I’ve been playing around today examining my new Existentialist Playing Cards or Exist Playing Cards as is printed on the title card. The bowler hat is a reference to Samuel Beckett’s play Waiting for Godot which I studied in high school but missed the reference here until I looked it up, thinking instead that it might refer to a René Magritte painting which depicts a man with a bowler hat. Beckett features in the Clubs suit in caricature and in several quotes on the Clubs pips.
I scanned several more cards for my database but here is a sample of a few cards and the back with numerous bowler hats.
The colours are wonderful in this, I can see where you could pick a card or two and use them as impetus for artwork. Yes, Camus would like you to use a bunch of gold green shades and paint a reptile. Of course he does. I think Rita put a lot of thought into the organization of this and the stream of colour families in each suit.
The Court Cards have caricatures of the three philosophers quoted in the pip cards with a name tag on each that says “Hello my name is ______”, and each has an additional famous quote in a speech ballon.
The pip cards have quotations on them from Ace to Ten:
SPADES: Friedrich Nietzsche, Soren Kierkegaard, Karl Jaspers.
HEARTS: Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Simone de Beauvoir, Gabriel Marcel.
CLUBS: Albert Camus, Samuel Beckett, Franz Kafka.
DIAMONDS: Jean-Paul Sartre, Paul Tillich, Martin Heidegger.
Existentialists brought in emotion and the whole human experience rather than just reason and rationality to philosophy. They felt conventional philosophy was too distanced and abstract from human experience. They were very, very big on being free and authentic.
And wearing bowler hats.