A rather Bohemian story
Baba Studio was founded in Prague in 2002 by Ukrainian-Russian/Irish husband and wife tarot creators Alex Ukolov and Karen Mahony.
Alex graduated as an illustrator and graphic designer from the Kharkiv Academy in Ukraine. Karen did her post-graduate training at the Royal College of Art in London, specialising in interactive media and ran her own very successful design agency in London for many years. Her clients included British Airways, BBC, ITV, BT, Diageo, Boehringer, Reuters, Syntegra and J&B Whisky. Both have taught Art and Design and Karen was external examiner for degrees in Interactive Media at Westminster University and Ravensbourne College of Art in London.
The studio’s first home was a 15th century building in the old Mala Strana district, where the city’s inspirational art and architecture led to the creation of our award-winning debut tarot deck – The Tarot of Prague.
Baba Studio (now known as BabaBarock) moved to Killarney in the south-west of Ireland in 2016, though we still retain a studio space in Prague.
With our tarot decks having been voted the "Deck of the Year" three times, our designs are well-known for extravagant, "Modern Baroque" visuals with a distinct twist of both humour and the bizarre.
We work in a thought-provoking and serious way with a range of symbolism and story-telling. Our design (mostly textiles and tarot) is informed by light and dark fairy tales, Victoriana, Bohemian Gothic, Alice in Wonderland, Fantastic and Mythical Creatures and of course the bizarre and humorous world of anthropomorphic and dressed animals.
Our Baroque Bohemian Cats' Tarot became a classic of the genre and our much-anticipated new deck – The Bohemian Cats’ Theatre Tarot – is set to carry on this tradition.
Besides our tarot decks, oracle decks and books, the studio now produces a growing number of uniquely designed textile products including accessories, home decor items and, soon to come, porcelain – all with the distinct BabaBarock blend of lavish decoration, beautiful quality and a distinctly Bohemian attitude.
Our tarot decks include:
- The Tarot of Prague
- The Baroque, Bohemian Cats' Tarot
- The Fantastic Menagerie Tarot (based on the work of J.J. Grandville)
- The Victorian Flower Oracle (based on the work of J.J. Grandville)
- The Fairytale Tarot
- The Bohemian Gothic Tarot
- The Victorian Romantic Tarot
- The Alice Tarot (based on both Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Alice Through the Looking Glass)
- The Mythical Creatures Tarot (monochrome and colour versions)
You can also see the studio and more about how we work in this programme about us made by Czech Television.