Mystic of the Month: AK Ocol
AK Ocol is the artist behind the ongoing tarot sticker series, Ang Komyuter. In this featured interview, we explore her artwork and the story behind it.
Totally unrelated, but we’d like to start our interview by asking for your sun + moon + rising sign, please!
AK: I'm an Aries sun, Gemini rising, and Gemini moon!
What is the main concept behind Ang Komyuter?
AK: Ang Komyuter started as a joke when I was stuck in northbound traffic for 5 hours. I was pissed, but what else could I do except make stupid jokes in my head?
I thought that commuting was like a fool’s journey where you get lucky sometimes or get the total reverse of it, just like tarot cards. One commuting instance led to another and it started a series of stories. I call it a parody of Brenda Fajardo’s Baraha ng Buhay Pilipino.
Another thing is that it’s supposed to be a side project for my doodles. My own mindset in making art was holding me off; I always thought I shouldn’t draw without a clear-cut, finished concept. Ang Komyuter was a creative prompt to keep me going and not burden myself with my usual process. I also wanted to think of fast, creative ways of associating one thing with another, like: “What story can I associate with this particular card?”
Your central character in this deck is a skeleton. What does it personify?
AK: It’s referencing medieval illustrations of the plague, where skeletons are dancing despite the catastrophe going on in the world—think Sisyphus and his never-ending torment. I also thought of how being a commuter means you’re "dead" to the world. It’s a cheesy joke.
Why did you choose Rider-Waite as your inspiration for the art style?
AK: It’s recognizable and I have an affinity for old illustrations. The art style also teaches me to welcome mistakes more and not be too uptight with creating.
Do you personally believe in tarot?
AK: I think of it as a guide, but I’m not that in too deep yet with using it because I don’t think I’m very good at it. A friend of mine read for me once a long time ago. I don't remember much from it, but I know I had a fun time.
Do you own cards of your own? If so, which decks/artists?
AK: Yes! What I own currently are the Da Vinci Enigma Tarot and Golden Tarot by Kat Black. I love them because they're a collection of Renaissance paintings. I’d like to get my hands on other decks too.
Why do you think tarot has regained popularity in the last few years?
AK: It’s a mystery that never fades, I guess. It’s also the whole appeal of the mysticism in the illustrations and the idea that the deck “finds” you, one way or another. I don’t know if that practice is still a thing since getting a deck is more accessible now, which is also another thing since more people are into astrology. I think people find comfort in it that somehow there is still order in the universe.
Where can we buy stickers of the deck?
AK: I’ll be part of Komiket Cavite and Komiket South this coming March and May 2020! Or just hit me up online and we’ll find a way to meet or something!
Do you plan to print them as an actual card deck in the future?
AK: Let’s see where it leads! But I am also planning to make a deck in the usual style I do. It’s been simmering in my head for years now actually.
When you aren't doodling for Ang Komyuter, what main projects do you work on?
AK: I try to exhibit some new works! I have 2 group exhibits in March: Stall 9 in Cubao X and Terminal 240 in BF Parañaque. I also have a solo exhibit in June at Post-Pablo in Cubao X.
If I don't have any exhibits, I’m trying to finish a video game. Lol.