Scrolling through the ol’ Facebook, I had been seeing these gorgeous Art Nouveau tarot card sketches on my feed through various groups and was enjoying admiring them from afar. Once the inking, pastels, and gold leafing came in I was like, “Okay, I need to know everything about these amazing cards!”
Ethereal Visions: An Illuminated Tarot Deck is the creation of Atlanta-based artist Matt Hughes. Imagine my surprise when I discovered that he lived fairly close by, which meant the cards were so close, I could almost feel them! Okay, okay, I might be over exaggerating but it’s still extremely exciting to know that now that I have backed the Kickstarter (!!!), I’m not only supporting an amazing artist with amazing talent but I’m also supporting a fellow Atlanta artist as well!
I met up with Matt and his wife, Hope, at a local coffee shop to talk about his art and Ethereal Visions: An Illuminated Tarot Deck.
When did you get started with art?
Very early on. I remember being a small child and drawing pictures of Elvis Presley to give to my Aunt.
What drew you to the Art Nouveau style?
Many aspects of Art Nouveau ring true for me but I feel the most powerful of them is the understanding of the piece as a symbolic “whole”. To produce a piece based on realism is admirable in the skill level but it does not resonate on an artistic message level to me. Art Nouveau with all of it’s symbolism and connection with nature and design allows an artist to communicate volumes with the simplest of lines.
Who are your biggest influences and how do they inspire you?
I am heavily influenced by those who were so pivotal to the Art Nouveau movement (Alphonse Mucha, Gustav Klimt, Otto Wagner, and Koloman Moser) but I am also influenced by artists such as John Singer Sargent, JW Waterhouse, Fernand Khnopff and Gustave Moreau.
What inspired the Ethereal Visions Tarot deck?
My wife, Hope, has been involved with tarot decks for many years and has always wanted me to produce a deck for her. I felt that now was a good time to attempt such a project given the reaction I have received. The Rider Waite Deck is the bases for my deck.
Is Tarot symbolism something you like to add to your work?
Absolutely! Before becoming interested in Art Nouveau I focused on the Symbolism movement
When you’re not painting, what other hobbies or activities do you enjoy?
I enjoy hiking, running, and musical instruments such as guitar and piano
What are your preferred materials when painting/creating?
For many years I worked with Oil Paint. Currently I focus on ink and soft pastels.
Are you a spiritual person? Does Spirituality influence your work?
I feel I am very spiritual. My views are more Universal and Taoist these days.
What’s your next project after the Ethereal Visions Kickstarter?
I am considering producing a Playing Card Deck in this similar style.
Are there any new techniques, style, or other things you want to explore?
I would love to return to sculpting at some point. I am also interested in writing my own book.
Where can people find more of your work?
My site www.matthughesart.com
Want to fund the Ethereal Visions Tarot Deck? Click here!
Matt and Hope were amazing. Meeting them brought me so much joy. Matt even let me “meet” a few of the *original* cards! The Empress was a beauty in person! I felt so lucky to have met her up close! Stay tuned for a breakdown on Matt’s artistic process coming soon!