Saturday, April 18, 2015


PSYCHOBILLY TAROT is guessed it, a tarot deck of custom made cards to make up the Major Arcana. Major Arcana is a full suit of 22 cards, which is made up of 22 trump cards and 4 aces, with original illustrations featuring psychobilly themes. This is standard deck for tarot readers. Not only is this Psychobilly Tarot cards created for readers, but for Rockabilly collectors and enthusiasts.

The artist that created the concept, Michael W. Hallberg was commissioned to illustrate the designs for the artwork. In addition to the Psychobilly Tarot cards, there are matching t-shirt designs, concepts for various merchandise, so people can own different kinds of Psychobilly Tarot

Right now, Psychobilly Tarot is in need of funding to finish the project, so they will be opening a Kickstarter to raise the remaining funds to complete the remaining 9 designs and go to print.


Michael W. Hallberg is 28 years professional experience in illustration, screen printing, photography, motion picture, print and design. Clients include NASA, Disney, NASCAR, NHRA, Budweiser, The US Gov & Military, a billion shirts for Ron Jons Surf Shop, Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, House of Blues, shirt designs for Grave Digger (because monster trucks RULE!) Aerosmith, Graceland, Prince and a slew of bands across America.

In his own words- "I got into art sideways, no schooling. An aunt of mine whom I thought was cool drew horses and liked The Rolling Stones & Johnny Cash. That was enough to set me on the path. Then I got good enough that chicks dug my work and people handed over cash.

Done, career path established.

From there on out, the artist Robert Williams kind of was my guiding light philosophically: “Take Mescaline and learn to draw eyeballs & skulls…”.

Pepper that with being a 3rd generation worker at Kennedy Space Center, where I got the technical side in photography and visualization down, and I developed a desire to communicate (with mostly eyeballs, spaceships & skulls…). I turned my creative eye loose on highly, engineering oriented stuff, the best of

Interview with Michael W. Hallberg

All Indie: How did you come up with the Rockabilly art concepts? Were the designed 100 percent your idea or was this part of Kurt Wenz idea?

Michael: Kurt had the concept of a Psychobilly, monster, 50’s Sci-Fi tarot mashup that had to work as t-shirts and cards and it took me a while to figure out how to make that work visually. It’s not a clear design path so to make it cohesive and still feel like all the things required was the primary style struggle, gladly, I think I hit all the marks visually for Kurt’s concept.

All Indie: It seems that illustrating for t-shirt designs is your specialty. Is this the first time your illustrations will be used for cards?

Michael: Actually no, I do a lot of work for various government and education groups (I spent 5 years creating training at Kennedy Space Center so training has been another big aspect of my work over the last 25 years.)

I was involved in a project a few years ago for UCF and the US Army to design an overall layout and backing for training cards for US Army Combat Medics, they’re playing cards but also have training techniques that could be used as a separate game from traditional cards and set up field medic scenarios, it was a cool project, I also did the card back for the USMC Combat Hunters.

First time for tarot cards however.

All Indie: Some of the designs are incredible and have awesome detail, especially "The Lovers" design (which is my favorite). How did these concepts come to mind?

Michael: I’m not a traditional illustrator as my hand drawing skills have always been so-so and I never took to it but that never stopped me from wanting to do art and I ended up doing a lot of band flyers in the 80’s and 90’s, old school, cut and paste Xerox and tape. That collage style kind of creates limitations you have to work around, what images are available, what you have to try and say style wise, I like a kind of busy, layered, textured look but still holding onto that gritty copy machine, paste up feel so you have to balance all these elements and fill all the space but not distract.

Mostly the concepts fall into place after I go searching for ‘how’ to make the design, I usually have a vague idea but they design themselves after you get the pieces and see what’ll work together, that’s part of the fun for me, it’s kind of art chaos, the opposite of, ‘mastery’, I guess, I’m only kind of in control of the design, I like it that way, we duke it out.

All Indie: Some of the detail is so realistic that it appears as if you've drawn over real photos.

Michael: Back to the, ‘where the designs come from’, question, there’s a lot of overdraw but a lot of keeping it loose to the source materiel, I like that element of colliding styles and textures making a unified whole and will usually only overdraw to make a unified texture for the finished piece, kind of like the old masters varnish, I had a painter friend who said, ‘doesn’t matter what I make as long as the varnish goes on last and ties it all together’, there’s some truth to that.

All Indie: You have an impeccable resume. You've been commissioned to work some of the greatest music artists of all time like Areosmith, Neil Young, BB King, and many more. Who would you say was your favorite client and why?

Michael: I’d have to say my favorite client’s been Kurt, he likes running amok with the art, he pays and he’s a cool guy, after that, I did a bunch of designs for this whacky Christian company (ironic since I’m an atheist but hey, those guys have got some good art!)

He was an MMA trainer and former pro football player who decided he wanted to do like a religious version of, “Tap Out’ and ‘Affliction’ style shirts, kind of a tough guy, we beat you up for Jesus thing, it was another whackAmole mash up of concepts, he’d call at 3am with crazy ideas that should never, ever be made into t-shirts and somehow we’d make them work, giant gold chains with $100 bills and money symbolism all over with a bible verse condemning money, a giant champion belt printed at the waist line of a shirt with gold leaf, never print giant designs with gold leaf at the stomach level of a shirt, you make everybody look like a Star Bellied Sneetch.

The rock and roll stuff was all corporate and we had minimal input from the artists which was a drag but Steven Tyler & Joe Perry made it known they where pleased with my designs, I thought that was cool.

All Indie: What do you particularly like about the Psychobilly Tarot project?

Michael: It’s like pop culture Tetris, it’s really challenging to make the concept stay together and not fall apart into complete mayhem, it’s always a fun puzzle, I’d always wanted to do some sort of tarot something and this has really been the perfect way to do it, I love t-shirt art and all the elements in the concept so it made sense.

All Indie: If you don't mind me asking, what are some of the ideas that you have about the remaining 9 designs?

Michael: Stranger and more obscure, I like adding a lot of inside jokes/info into the designs so they work for a lot of people at a lot of levels, tarot people, Psychobilly, music, movie buffs, nerds and weirdos, something for everybody in a lunatic niche’.

All Indie: When do you anticipate a launch of the new Psychobilly Tarot products?

Michael: Please speak to our evil overlord Kurt, I just make the pretty pictures ;)

All Indie: For the official launch party, are you going to be in attendance to sign autographs and be apart of the fun?

Michael: If there are Mai Tai’s, pinup girls and those little pig in a blanket things, all to a Reverend Horton Heat soundtrack, absolutely, if not, yeah, still likely…

Find out more about Psychobilly Tarot:
Official Website:

No comments:

Post a Comment