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Playing cards have been with us since the 14th century, when they first entered popular culture. Over the centuries packs of cards, in all shapes and sizes, have been used for games, gambling, education, conjuring, advertising, fortune telling, political messages or the portrayal of national or ethnic identity. All over the world, whatever language is spoken, their significance is universal. Their popularity is also due to the imaginative artwork and graphic design which is sometimes overlooked, and the “then & now” of how things have changed.

Timothy Curtis Art

Timothy Curtis Art custom Bicycle playing cards, 2018.

Timothy Curtis is a self-taught artist and cycling enthusiast living and working in Brooklyn, New York. He made this deck of customised Bicycle cards in early 2018 and is starting a second, completely custom deck now.   See the Box

“The inspiration for this deck was the actual cards and designs themselves. I’ve always loved the cards designs and images and really wanted to use them without changing too much for purposes of understanding them. The cards have so much thought and depth that I needed to draw over them to really see what was going on. I put a lot of secret messages and initials in the cards to honor friends and loved ones of mine. I kept this deck simple and close to original because I donated to a few prisons. But the new deck I am working on is all original but also close to traditional.”

Timothy Curtis Art custom Bicycle playing cards, 2018 Timothy Curtis Art custom Bicycle playing cards, 2018

Above: Timothy Curtis Art custom Bicycle playing cards, 2018. 52 cards + 2 jokers + 2 extra cards in box. The four aces are faces with words of love and motivation to represent each suit. The words come from a mural Timothy painted in State Prison SCI Somerset and he wanted to continue the idea in a more positive way. Chill Cycle ad card is my friend Dan Murphy’s Bike Shop. We are all cyclist or bikers and want to carry the theme of the bicycle and what the bicycle represents (freedom and clean energy). Manufactured by The United States Playing Card Company, Erlanger, KY. Cards courtesy Timothy Curtis -


By Simon Wintle

Member since February 01, 1996

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Curator and editor of the World of Playing Cards since 1996.