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Animals Divine Tarot
The chronology of Lisa Hunt and the evolution of her work
Animals Divine Tarot

Very Early years:
Birth year: 1967
Sign: Capricorn
(Lisa was born on Friday the 13th)

Lisa started drawing as soon as she could hold a pencil in her hand. She spent her New England childhood sketching out the stories that she composed in her head. She loved fairy tales and mythology and derived many of her ideas from universal themes contained in such stories. Even as a young girl, she often included amorphous shapes into her illustrative images without deliberation. It was as though the actual process of movement on paper initiated a stream of consciousness that had unconventional results. She used pan watercolors and pencils and whatever scrap paper she could find.

Teen years:
In high school, she became fascinated by the surrealist movement and began to deliberately incorporate dream imagery into her art as a vehicle for communicating her feelings and ideas. She often drew multilayered forests containing all manner of animals and fantastic creatures, with the roots and branches serving as conduits to other worlds. Lost maidens and inquisitive spirits frequented Lisa’s imaginative forests. She also created shapeshifting portraits of people morphing into spirals of energy, a theme embraced by her family and friends. Her mother still has these portraits hanging in her home. Lisa’s enjoyment of Greek tragedies, mythologies, folktales, fairy tales and all manner of fantastical literature further inspired her artistic endeavors. On her 18th birthday Lisa was given a copy of Brian Froud and Alan Lee’s Faeries and she knew right then and there that she wanted to be a professional illustrator/writer.

As a painfully shy teenager, her inclination to express herself via the arts emboldened her to apply to the educational center for the arts in New Haven, Connecticut for her senior year of high school. Upon acceptance, Lisa made a commitment to pursue her dream of becoming an illustrator/writer—a dream she has never wavered from.

Young adult:
After attending Paier College of Art in Hamden, CT as an illustration major (until money ran out), Lisa began her quest for professional work. After many years and what seemed like hundreds of rejections, Lisa started getting small press magazine work. She supplemented her income with various part time jobs including bookstore clerk, library assistant (where she had the opportunity to present “story hour” to children), and as an assistant art teacher at a community college (an experience that helped her to shed her shyness). She refers to those “starving artist” years as her “hibernating period”, when she and her first husband read voraciously and painted every night until the wee hours in the morning. Their limited resources enabled Lisa to focus on her art and hone her craft without distraction. This was a time when Lisa started realizing her artistic voice and began to truly nurture her own, unique style. She also started displaying her work at various sci-fi /fantasy conventions and began exploring her interest in symbolism and mythology in earnest by visiting as many libraries in New England as she could.

At 25 years old, Lisa sold her first collaborative children’s book to Simon & Schuster and then went on to illustrate numerous publications for both children and adults. When the art director at Llewellyn Publications asked her to illustrate D.J. Conway’s Maiden, Mother, Crone, something clicked and Lisa and D.J. became creatively synchronized. This harmonious relationship resulted in several successful collaborations including the best selling Celtic Dragon Tarot. She also worked with D.J. and Sirona Knight on Shapeshifter Tarot, now in its 6th printing. Lisa considers Celtic Dragon Tarot to be her big breakthrough emotionally, artistically as well as professionally and she reflects back on the project with great fondness.

At 28, Lisa moved to Florida, returned to college (while maintaining her freelance career) and graduated magna cum laude from the Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale with a BS in Computer Animation. She won best digital and print portfolio awards for her presentation of ethereal landscapes and tarot symbolism; exploratory work combining 2D and 3D animation. Lisa says, “The excitement of seeing my art translated into other media was exciting and endlessly challenging. I spent hours upon hours realizing my inner visions through traditional animation and 3D applications. I created shapeshifters, built 3D forests and animated crystal balls in a quest to deliver fantastical narrative utilizing computer software. It was fun, but the computer frustrated me to no end. Ultimately I returned to my roots as a traditional painter and abandoned any future attempts to translate visions via the computer. But I don’t regret the exposure to other media and feel it facilitated creative growth.

Upon graduation, Lisa worked in pre-production as a conceptual designer, but eventually resumed full time freelance work as an illustrator/writer with her chosen medium being traditional watercolors. “The desire to devote myself to watercolor painting supplanted my curiosity with computer arts. I went full circle and returned to the joys of my ‘soul medium’: watercolor on paper.

By 2000, Lisa went on to write and illustrate a full color hard cover book entitled Celestial Goddesses (a project she had been researching since her 20s) followed by the recent release: Animals Divine Tarot (Llewellyn Publications 2005). All the while, she earned her masters degree from the Union Institute and University in Interdisciplinary Studies with an emphasis on Jungian Psychology/Art & Drawing. Her studies allowed her long time interest in symbolism and Jungian & neo-Jungian psychology to fully flower under the tutelage of scholars. She attributes graduate school for empowering her with the additional research tools needed to fully exercise her creative desires as a writer and to push beyond her own perceived limitations as a visual artist. “I found a way to confidently and successfully incorporate multilayered thought processes into my particular creative articulations. As a result, I have lost all fear of failure and have truly entrusted my creative voice to deliver my muse, my message, and my particular interpretations of the world around me. It has also helped me to transpose the complexities of my own inner unconscious and subconscious realms. I hope to explore these worlds more fully as I progress along my personal artistic path. For me, the need to explore and expand myself creatively is an essential component to my being. It’s part of my everyday life.

Over the years she has illustrated numerous products including collectible gaming cards (she is best known for her ethereal spirits), book covers, interior book illustrations, magazines, calendars etc. In addition to Lisa’s illustration and writing career, she worked as an adjunct instructor for nearly five years in the Media Arts program at The Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale. She had taught many diverse subjects including Animal Drawing, Dynamic Anatomy and Scripting & Storyboarding.

Late thirties:
Upon completing Animals Divine Tarot in 2004, Lisa gave birth to a baby girl and has devoted herself to motherhood (she also has a five year old son) and studio work ever since. She is currently working on two more contracted projects (to be announced) and intends to continue writing and illustrating for many years to come. “My work isn’t just my vocation, it’s an inherent part of my soul”.

Lisa lives with her talented husband, graphic designer/photographer Kort Kramer, who she met at the Art Institute and subsequently at a book signing. They share a home in Florida with their children, 3 cats, 5 goldfish and a host of visiting geckos, ibises, ducks and all manner of tropical wildlife.

Some artistic influences:
Sulamith Wulfing, Remedios Varos, Susan Seddon Boulet, Salvador Dali, Marilee Heyer, Margot McLean, JW Waterhouse, Women pre-raphaelite artists, The Romantic painters of the 19th century, Adolphe-William Bouguereau, Caspar Friedrich, Gustav Klimt, Arthur Rackham, Yoshitaka Amano, Robert Ingpen, David Mack, Alan Lee, Brian Froud, Lisbeth Zwerger, P.J. Lynch, Gennedy Spirin, Kinuko Craft, Trina Schart Hyman, Lauren Mills & Dennis Nolan, Leo & Diane Dillon, Richard Jesse Watson and many more.

Here are some of Lisa’s favorite and/or most influential books:

The Giant All Color Book of Fairy Tales: 50 Best Loved Stories (Golden Books) –Received when I was 4 years old. Worn, but it is still loved.

Dream Animals by James Hillman, paintings by Margot McClean –My all time favorite!

Fairy Tales from South Africa by Bourhill & Drake –I have an original 1908 printing and it is a treasure!

Buffalo Girls, Won’t You Come Out Tonight by Ursula LeGuin, illustrated by Susan Seddon Boulet

Unexpected Journeys: The Art and Life of Remedios Varo by Janet A. Kaplan

Concerning the Spiritual in Art by Wassily Kandinsky

The Power of Myth by Joseph Campbell with Bill Moyers:

The Archetypes of the Collective Unconscious by Carl G, Jung

Women Who Run With the Wolves by Clarissa Pinkola Estes, Ph.D.

Shaman: The Paintings of Susan Seddon Boulet

The Little Mermaid by Hans Christian Anderson, illustrated by Sulamith Wulfing

Goddesses in World Mythology by Martha Ann Imel et al

Seventy-Eight Degrees of Wisdom by Rachel Pollack

The Dream Hunters by Neil Gaiman, illustrated by Yoshitaka Amano

The Martian Chronicles by Ray Bradbury

The Complete Concrete by Paul Chadwick

Faeries by Brian Froud and Alan Lee

Dragonworld by Byron Preiss and Michael Reaves (illustrated by Joseph Zucker)

Charlotte’s Web by E.B White – A childhood favorite I read over and over again.

… and so many more, too many to list!

My favorite Tarot Decks/Oracles in my collection:
The Vertigo Tarot
Animal Spirits
Oracles by Sulamith Wulfing
The Legend Tarot
The Lover’s Path Tarot
The Goddess Tarot
Golden Tarot of Klimt

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