Could you imagine a world where you couldn’t see famous works of art in a museum anymore? The Mona Lisa, Starry Night, The Sistine Chapel, privately owned and in a random living room somewhere. That would be pretty hard in The Sistine Chapel’s case, but I think you get the point. The art of Magic: The Gathering has been an integral part of the game since the early conversations between Magic’s founder Richard Garfield and Peter Atkinson, founder of Wizards of the Coast 25 years ago, and has helped shape the very game itself. Wizards of the Coast commissions hundreds of pieces of art a year for the game, thousands if you count promotional and concept materials that never make it onto a printed card.
There are not a lot of ways for art enthusiasts to view Magic: The Gathering art. You might see it at an art show like Illuxcon or Spectrum Live, the artist might be trying to sell it a convention like Gencon, or you were the lucky collector who bought it. Some never get to a show or convention and are sold online. After a collector buys it, unless they sell or trade it, the art is unlikely to be seen by the public for a long time or sometimes ever again. I have made the trip to more than one local game store just to see the art they have on their walls. Magic: The Gathering art is some of the best fantasy art in the world but there is no dedicated venue for lovers of the game or art enthusiasts to enjoy it.
As this is the first art related article on the site, I’d like to take a moment and introduce why I’m writing about Magic: The Gathering art, or MTG art as it is called by the community of fans. What have I done for Magic Art to be able to speak about it? I started buying Magic cards a little over 23 years ago and I started playing around 19 years ago; the game and I have some history. I also have a degree in Fine Arts, concentrating in portraiture painting and an art history degree focusing in European Renaissance and Baroque art. I have spent the last 10 years helping fantasy artists setup and display their work at conventions like Gencon and Illuxcon. Last year Mike Linnemann, a prominent member of the Magic Art community, asked for my help in setting up and designing the first ever Magic Art Show. The show started as 75 pieces of art and quickly grew to 200 plus pieces. I handled supplies, the event layout, and all of the logistics, which involved getting art safely there, and safely back to their owners.
The Magic Art Show 2
That leads us to something I’m extremely excited for happening in Tokyo this September 11th to the 17th: The Magic Art Show 2. It will be part of a 25th anniversary of Magic exhibition and will take place in the Lumine mall complex. Entry fee will be ¥500, but there is going to be so much to see for that small price, and includes a free Serra Angel promo by Scott Fischer.
Thanks to the efforts of Mike Linnemann who is curating the show, and the Asia Pacific division of Wizards of the Coast, you will be able to see works of Magic art that helped define an entire genre that haven’t been seen by the public for over a decade. Original Paintings for dozens of paintings and concepts will be on display for the public to see.
For the long time Magic player the show will have some of the most recognizable art for cards in Magic: The Gathering’s history. Cards like Tim Hildebrandt’s Brain Freeze, Masticore by Paolo Parente, and the original art for Polluted Delta by Rob Alexander one of the most famous landscape artists working on Magic Art. Not only are these cards iconic images, they were also played in several tournament decks.
For fans of Magic’s story and lore there will be several paintings of the Weatherlight crew, characters from Magic’s first multi-year storyline from 1997 to 2001, including Karn, Tahngarth, Mirri, and fan favorite goblin Squee.
Even if you’re just going for incredible art there are some amazing paintings from many of Magic’s best painters, like Enchanted Evening by Rebecca guay, Platinum Angel by Brom, or Descendant’s path by Terese Nielsen.
That’s just some of the more than 60 pieces of work in the show; I wouldn’t want to spoil the fun. If you want to see more, and there certainly is a lot more, you’ll need to go to the Magic Art Show 2. Mike Linnemann wants Magic Art Shows to be something that happens at least once a year and it’s amazing that the second show will be in Tokyo. This may be your only chance to see these pieces of art in person and there is so much more to see and appreciate when it’s larger than 2”x1.5”. Whether fans of the game or just fans of art, there will be something for everyone.