Framing Reality


Over 25 years of magic, the magical worlds of Magic has been captured by hundreds of talented artists, the artists job is that to express the emotion evoked by the card and to distinguish the flavor and functionality of the card, but what makes a piece of art great and memorable? Looking at the extensive list of art from Magic; the Gathering, fantasy artists and other games, it made me realize what importance good art brings to a game’s world. Each brushstroke breathing new life into a painting, such as the following piece from Noah Bradley

Doomsday by Noah Bradley

What I love about art is what feeling it conveys to the onlookers, Doomsday by Noah Bradley gives the onlooker a sense of dread, hopelessness, loneliness. Something that the subject in the picture is currently experiencing and behind him stands tall a castle a figure that shows how small and unimportant the person in the art is. The low perspective Noah Bradley has opted in this art truly gives off the uneasiness of the one experiencing the torment. In front of him stand five spherical objects, representing of the card’s effect in game of choosing five cards and putting them into the library, leaving you in a life or death situation.

Ever since the card was spoiled, people have been fawning over the new art by Noah Bradley because of its ability to convey the card’s abilities while also evoking the people who look at the art with a sense of dread and discomfort.

However, an artist for card games like this cross a dilemma, either they make a card with truly grandeur art with little details never going noticed or make art simplistic enough to fit in the frame at the risk of it suffering in the secondary market. Artists like Volkan Baga has gone out of their way to create art that is truly amazing to look at.

Edgar Markov by Volkan Baga

Volkan Baga’s art reflects that of the great artists of the renaissance era, painters like Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo come to mind when viewing his art, every line and every figure in his painting seems still like marble statues, he doesn’t capture the action but the moment. From his biography from his website, he says the following.

“The human and his emotions as well as his personal story are the focus of Volkan Baga‘s works. His classical, but at the same time contemporary style often uses surrealistic components, metaphors and symbols. Behind a veil of melancholy his paintings reveal a moment of silence that allows the viewer to connect with Baga‘s paintings. At a second look the pictorial representation unleashes a depth of content. It is mostly the voice of the artwork which touches the viewer. The emotional strand between the painting and the viewer gets stronger the longer you observe. The distinctive narrative style is a signature characteristic in Baga‘s works.”

The intense borders and lines in Baga’s artwork has earned him a position as one of Magic’s most iconic artists, commonly painting using oil on canvas, the art he creates truly shows the amount of depth and understanding to his art, every inch of the painting is riddled with some sort of detail most people won’t even notice in the card frame.

But one aspect of painting that an artist must keep watch is lighting, lighting can change the mood of a painting, darker lighting can evoke a feeling of sorrow, sadness or one of desperation. Brighter colors can give off a feeling of cheerfulness, joy and even salvation. But when painting landscapes, artists like John Avon turns lighting into a weapon as it shows the massive scale of some of the landscapes he draws.

Clifftop Retreat by John Avon

He can take you from the peaceful mountaintop retreat of Thraben to an explosion of growth from the land as pictured with Explosive Vegetation.

Explosive Vegetation by John Avon

Lighting comes into play in different ways for these two pieces of art. Clifftop Retreat’s rays of sunlight and calm lighting gives off a feeling of calm and quiet in the town situated on the cliff-side.  Meanwhile in Explosive Vegetation, light takes on a different turn where it sets the horizon for the piece of art, it also shows the direction of which the point of the explosion started as debris of plants and trees fly away in a massive explosion.

The last point of an art which I’ll talk about in today’s article is one that of action and speed a piece of art can convey. A painting is still however it can still show movement from how the painter shows the movement of the subject in the art, Raymond Swanland has mastered the art of speed and perspective.

Mana Drain by Raymond Swanland

Raymond Swanland’s art has a lot of edges, everything feels sharp and dangerous but thanks to that quality in his art, the movement conveyed in the edges, such as the art for Mana Drain, you can feel the vortex moving, rushing into the middle of the vortex and the surging red energy going straight into the center. The perspective of pieces of art done by Raymond Swanland are also slightly tilted, using the dutch angle to make more space for the art he creates.

Besides the four artist I have mentioned today, there a hundreds upon hundreds more that I love such as Rebbeca Guay, Terese Nielsen, Magali Villeneuve, Daisuke Izuka, NAKAGAWA, Akira Itou and the list goes on. Art is an important medium in our lives, it gives us an escape from life for a while and explore worlds created by these artists, every brushstroke every single detail in the art tells a story behind it and I would like to encourage you to look at other paintings by other prolific artists.

Until the next article, I will see you guys next time.