I felt like I owed it to myself and the deck to be as amazing and authentic as possible. I wanted every card to be unique and I am such a buttmunch when it comes to detail and keeping my hand in everything, so I decided to also make hand-dyed cotton bags with block printed designs to hold each deck.

Circo Tarot 4I want every deck to feel special to anyone who uses it.

I also could have never done any of this without the help of my amazing friend who made my website and has helped me edit my work, Joseph Shopen. Thanks homie!

What is your favourite Tarot Card? (of your deck or in general)

Death. I feel like a lot of people initially associate a skeleton with negativity, when it reality (in my opinion) time isn’t linear and instead death is a beautiful thing that will always happen. Things pass to allow for new growth and beginnings, kind of like a prairie fire. It’s also a great card in reverse because its like “wake up call, reality check, time to change!”

Circo Tarot 1How do you use the Tarot in your spiritual practice?

I honestly don’t read for myself, but I read for others on a freelance basis. I love the ability to connect with each card and since I have started to use my own deck I feel even more connected. I also like to use the cards as themes for altars I build.

Any advice for the artists and creators reading this?

Failure isn’t a bad thing. Learn from it and grow. Being a working artist is tough, it takes a lot of time and a lot of trial and error. It’s very easy to feel defeated, but don’t! I have had my fair share of falling over, but I learned over the years that if you really love your craft, falling over is just a hazard that comes along with it. Also be patient and stay positive! Things take time. I used to teach and serve to make ends meet and while I was doing that I kept telling myself that I would be a full-time artist one day.

Also, network, network, network! Go to shows, art fairs, craft fairs, get an instagram, apply for residencies, apply for awesome stuff like renegade craft and always be grateful and nice! Become friends with other artists and collaborate because you never know what doors may open or what amazing work you’ll create. Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there.

The whole lone wolf thing is cool for a bit, but working with others and meeting new people offer you better chances and more room to grow.

Circo Tarot 2Any exciting projects in the creative pipeline?

Always! I am getting ready for another Renegade this winter in LA, also working on some commissions and new collaborations. I have an awesome friend named Kyle Couture who is an animator that is coming down soon so we can work on some stop motion projects. I also will be preparing and doing research for an instillation coming up in 2016 at the LA County Store.

Rapid Fire Round!

Starsign? – Taurus

Favourite flavour of ice-cream? – Not a big dairy fan, but totally down for a cherry icee instead.

Do you have any pets? – My beautiful basenji, Klaus Nomi. He likes to watch breaking bad, eat the insoles of my running shoes and sleep like a possum playing dead.

What book are you currently reading? – I’ve been trying to finish this book called rabid for the past 8 months. I just end up reading articles on Vice

Name a film you have seen more than 5 times? – Suspiria, hands down. The film is like eye porn for art direction nerds, like me. The colors and patterns in that film are crazy!

Who is your biggest inspiration? – Badass Xicana women like my Momma

What is your go-to crystal? – Black tourmaline

How can we follow you and your projects?



Instagram: @tightropepress


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