Introducing The Holly Simple Tarot: An Interview with Holly Simple

by Marianne in


Today on the blog, I'm super excited to roll out the red carpet for artist, animator, and tarot creator, Holly Simple.

The Holly Simple Tarot has just landed in the Two Sides Tarot shop, and I can't even tell you how stoked I am to have it in stock! This deck blends freakiness and simplicity and a gorgeous pastel palette in the best possible way, and Holly's take on traditional tarot ideas and symbolism has challenged and delighted me at every turn. Read on to learn more about Holly's art and spiritual practice, and about the creation of this unique deck - and to see one of her beyond cool animations! 

Welcome, Holly! Tell us a little about yourself as an artist and tarot reader and human person.

Hi Marianne - Thank you so much for asking me to join you in your wonderful world! My art is an extension of me. My creativity started at a young age as form of escape into fantasy. I have always been creative in nature, therefore ALWAYS producing work. I am a Brooklyn, NY based cartoonist, illustrator, animator and maker. My daily sketchbooks over the years are of utmost inspiration and help me to adapt my pieces to my current mood.

After self publishing several indie comics and zines, I took that form of expression and combined it with my personal spiritual and emotional condition - this resulted in my "emo digital sketch blog" itshollysimple.tumblr.com - here I was able to turn my sketchbook images into animations which helped emote the truest emotions I was experiencing during any given time in my life.

Congrats on the publication of your new deck, the Holly Simple Tarot! Where did the inspiration for this deck first come from? What was the process of creating the deck like?

THANK YOU! I am living in elation right now... This deck has been a yearlong project and finally having the deck physically in hand feels like I have birthed a child! I am SUPER connected to this deck and very proud of the final result :)

The inspiration for this deck happened instantly after my VERY FIRST TAROT READING about a year and half ago to the day... I was struck with awe at how the cards spoke to me and brought clarity to my innermost fears, dreams, etc. The deck used was The Wild Unknown, and the artwork on the cards was just stunning. As a fellow illustrator I dove into this project. It was certainly an "AHA" moment. Like, "DUH I HAVE TO DO THIS!"

I hit the ground running researching each card's meaning and history and kept a live diary and sketchbook. This helped me create my cards' imagery in a very personal way. I turned these pages into a guidebook and something to share with others. I believe it allows others to understand my creative process. Each page is dedicated to a card so it truly acts as a guide for those learning tarot.

Backtracking a little bit, could you tell us a little about your artistic background, and how that has informed and influenced the way you envisioned and created your deck? What does your art practice look like, day-to-day?

Art and creation have been a part of my life since birth! I was always creating weirdness. My art is NOT conventional. I am inspired by my truth - and so far it has been a roller coaster of beautiful growing HIGHS and deep, dark, painful LOWS. It is the dark that really motivates me and inspires me. I like to combine the feeling of pain and hurt with colorful joyous color and poppy visuals. For example, a bloody hand spewing out the colors of the rainbow. I can always tap into that place, because I have been there. Now in the light, I see it as an opportunity to show others that beauty can come from these places if you put in the work and BELIEVE you are taken care of by the universe :)

My art studio is in my apartment - my boyfriend can attest that it is an ever-growing space lol. I tend to let my work take over sometimes but because I am a visual person it is alllllll part of the process. Living amongst my studio allows me to dapple with it each day. I am always working on something. Be it penciling or inking comics or illustrations, coloring with acrylics or watercolor, coloring digitally, or using clay to mold wearable jewelry pieces.

As much as you feel comfortable sharing it, what role (if any) does tarot have in your own spiritual practice, and how has working with your own art - both making the deck and reading with it - in this setting influenced and shaped your personal journey?

I do have a daily personal spiritual practice. Tarot allows me to enhance this practice by shedding more awareness on my most subconscious thoughts. I like to use an oracle deck to pull a daily card of reflection, and use tarot when I am in a place of uncertainty. I prefer doing readings for others, because I like the idea of being helpful to others and of service to the universe.

Using my own deck is BEYOND a spiritual experience. I am so connected to it and feel very confident in its energy. It is a beautiful thing to be able to share it with others through readings and now through its availability to the public! I am a super novice reader, but have always been connected to something, so look forward to growing and learning with the practice.

Because we at Two Sides Tarot can never resist a good deck recommendation, what are the tarot or oracle decks that you love to read with? Are there any decks that have been a big influence on the Holly Simple Tarot?

The classic Rider Waite deck was the only deck I allowed myself to handle during my creative process. I wanted no outside influences artistically. However, through social media, I stumbled upon some STUNNING decks and amazing artists. My top two are Circo Tarot's use of soft color and Tarot Del Fuego's bold traditional tattoo-like images (OMG obsessed).

Finally, how would you like to see the Holly Simple Tarot used? Any pro tips for working with it?

There are no particular spreads, ways, or suggestions for tarot that I feel work best for using my deck. I believe it is intuitive and that this gift is within all of us. Personally I like to throw a quick 3 card PAST PRESENT FUTURE reading but as a novice I am the one looking for suggestions and pro tips on how to further my study :) Lately I have been working with the Celtic cross spread - My deck's artwork and visual story telling really help me when doing readings, it is very clear what the card is saying. I believe beginners will find my deck helpful in that way :)

I look forward to hearing about your and other readers' experiences with my deck! YAY!

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You can find the Holly Simple Tarot and Guidebook right here at Two Sides Tarot! Find out more about Holly's work at her website or tumblr, and catch her on Instagram or Twitter.