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First Look: Kings Wild's Artist for the Hive Deck



On January 2014, Kings Wild released a teaser image giving us a glimpse of what the upcoming playing card look like. The image reveals little besides the name of the deck, the bee hive inspired back and it is from the newest Kings Wild artist.

Since then, the Hive deck as it is now known has been under the radar. Kings Wild has kept quiet about the design of the cards, the tuck box or even the identify of the artist. Until now.

Kardify is excited to announce the identity of Kings Wild artist for the Hive deck:


Brendan Hong. 


If you've backed Kings Wild's Sherlock Holmes Playing Cards and the Independence Playing Cards project,  you have probably seen Brendan in the comments section answering backer's queries as part of the Kings Crew.

As part of the exclusive, Brendan sat down with Kardify to talk about his background, how he became a Kings Wild artist, his passion for the Hive deck and his future with Kings Wild. Before we begin, I want to thank Kings Wild for this exclusive reveal and the unreleased images of the deck & the Ace of Spades.


Could you introduce yourself to our readers? What is your design background?
I am a freelance illustrator that works out of Toronto, Canada. A few years ago, I graduated from the flying checked shoebox in the sky that is called OCAD with a bachelor in designs in illustration, which sounds like a mouthful. There is a lot of creativity in both sides of my family, but not a lot of artist so it felt fun to be a first in my family.

How did you end up being a Kings Wild artist?
It all started last year when Jackson was doing Google Hangouts with backers and crew members during the Sherlock Holmes Kickstarter project. We got talking and I told him that I was an illustrator. I started to show off my work to Jackson. He liked what he saw and suggested that we collaborated together on a project.

I was hesitant as first as it s kind of a daunting project to create 54 individual artworks (52 cards plus 2 jokers, as most decks these days come with a double backer and blank card). But I slowly warmed up to the idea. I thought it was a great way for both of us to get the best of both worlds in a new venture.

For me, I could create a deck and not worry about the fulfillment side, which I am man enough to admit gives me nightmares, and for Jackson, it was a way to build this company further in creating a platform to work with other artist in creating beautiful functional works of art in a deck of playing cards.



Can you describe the Hive deck and why you’re passionate about it?
The Hive deck comes from my love of the Bee deck of playing card by USPCC. I grew up watching Hong Kong cinema as a kid where the Bee deck is used in a lot of gambling and casino movies. I remember playing with a deck of Bee cards as a kid and loving that wonderful Ace of Spaces and the fun jokers. I wanted to create a deck that takes inspiration from that as well as from other beautiful decks from the past.  

From the teaser pictures, I really like the clean back design and the beautiful illustrated Queen of Hearts! What role did you play in the art direction and how much time did you spend working on the deck?
Thank you for those kind words about the cards. I've actually had a lot of free range in working with Jackson. I think he understands from an artist and art director point of view where you need to step in where you should just leave creativity to work if it's working best. The old adage of "if it's not broken, don't fix it" comes to mind. I don't keep track of time when I work as time honestly flies by when things are getting done, but I start with a very traditional design process of though through thumbnails to roughs to taking things into the computer to create the final version. Depending on how the rough work is going, it can taken between 1-2 days to get a card finished. It's funny to admit that I had more trouble designing the tuckbox as packaging is not one of my strengths.

What are your thoughts about the growth of custom playing cards in the past year? Are you planning to release more decks under the Kings Wild label in the future?
I think it's been great to see the growth of custom playing cards within the last year or two. It's wonderful to see all these artist and designers breathing new life back into playing cards. It feels like a Renaissance for custom playing cards now. I've definitely got a few ideas that I'm working through at the moment, but there's no rush so I'm letting the ideas brew and stew until I feel that they're ready. I'm definitely looking forward to working with Jackson again as Kings Wild artist. It's been a lot of fun for the both of us and I just can't wait for this first deck to finally become a reality.  



What are your three favorite non-Kings Wild playing cards?
That's honestly a tough question. There's way too many decks on the market that are just beyond amazing. But to bring the list down to three, in no particular order I'd have to say the JAQK, that first got me into playing card collecting, Empire by Lee McKenzie with its beautiful and intricate design that plays with the traditional playing card design and Pagan by Uusi with its great artwork and wonderful theme.

Finally, do you have any other words of wisdom for aspiring artists and designers?
Just keep creating and striving to get better. I think it's all too easy for any of us to give up for whatever reason or just be satisfied with the current level we've attained. I love to look back and see the growth of where I've been and seeing where I am today.

Thank you for your time Brendan. Your artwork is truly breathtaking! Can't wait to see more of this stylish deck.


No release dates or price were mentioned, but Jackson Robinson of Kings Wild said, "The Hive deck will be printed by the Expert Playing Card Company with the same stock and finish as the newest Exquisites."

Follow Kings Wild to get the latest news on the Hive deck. Also, if you see more exclusives and interviews, please follow us Facebook.


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