The Ninth Sphere: GP Vegas Magic Art Show – Part One

I’m back from GP Vegas, and ready to get right into this week’s article about the Magic Art Show! First off I want to say that it was so much more than I expected it would be. The show completely lived up to my expectations of what I wanted to see in a combination of original art, and things I had never seen before. There was a variety of art mediums, mostly drawings and paintings, and notably a sculpture and a sketchbook. I was really pleased with the details in the didactic panels (the descriptive panels beside the art that details information about the work). A lot of these panels gave viewers additional information about the characters or lore that you might not already know.

The show was broken into four sections: Amonkhet, Ravnica, Innistrad and Mirrodin. (These sections generally referred to the planes, not the blocks) Each section had a good mix of original paintings, sketches, and concept art. Many of the sketches and concepts have not been available for public viewing before, so for those of you who could not attend, you’ll be able to see it all right here.

Due to the heavy image load this article will be broken into parts, so keep checking back later in the week for the rest!

Let’s get right into it, starting with the art of Amonkhet.

 

Synchronized Strike (left), and Trespasser’s Curse (right), David Palumbo.

Some of the paintings in the exhibition had the full size completed paintings, as well as “working rough” versions. It’s interesting to see the colour changes or small differences in detail in the images. I also like that the rough versions have been completed enough to be framed and hung. You can also see throughout the exhibition that paintings are hung on temporary vinyl walls, this unfortunately affected the photos a bit but I did my best to get good shots for you guys.

From the Didactic panel on Trespasser’s Curse:

“As curses have become more than a single set creation, connecting them to Amonkhet was an easy addition.

There is no discernible reason why some parts of the Naktamun city are off limits, as dissenters were exiled or put into sarcophagi on a constant basis.

What to look for are visual cues relating to both Egypt, but also to Hastur and Call of Cthulhu mythos. The colour of purple smoke has been used extensively in that game’s universe.”

Compelling Argument, Lucas Graciano

I really appreciate the detail paid to the framing of this piece, it complements the painting so well. I’ve spoken about this image in a previous article, and it was amazing to see it in person.

Stinging Shot, Scott Murphy

Hieroglyphic Illumination, Raoul Vitale

Another great example of how the correct framing really draws viewers into the piece. I didn’t really like this artwork much until I saw it in person.

Insult // Injury, Lucas Graciano

Insult // Injury is huge, 12x48in. I think it’s really cool that the split card image comes from the same painting, and the composition is fantastic. This painting was right near the entrance of the exhibition, so you couldn’t miss it. For a lot of people it’s probably the first thing they saw walking in.

Vizier of Remedies (top), Randy Gallegos. Hapatra’s Mark (bottom), Lindsey Look.

Nissa, Steward of Elements, Howard Lyon.

This frame is huge. I’m not sure if I like it, because I think it’s a bit distracting. It’s great they were able to include at least one painting of a Planeswalker in the exhibition though. (and I’m really happy it’s Nissa and not Jace, I’ve seen enough of Jace.)(Editor’s Note: Everyone’s seen enough of Jace)

Those Who Serve (left), Volkan Baga. Sparring Mummy (right), Ryan Pancoast.

Heart-Piercer Manticore (left), Heart-Piercer Manticore token (embalmed) (right), Scott Murphy

“In the final Trial of Zeal, a fight to the death among Worthy initiates and creatures of Hazoret’s choosing decides who will be blessed by her spear.”

Faith of the Devoted, Raoul Vitale

“When devotion to their God-Pharoah alone is a lifedrain, perhaps the full extent of their faith is better left unknown.”

Crocodile of the Crossing, Kev Walker

This painting is very similar to another card he painted, Emperor Crocodile, from Urza’s Destiny. (below) Do you think this is from lazy art direction? I definitely prefer the newer version though.

Emperor Crocodile, Kev Walker

Bloodrage Brawler, Lars Grant-West

Supernatural Stamina, Christopher Moeller

It’s interesting to me how the focal points of this painting have a lot of detail in them, but some parts have so little. This painting is a great example of how some Magic artwork is finished digitally, because the end result that appears on the cards is quite dramatic compared to the painting.

There were also a couple of sketches from the Amonkhet section, check these out!

Loyal Retainers sketch, Bastien L. Deharme

Loyal Retainers Sketch, Bastien L. Deharme

Oketra Sketch, Bastien L. Deharme

This Oketra sketch is one of my favorites of the show, I love the “meow” letters in the wall. A bit of a playful touch to a serious drawing. These sketches were a great finishing touch to the Amonkhet section of the exhibit, and viewers were able to see a good mix of popular cards, Gods, and Planeswalker art. Overall the Amonkhet section had a great mix between male/female/anthropomorphic characters. I would have liked to see some landscapes, or more of the plane itself though.

That’s it for this article, next I’ll be moving onto Mirrodin, and there were a lot of great cards included (like Serum Visions and Skullclamp). Stay tuned!

 

One comment on “The Ninth Sphere: GP Vegas Magic Art Show – Part One

  1. James LaPage on

    I think it’s hilarious that you call out the Nissa frame for being huge and distracting. I wonder if it was the inspiration for the Invocation frames.

    Reply

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