CJC Interview: Mary Evans, Creator of 'Spirit Speak' Tarot Cards

Photos //   Zohn Mandel  ©

Photos // Zohn Mandel ©

Tell us a little about your path so far— where are you from? Where are you currently?  Share a few career highlights. In 2016 I moved four times. I’ve moved around a lot, but I’m currently settled in Joshua Tree CA. If you haven’t heard of it, it’s a beautiful desert town next to the Joshua Tree State Park. It sort of looks like an alien or post apocalyptic landscape full of huge boulder formations. At one point it used to be underwater, and I think about that a lot.

I have been making art since I was a child exploring many mediums since then such as; painting, metals, printmaking, and, fashion. I am most known for my illustrations. My work first gained popularity when I published the Spirit Speak Tarot Deck in 2014.” 

Where do you find inspiration? I think my inspiration comes from a multitude of places, my intuition, my surroundings, my community of strong female identified creators. I like to buy second hand because I’m inspired by the uniqueness in what I can dig up and the mystery of the lives those objects have lived before and how they found their way to me. It gets my creative gears turning, the things left and forgotten.”

How would you describe your personality? My deepest trait is dedication to my craft. I hold a high importance on working and putting energy into my art practice. As I have matured the focus has grown even more. It’s made me slightly less playful than I have felt in the past.

I hope to be a kind and approachable person. I like to ride the line between tacky and trendy. I like that feeling when something is just a little off in the best way.”

Mary Evans

What does being an ‘entrepreneur’ mean to you? First, being an entrepreneur is very different for female identified people than it is for men. Because it wasn't until recently that women have the access to that type of success. Therefore as a woman, my business is about being empowered in my success.

The first question people ask me when I tell them what I do for a living is “And you make money doing that?"  It links back to a deep patriarchal thinking that women can’t be successful. And even though I’d like to say something sarcastic in return to that very common insult I often receive, I try to have compassion for the way our world is changing and that not everyone has wrapped their mind around these ideas yet.

In entrepreneurship, it’s about how you choose to create your reality and having full autonomy in that."

What’s the biggest misconception you face WFH or as an entrepreneur? I sometimes have trouble gaining respect for my time because I have the privilege of working from home. People have an idea that I don’t work, that I have a ton of free time, and that my schedule is malleable. I have a set weekly schedule of hours and I work incredibly hard each week.”

Who was the last person that inspired you and why? My friend and artist Shari Elf has inspired me so much. She uses recycled clothing to then transform into new pieces by adding patches, crochet, and, screen prints. She also makes fine art pieces from recycled materials. I admire the way she accounts for the destructive nature of the textile industry in her business model. 

The written words in her work have a simple way of communicating the message of self-love and empowerment. Some of my favorites are “R.I.P EGO” and “I AM MEDICINE”.”

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What’s your favorite ‘me-time’ or ’self-care' activity? “I have been taking off work every Friday to create garments. Taking this time to explore and hone the craft of sewing has been important “me time” lately. Cleaning my house and organizing are ways I take care of myself. I love to spending time with my giant wild puppy Sadie, and my fluffy diva of a cat, Priscilla.”

What is the biggest lesson you learned in your 20s? When I was in my early 20s, as many do, I struggled with knowing my direction. Looking back, I didn’t need one then. I was exploring, making mistakes, and figuring out what worked for me. I have A LOT of fun. I was a happy smelly mess and I loved it.  

I published my first tarot deck when I was 24. This was also the age that I stopped drinking alcohol, which changed my habits and priorities. Age 27 now, I have spent the last four years building a business and developing 5 decks with a 6th one on the way. 

I think what I was working toward all that time, the big lesson I learned, was to take my work seriously, or to value it. And also to believe in myself, to be genuine, to stand behind my efforts, to know my worth. I have 2 more years left before I reach my 30s and I plan on milking as many of these lessons that I can before my Saturn Return hits.”

What is your outlook on your future career? Your career industry? “I hope to pursue publishing, writing, and fashion. I’d love to write a book about my experiences making these card decks and my philosophy behind my practice. I see the future of this industry expanding to include more people doing similar self-created businesses.”

If you could give one piece of career advice what would it be? “Stay true. Don’t sacrifice yourself for success. Don’t compare yourself to your peers, rather spend time looking up to mentors.”

Who do you find in business, a personal mentor or celebrity figure to be most intriguing? I have been inspired by the community of #Girlboss because it has created space for female identifying entrepreneurs to share themselves in an authentic way. I am really into the new Girlboss podcast Self Service with Jerico Mandybur. I was lucky enough to be a guest on the Mercury Retrograde 101 episode if you want to hear me chat more about tarot :). Having their support meant so much to me and has inspired me to lift up other entrepreneurs too.”

If you weren’t pursuing your current career, what would you want to be doing? I feel that I am doing exactly what I want to be doing. I am not afraid to change and form my business as my interests change and develop. I built this business because it gave me joy, and I intend to keep following that path.”

If you could give younger self any bit of wisdom what would it be? “Don’t be afraid of your mistakes or perceived failures. These are the learning experiences that will be integrated into your success.”

How do you define success? I define success as cultivating happiness and expressing yourself in the best way you know how.”

What do you believe most prepared/inspired you to work solo—i.e. corporate experience, college, friends, family, etc.? I think my work has always been solo. Because my work is so personal, it simply didn’t fit into other jobs/business. My work lived side by side amongst my many day jobs until my work could support itself.”

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What is your favorite Instagram to follow? Favorite brands on social? Oh so many! It would be impossible to list them all! But I will say a few. I absolutely love Serpent and Bow @serpentandbow. Rachel Blodgett creates undergarments with love and intention. She shares words of wisdom, and her own vulnerability. It’s a business practice I can really get behind. 

Solee Darrell @soleedarrelljewelry always makes the most beautiful sterling silver rings, necklaces, and, earrings. In her custom creations she uses what the client is personally trying to manifest as inspiration for her work. I have 2 of her rings and I just want more! I really admire businesses like Solee’s where each item is tailor made with so much thought.

 Lise Silva @lisesilva who is a collaborator on our collective project @inthehouseoflovers has always been such a joy and inspiration for me. I love to see everything that comes from her brilliant magical brain.

I just found this artist Ariana Papademetropoulos @arianapapademetropoulos and I think her paintings are so amazing. I love the atmospheric feeling of her work.”

What’s something few people know about you? I love to sing. But mostly in secret ;).”

The Crackerjack Collective is a series of informal interviews for These New Walls, featuring my entrepreneur and/or work from home network that continuously inspires me. These interviews are meant to, in turn, inspire others looking for similar insight on what we do and the motivation to get started. Know someone extraordinary that you want to see featured in the CJC? Send us an email. x Kate, Founder, TNW