The Memento Mori Playing Cards from an Artist's Perspective

Recently, Maztermind has just released Memento Mori - a deck of playing cards with an extremely impressive design. Unlike previously released playing cards such as The Historic playing cards and Immortals - The legends of Vietnam, which are inspired by historical figures, Memento Mori is an artistic or symbolic trope acting as a reminder of the inevitability of death.

In Latin, Memento Mori means "Remember that you must die" implying human lifespan is limited, so we need to cherish every moment of living. Memento Mori playing cards were created for you to experience with your friends and loved ones, fully enjoying each moment as if it were the last day of your life. 

This mesmerizing Memento Mori was created by Middgette, an illustrator and a graphic designer student at Massart. With the playing cards, the illustrations blend her personal struggles with the subject matter of strange “magique” and demonstrate her cynical, naughty, and active art style.

About the artist

Why is art? 

Because art is not what you see, but what you make others see ;)

Three words to describe yourself?

Small, Creative, and Open.

Three words to describe your art style?

Cynical, Naughty, and Active.

What art do you identify with?

I think my art style is a mixture of comic art and surrealism. But I don't want "name" my style, but let the viewer judge it for themselves.

About the playing cards 

Can you share a bit about the main concept of Memento Mori?

Memento Mori is a Latin phrase that means "Remember that you will die". This is one of my favorite quotes because it reminds me to live as I've never lived. I hope players have the best games and memories they've ever had when playing Memento Mori. Play like your life is depending on it.

Three words to describe the deck?

Mysterious, unparalleled, and dark.

What is the inspiration behind the deck?

This deck was created out of a sketch of a joker. It was an image of a clown with a carefree spirit. I found that image to be quite unique and fun. Then I used it as a main character in the playing cards. The Joker in Memento Mori is not only a joker card but also a mascot of the deck.

Why did you pick the theme about death?

I think death happens to everyone, and everyone should be more comfortable with that thought. Death is not an end, but a beginning for the soul to discover new things.Why did you choose this drawing style to express the death?

I am still in the process of learning and discovering my style. I find my drawing style now quite new, unusual, and a bit simple - in terms of colors and linework. I think the meaning of an artwork is more important than the style. As long as I can convey what I want the audience to see. With The Memento Mori playing cards, I want players not to put too much emphasis on the theme of this deck, but instead, just enjoy the deck.

What is the message behind this playing cards? 

Death is not an end but a new beginning for the soul to discover new things :) Play like your life is depending on it :)

What do you think Memento Mori says about yourself?

I love things that are complicated and mysterious in my eyes, and always want to learn more about it (like after death, where do our souls go?)

Can you share a little bit about your process of designing the deck?

I've been brainstorming a lot, and day by day I'm putting all ideas together in my head. Joker is a very impressive image to me because it is a carefree character, a clown in society which makes me think of Chi Pheo, a character of Nam Cao. He created him to talk about how society treats each other.

Do you want to change anything in this deck? 

As far as I can see, this deck has a lot of things to fix. But if there is a chance for me to fix it, I would still leave everything as it is. Because I see this as a motivation for me to continue to work hard and to enhance my skills for the next projects ^^.

Which card is the most difficult or the most time-consuming for you to draw?

All the cards are very difficult for me. And to create the illustration for each card, I spent about a day and a half completing it.

Your favorite card would be?

Joker because it is the OG (original) character of the deck. It is the reason why the Memento Mori deck was created.

What are the Easter eggs hidden in your artwork? 

If you pay attention, the Queen, Jack, King, and Ace cards illustrations are all Jokers with different shapes and clothes. 

What does Memento Mori mean to you?

Memento Mori is my brainchild when I face difficulties in life. It's like a motivation for me to try and create as many artworks as I can. Because…you only live once.

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