Interview With An Artist: Cursed Court's Lee Moyer

Ozma of Oz by John Neill
Distinctive art and design are a major factor in a person's choice to pick a game off the shelf. Artist Lee Moyer created the compelling look of Atlas board game Cursed Court, so I talked with him about his choices and inspirations.

There's a lot of Art Nouveau influence on your Cursed Court art. Why did you choose that style?

"Art Nouveau combines richness and theatricality in a clear recognizable style. I grew up admiring John R. Neill's illustrations of the Royal Court of Oz, but it's the poster work of Alphonse Mucha that best defines the style."

Mucha poster
for Lorenzaccio
The costumes don't conform to any one time period, but they each suit the character very well. How did you decide to focus on the look rather than historical accuracy of some kind?
Character image: The Merchant

"I think we ascribe a conformity to European courts and cultures that is drastically oversimplified. My goal with this court was to create characters that were archetypal, not specifically historical. This allowed me greater latitude than 'simple' Elizabethan or Venetian fashion. In this case, the Duke's costume is based on a real courtier (though radically different in color); the Jester is wearing motley that was sewn for me many years ago by the brilliant Yvonne Parham (though much toned-down); the Merchant's clothes come straight from a Mucha magazine cover. The rest are pretty much made up from whole cloth."


You feature a diverse group of races, ages, genders, and ability among your characters. Was that important to you?

"Absolutely. Games have a huge and diverse audience, and representation is crucial. And while this group of characters may seem atypical to some, history offers far more unusual examples, like Poland's female King Jadwiga and Pocahontas in London."
Period depiction of Pocahontas at the English Court


Do you have a favorite character? Do you bet on them more often when you play?

"So many of the models I chose for this game are friends. So asking me about favorites is asking whether I prefer Della over Baize, Kira over John, or Jay over Saamanta. I just love seeing them when I play, and imagining how they'll strike people I'll never meet."

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