Artist Spotlight: Grace Duong of Mystic Mondays Tarot
If you missed Grace at Adobe MAX, don’t worry, the universe worked its favor.
In the world of tarot, Grace Duong’s dazzlingly modern Mystic Mondays deck practically vibrates with energy. Her take on the standard deck is captivating—she doesn’t shy away from bright colors, but still maintains a distinct, minimalist aesthetic.
A Philadelphia-based interdisciplinary artist, art director, and visual designer, Grace first launched her Mystic Mondays project back in 2016. A year later, she used Kickstarter to raise funding for the first print run, and in 2018 Chronicle Books acquired her deck.
We got to know more about Grace and her artistic process—read on below!
Tell us about your work. When did you discover art and/or illustration as your passion/career?
I’m a multidisciplinary artist and visual designer. My work bridges the gap between art, tech, and spirituality, making it accessible for people to access their own intuition. I believe that self-awareness is one of the most important things we can cultivate, and we can only do that when we take the time to nourish our souls and build that relationship with the most important person in your life, you! My hope is that my work allows you to do just that, giving you not only artwork but tangible tools that you can use to connect with yourself, because the more you know who you are, the more you can positively impact others with your light.
When did your passion for art and spirituality intersect? How do they complement one another?
I’ve been interested in art ever since I can remember and had my dabbling with spirituality here and there growing up. It became much more integrated with my life when I graduated college and moved out to LA. I ended up living there for 5 years (I’m based in Philadelphia now), and as time passed, tarot reading, energy healing, sound baths, and astrology readings all became integrated with my life.
For me, art and spirituality complement one another because they give my work purpose beyond making something aesthetically pleasing. It drives me crazy when people say “make it look pretty!” because everything that you do interact with has an impact on you, whether you notice it or not. I want people to see my work as a way for them to see themselves. It is a reflection and a mirror for them to empower themselves and find their truth.
What was the inspiration behind Mystic Mondays? How did the idea come together?
Mystic Mondays came together because I used to get tarot readings pretty frequently and, after a while, I realized that all the answers I was seeking externally I had within myself. That led me down the path of empowering myself by learning the tarot card meanings and creating my own deck of cards because I did not fully connect to any other deck that I saw out there. I thought that they felt really old fashioned and not relatable, even though the cards and their meanings all pertain to our universal life struggles as humans!
Mystic Mondays as a name came about because I wanted to create something that sounded light-hearted and fun. We often think of Mondays as getting back into the grind, and I wanted to turn that around, and instead, start off our week fresh by setting intentions for ourselves. We can consciously choose how we want our week to go, an intention goes a long way!
Explain the inspiration behind the illustrations and design of the cards. How are color and symbolism used in the design?
I was inspired by vibrant colors and simple geometric shapes. I wanted to make this tarot deck feel bright, positive, and accessible to people, as the old tarot deck seemed outdated to me in today’s modern time, so I approached it from, “how can I make this tarot deck as simple as possible while still depicting the meanings?” With color, I wanted it to have an active role. Energy carries a vibration, and so does color! We can absorb color to help heal us and lift us up.
Did color psychology influence your guidebook?
Yes, absolutely. Color has a way of telling a story, and color also carries high frequencies and low frequencies. This is a high vibrational deck, so I used as many saturated and bold colors as I could! As far as the guidebook, each suit does pertain to an element (cups = water, suit = air, pentacles = earth, and wands = fire), so I matched those suits up with colors that represented those elements for the guidebook pages.
What tools/software did you use? What is that process like?
I mostly use Illustrator for my illustrations, but what was fun about this was that I was able to dive into branding, packaging, marketing, and UI / UX for the app. So my process involved a mix of Illustrator, Photoshop, and After Effects.
What smaller details of the cards tell a greater message?
Generally, I tried to make the cards as simple as possible, so that you get to the heart of the matter much quicker. All the symbolism in the old deck was great and I do enjoy that, however, with my tarot deck, I wanted it to be about how you feel and trust your intuition about what you think the cards mean to you.
For more of Grace’s work, check out her website and find her on Instagram at @grace.duong and @mysticmondays. And for more books and gifts that surprise and delight, check out the Chronicle Books website and Instagram.