Enrique Enriquez, 38
Second Ave between 53rd and 54th Sts
Wed Feb 27 2008
Photograph: Jay Muhlin
What do you do?
I'm a tarot reader.
[Laughs] Seriously. I have a little room in Quest Bookshop around the corner. I've been using the Marseilles cards since 1987, when I was studying graphic design and became interested in them as graphic objects.
And then decided that they had crazy magical powers?
I have a very practical approach. You're using the power of art to inspire, with these beautiful images from late-medieval times, which connect and create narratives.
So you're not predicting the future?
You can see tendencies in people. They come with questions: Should I get married? Should I shave my pet? [Laughs]
[Editors note: The cost of shaving a big, hairy dog at the New York Dog Spa and Hotel is $85-125 (32 W 25th St between Broadway and Sixth Ave; 212-243-1199).]
Ah, the old pet-shaving dilemma. Do you get a lot of weird queries?
Usually, no. But one guy—he looked so normal!—came in and asked if he was ever going to meet the devil. He was "tired of talking to lesser demons," and wanted to meet the big boss.
I was lucky: He shuffled the deck, got the devil card and left very happy.
What do you do if you get a really horrible read on someone?
In Western culture, divination has been shaped by con men and madmen. People get anxious because they look at a card and say, "Oh no, I got death!" But it could mean so many things. It's a lot more uplifting than what you see in the movies.
More thoughts from Enrique
"My maternal grandfather was named Enrique. And of course, my father's last name is Enriquez. At school, the substitute teachers always thought I was teasing. My friends would have to assure them I wasn't."
"I came to New York from Venezuela to do cartoons. I was the director of the world's first Spanish Internet animation studio. And then the Internet collapsed, and I was free. I have to say, I found the most horrible people in the media business."
"I would be very cautious about all the psychic parlors with storefronts. I've been to a lot of them to try to understand what they do, and at every single one I was told that I'm cursed. Divination should be useful. More importantly, they shouldn't be asking you for money to take the reading a step further. That smells like a rat."