Alison Spokes

Faerie Tales from an Artist & Tarot Reader

Why I’ve Fallen Behind on My Artwork & Why Tarot is Taking a Forefront


You may or may not have noticed, especially if you follow me on social media or subscribe to my e-newsletter, that my artwork has taken a bit of a back seat lately in favour of the Tarot portion of my business. I wanted to take a moment and explain why and what’s happening.

It’s always been my dream to own and operate my own retail business. I had visions in high-school of running my own metaphysics shop, but as I approached graduation I wasn’t getting a lot of support from my friends and family. They were all worried I would fail, as 80% of businesses do, and convinced me I’d be better off going to university, so I enrolled in Business and Religious Studies thinking it would be the perfect combo to jump-start my entrepreneurial aspirations.  …5 years later, I graduated with a degree in Psychology and Anthropology. Go figure.

I gained valuable life experience during those 5 years that I am very grateful for. I don’t regret my education or my decision to switch majors despite having never applied it to a career in any way whatsoever, not to mention spending 9 more years paying for it.

It was after completing my Bachelor’s degree I started painting fairies and selling them at markets and fairs. It was a small step toward living the dream and being my own boss. I LOVED it! I still love it, but alas, it has never been enough to pay the bills, which is why I’m still working the same day job I’ve had since I was 17 years old.

16 months ago, I answered an ad offering retail space for a price I could afford. RETAIL SPACE! One step closer to the career I always wanted! Now the challenge was to do something with that space at a pace I could afford. That’s when I decided to come out of the Tarot card closet. My academic life pressured me to keep that side of myself a secret, but NO MORE! I’m out and I’m proud!! …although no one yet has ever told me I have any reason not to be. I was expecting more backlash …more questions, at least! Nothing. *shrugs*

Even though I have added more products to my little shop, it’s the Tarot readings that draw people in and allow me to pay the retail rent. By adding Tarot to my business, I was able to quadruple my revenue last year. The DREAM… I can almost touch it!!

…but here’s what I learned about operating a one-woman retail establishment last year: I love it, but its not conducive to letting me work on artwork while I’m there. I had hoped that I could create and paint between customers, but I found this system way too hard. Every time I was really focused and enjoying my artwork, I would get interrupted by paying customers who wanted readings or had questions about products. I wanted to say, bugger off! Can’t you SEE I’m in the creative zone right now?!, but turning away clients and money is bad for business. I stuck it out for a while, the inconvenience of Murphy’s law: being inspired only when there’s no time to do anything about it; but this system was burning my brain out. It was becoming increasingly unfair to me to have to switch mindsets from one thing to another at a moment’s notice, and unfair to my customers when my mind is still thinking about painting tutti-frutti hats or whether her wings should be red or blue when my attention should be on them and their Tarot reading. Appointments!! That’s why they are preferred. Just saying.

If I want to continue creating new artwork, I need a solution. I cannot give up the Tarot, because right now that is my bread and butter. I cannot make appointments mandatory, because drop-ins make up 90% of my sales. I’d lose business. All of my digital art equipment is at the store and connected to equipment I need for other business activities. None of it is portable. I could work overtime every night at the store after closing, but that is not ideal either. What I need is portable equipment that can come home with me so I can draw in the evenings like I used to do before I moved my business out of my home.

For the last month, I have been aggressively hunting for a used Cintiq Companion 2. It’s the ideal machine to take with me on the road, when I’m staying with friends or in hotels. I can also work at home in my spare time.  I’ve been checking eBay and Amazon about 10 times a day each ready to pounce on a good deal as soon as one comes on the market. I’ve had about 4 of these machines slip through my fingers for various reasons since I started this quest: scammers, product needs repairs, logistics, poor timing, etc. WHY Universe!? Why do you tease me so?!

Long story short, I have no intentions on giving up or abandoning my art. It’s just on a temporary hiatus (for the sake of my sanity) until I acquire the equipment I need to establish a system that works for me.


Author: Ali

Alison Spokes was born and raised in Houston, British Columbia and currently resides in Victoria, British Columbia as a self-taught digital fantasy artist and Tarot card reader. Visit her website:

One Comment

  1. Alison, you’re very talented. Finding balance and timing are hard to do.

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