MUNICH — (MunichNOW Arts & Culture) — There has been a palpable buzz in the Munich Artists community over their latest project “Munich Artists Playing Cards” and we recently had the opportunity to chat with the local artist behind the project, Elizabeth Hughes.

MunichNOW:  How about a few introductory words from you? You are… and you are from… and your artistic interests are… and your studio is where… ?
My name is Elizabeth Hughes and I’m from Birmingham, Alabama, USA. I came to Munich for love (as so many do!) by way of Paris, Nantes, and Vienna. As of October I’m splitting my time between Munich and Berlin as I begin my Master’s in art history. I studied art history during my Bachelor’s and seriously considered going into art conservation and restoration before throwing myself into the production of my own art full-time.

Munich Artist Elizabeth Hughes
Munich Artist Elizabeth Hughes

Particularly since moving to Europe, art and cultural history has played an important role in the production of my art. The first pieces I created were very much about my interpretation of the place surrounding me. I wanted to resolve the conflicting ideas of my European dream and what I encountered.

MunichNOW Nissan

I wanted to put myself in the shoes of a culture with a history hundreds of years older than my own. Slowly this thought process transformed into interpreting my mental place in another country. I wanted to reconcile my thoughts on the struggles of being a foreigner, the privilege I benefit from as an American, and the excitement and exhaustion that comes with living in a foreign language.

Ultimately it is all about placing my own experiences in an art historical context, and I am especially drawn to artists who are dealing with similar themes.

Munich Artists Playing Cards
Munich Artists Playing Card from Emmy Horstkamp

MN:  We understand the idea for this playing cards project came from you. How did that all come about?
EH:  The motivation to make playing cards as opposed to just postcards or posters, etc was to find a product that would connect artists to each other, the artists to the community and the community to the artists and the people within the community to each other. Playing cards can be both exclusive and common. It’s something that everyone has, whether they use them regularly or not.

They’re used to casually pass the time amongst friends, and they’re used in James Bond-esque poker world championships. They can be a souvenir from a trip, but also a way to connect the locals to their city. With a deck of cards, supporters of our project can own 54 prints of original artwork without breaking the bank and it’s a way for art to be incorporated into everyday life.

Munich Artists Playing Card from Alexandra Ritter
Munich Artists Playing Card from Alexandra Ritter
MunichNOW Golfcenter Ismaning

MN:   …and Munich artists are designing the cards? How many are involved and how did you choose them?
EH:   We have a total of 13 artists participating (myself included.) These artists were all chosen because of the quality and diversity of their portfolios. I wanted a mixture of artists working in different mediums and styles. It just so happens that all the participating artists also showed at the Munich Artists’ 500 Artists Say Hello exhibit in April.

They are all artists who support making art accessible to everyone and the development of community-building art projects. We have artists born and raised in Munich, but many have adopted Munich as their new home. We have artists from Italy, the US, Australia, Turkey as well. I think that says a lot about Munich as an international and welcoming city. And it makes for fascinating perspectives of our city!

MN:  There are two different decks we see. Why is that and what are the differences between the two?
EH:   We have a playing card deck and a deluxe deck. The playing cards are slightly smaller than the standard poker card and are printed on smooth paper. The deluxe deck will be printed on linen paper and standard poker size.

MN:  Will there be prints available of the designs used on the cards?
EH:  Yes, most of the rewards on Kickstarter include an A6 or A4-sized print of an art piece. We are looking into having prints available for purchase at the event as well.

Munich Artists Playing Cards
Munich Artists Playing Cards Reverse Design from Elizabeth Hughes

MN:  We understand that the reverse side of the cards was your creation – what were your inspirations for this design?
EH:  It just seemed so natural that Munich be represented by a lion, so one of the lions at the Residenz served as my model from the very first sketches for the card back. I also wanted to include a references to the rest of Bavaria and decided to place the lion at the center of a compass rose. To the North are hops, to the South are the Alps, to the East is the Bavarian Forest, and to the West is the Romantic Road. Even the background pattern was inspired by tile work at a Munich government building!

MN:  The project is being funded through Kickstarter – how is that going? I might add that MunichNOW has joined the Kickstarter campaign.
EH:  We are so thrilled with all the support we have received from Munich locals, and all the supporters abroad and who hold Munich close in their hearts. With 5 days to go we have 92% funded, and are working hard to spread the word and get that last 200 Euro. If we exceed our goal, all the money will go to printing more cards.

Play the video to find out about donating to this local artists project!
Munich Artists Playing Cards Kickstarter Link

MN:  Will donors be able to purchase the card decks at a reduced price?
EH:  Starting with a 15 Euro donation supporters will receive a deluxe deck of cards, and several of the mid-range donation rewards include multiple decks, but we are not offering a reduced rate for multiple decks yet.

MN:  Will the decks be available later on to the general public?
EH:   Yes! We have talked to several local stores about carrying the cards and will publish a list of where people can buy our cards both in-store and online.

MN:  What other projects are you working on? Where can people see you work and find out more about your creative projects?
EH:   I’m currently working as an illustrator on another project with Munich Artists called Munich Stories.  I recently headed up a small project called International Postcard Exchange. It’s a simplified exquisite corpse project, where artists around the world send a postcard-sized artwork to each other and add on to the original work.

Apart from that I always have several paintings and drawings in the works. Anyone interested in my art or in collaborations can learn more and contact me via my website

I’ve included a mixture of my art for the playing cards and some of my other pieces. First is an example of one of my oil paintings, titled “Conservé: Chaumont/Galeries d’Anatomie comparée.” Next is the watercolor and ink piece I showed in the 500 Artists Say Hello exhibit, titled “A Toutes les Gloires de la France.” Third is an example of some of the smaller, fun “doodles” that I do. This is my Munich illustration and part of my “Food Stains Travelogue.” Lastly is one of my cards for the card deck. It’s the interior of the Jagd- und Fischereimuseum as well as one of their Wolpertinger.

MN: Thanks for your time and all the information. We really are looking forward to seeing the finished card decks!

Donate NOW! The project needs your help and support!
Munich Artists Playing Cards Kickstarter Link

Munich Artists Playing Cards
Munich Artists Playing Card Proofs Have Finally Arrived!