AFTER two years and 5000 hours, Brett A. Jones could have been left with a pile of gluggy paper maché.
He expected to come home with a soggy mess in the back of his ute when he went to pick up his latest creation from Brisbane.
It was raining heavily and did not look like easing.
But he had waited a long time for this day – his Whiteknuckle New Standard Playing Cards had finally arrived from the printers in the United States and were ready to be collected in Brisbane.
So on that stormy day, Brett drove from the Fraser Coast to the city, determined to see the final product.
Anxious, he painstakingly wrapped up the boxes of cards in fruit bags and crammed as many as he could onto the passenger seat.
Fortunately, all worked out well and Brett held his first personally designed pack of cards, dry, in his hands.
“As you can imagine I was sort of floating on air,” he said.
“When you make something like that you stick your neck on the line.”
It has all been worth it, however, with the cards being praised on playing card forums and taking off both in Australia and internationally.
They have been such a hit that they were awarded the much-sought-after title of deck of the month by Netherlands company DXPO Playing Cards which judges cards worldwide.
Brett’s cards will also be sold across Australia as tattoo designs.
Graphic designing all his professional life, Brett was approached by playing card collector Bruce Rendall three years ago to design and produce a pack of cards.
Without an artistic bone in his body, according to Brett, Bruce was the financial backer the project needed.
“He’s a conservative and I’m a radical,” laughed Brett from his Hervey Bay home of 18 years.
“Right at the time that he rang me, it was perfect for me to do playing cards.
“I wanted every single card to be a work of art that could stand on its own.
“I didn’t want to have a themed deck; this was a real attempt to re-standardise cards.
“Companies were using 21st Century technology to print something they could do with half a potato and a sharp knife.”
So it was that Brett came up with his version – a deck that detailed the expressions on faces, wrinkles and all.
Every card has its own personality, explained Brett.
The picture cards are all based on locals he knows with the kings, queens, and jacks all having real faces instead of cartoon ones.
He even used a self portrait for the joker, as a half-sane, half-crazy double image.
Fraser Coast collectors and art lovers will be able to have a close look at A4 versions of the cards when they go on exhibition at Maryborough Art Society gallery on April 19.
Packs will be for sale, while other pieces of Brett’s on display will include graphite chiaroscuro, lithographs, pastels and a metal sculpture of a motorcycle.