Holly Simple is a Philadelphia based artist, cartoonist, and illustrator. Mother to the Holly Simple Tarot and Fuzzy Prism Oracle decks, her work activates a sense of child-like whimsy, while connecting us deeper to the heart of playful wisdom, and the spirit of creativity, and kindness.
We recently interviewed Holly to discuss her work, and forthcoming oracle card deck, Amulet Friends (please see the Kickstarter video below, and donate if you feel called to *we did, and hope you will too*).
Interview: Artist Holly Simple’s Wonderful (and Mystical) World of Whimsy
First of all, wow. Your work is so inspiring, whimsical, mystical and fun! I love how your spirit shines through all of your art, and have to take a moment to honor that and share. In your own process, what are some of the key feelings you hope people are able to feel as they find (and work with) your creations?
Jennifer! Thank you! And Thank you for this interview!
Some of the feelings i hope others experience are “trust” “curiosity” and “joy.” For years and years before creating work from my present day physical/mental and spiritual space, I was obsessed with trying to “draw trust” like HOW DO YOU DRAW THE WORD TRUST!? This practice developed over time. I believe it really shines through on my Fuzzy Prism oracle deck. The decks and other work I make comes from a place of utter inspiration and deep feels. It is not all roses and butterflies. During deep dark times is when I create some of the most epic work but even through those moments I live in trust, and my hope is others experience that sense of ease through my work.
You’re able to bridge the gap between highbrow/lowbrow worlds in such a unique way, and incorporating the mystical element really inspires the imagination. On your site, you state “It is IMPERATIVE that the grime of the indie zine and comics scene live throughout her work and visa
“, do you mind elaborating on how this ethos came to be? versa
This paradox is ME! I have always been an artist, specifically into comics and illustration. Through learning how to storytell within the confines of a “comic strip” or storyboard, I built confidence in telling MY story in new ways. Art MUST be accessible to the masses because for me, art and creation are my medicine. I believe it works for others too. “High brow” represents the highly vibrational ways art can help us SEEK and GROW. “Low brow” are the little things that ignite inspiration, a silly pin, stickers, an x rated zine! Authenticity is crucial, therefore I will never not make crazy silly stuff in addition to tools for healing 🙂 These are the things that make ME tick.
What are some of your favorite comics, and indie zines, and how do you feel they’ve inspired your work and/or process?
I am so weird…..! I have always been an isolator in the creation room. I sorta “don’t want to know what is out there” so during my years of making zines and comics I truly didn’t have favorite cartoonists. HOWEVER…. My absoluten #1 Is Joan Cornella. Through his wild comics I was inspired to tell stories in a new way. My bff Meghan Turbitt is the person who first showed me how to organize a story and template it into a zine/comic. We collaborated on a bunch of hilarious stuff back in the day. We once made a “BATHROOM RULES” comic strip poster for a well known coffee shop in Williamsburg, BK. At the time, we were both in dark places…. So the end result was a bit taboo and too X-Rated to be hung in the space. LOL. Now it’s in my bathroom here in Philly.
The Holly Simple Tarot (and guidebook) is such a wondrous take on the major and minor arcana. Which of your cards do you relate to most, and what special significance do they have to you?
THANK YOU! I love answering this question because the answer is always changing. For a while i embodied the Daughter of Wands (paige), then the High Priestess and Empress for a long bit, and now I am in a Star space. This all actually makes sense if I think about the progression of my work and inner self. COOL!
Your oracle deck, Fuzzy Prism, also has such an effervescent feeling! How did you decide to create your own oracle? Can you share a little about that creative process, and how the specific words chosen for each card came to you?
After I made Holly Simple Tarot… i was like OK WHAT IS NEXT!? Because i was OOZING with ideas, visualizations and inspiration. That project really launched me into a new dimension of creative openness. I was already using the Ascended Masters Oracle in my daily ritual so it sorta just came to me to create my own version of an oracle deck. The creation and birth of Fuzzy Prism helped me get through an extremely hard time. I was grieving my father who passed suddenly and all of those emotions, fear and joys had an outlet, this deck! My spirituality only grew deeper during this time and my hope is that others can find comfort in my work and use the Fuzzy Prism as a tool to assist through difficult or beautiful times too.
Your next deck, The Amulet Friends Oracle, looks SO AMAZING! Can you please share a little more about what inspired this, and what you’ll be exploring within the cards?
OMG this deck! I am like beyond stoked to get this into the world. It is a next level oracle deck that came to me during a time of major OPENNESS and soul level love. Over the Summer I was able to travel a bunch to the Southwest and spent weeks in the mountains and dessert. I had NEVER seen the mountains on this level. They spoke to me, broke me open and sparked me like a lightning bolt. At this time I was involved with an amazing human who taught me how to open my heart, soul and spirit in new and epic ways. This combination was the perfect recipe. This deck is packed full of power, healing, high vibes, questions, answers, confidence, fear, faith and COLOR. This palette is a direct result of Santa Fe and Taos, New Mexico. The soft desert hues, the mountains, Ma Nature, the wild street art, and duh… sunsets. Dang I miss it! The card’s messages are shown through animals. I was inspired to go this route after having two guides this last year. A Blue Bird and Robin. I looked to them all of 2018 for guidance and they showed UP FOR ME! After being so inspired by nature and my guides, I knew that animals needed to be the visual storytellers for this deck. I collaged them in weird ways making the cards look like present day Christian Prayer cards or Buddhist Deity paintings!
Do you have a release date for the deck, or any fun new events coming up?
At the moment my Kickstarter is poppin off. Once that is complete I will be able to work full time on this project. I foresee a few months out like late Summer! HOPEFULLY! One thing I have learned is to never make plans lol. Timing is totally up to the Universe I just produce as I am inspired to, and take the next right action.
What piece of advice would you offer to someone on the creative (and mystical) path, who is looking to create their own zine, oracle deck, or system of divination?
JUST KEEP MAKING. One thing that helped me is to create work in the reg. The more I am in that space the ideas flow. For me, meditation and running help me then to remove myself from the bubble, and organize my thoughts. Just start, it doesn’t have to make sense yet. Oh, and ask for help! That was really hard for me in the beginning but once i started putting myself out there, abundance (creative) met me halfway!
How do you incorporate spiritual practice into your creative practice and vice versa?
Great question! 🙂 They are one in the same. When I am making, I am in a spiritual space. Before I found spirituality, I was creating… and I wondered why that was my safe haven? It is because it is my path and deep longing to make work that punctures on a deeper level. When i am creating work i feel like i am in meditation. I also meditate. When I am in that quiet place of meditation or prayer i literally SEE things! These visualizations often become my work. If I stop doing any of these things for any period of time, my brain gets mushy… things get pretty scary… LOL. Spirituality + Creating are my medicine.
What makes you happiest, and most excited about the future?
Color makes me the happiest. I am most excited about the path I am on and I trust I will be shown what is next. I try not to live in the future because when I do that I lose all sense of reality. It enables me to be in my moment. Believe me, I do it… but it often ends in anxious thoughts! My hope is the more and more and MORE people find these tools… and that more and more and MORE people start to wake the F up and we change the vibration of this place (earth)!
And, speaking of the future? What are your biggest dreams for the Holly Simple universe?
Some my goals are to have my own Universe. JK! OMG that would be so hilarious! For reals, I hope to get into the fashion world a tad. I plan to design fabrics and make clothing. Fashion (“Fashin”) is a huge piece of my identity an another way to creatively share my work and self (one in the same) with the world. I hope to someday collab with peeps in the biz. Where you at? I would also like to start working larger. Like big ass paintings or MURALS. YES MURALS!!!!!!
Where can we learn more about your work?
- My work is found through my website www.hollysimpestudio.com
- My self is found through IG @holly_simple and musings @hollysimpletarot (this is my favorite platform)
- I am also on Facebook as HOLLY SIMPLE the page, not the person
- … AND….. My Amulet Friends Oracle Kickstarter can be found by clicking here.