Raising the prominence of Magic: The Gathering's award-winning art to a museum-worthy exhibition requires more than one show, more than one generous donor to bankroll the endeavor. To raise all boats, we need a multi-faceted approach: major shows, temporary pop-up exhibits, and smaller, very accessible gallery shows at LGS stores. In an attempt to pilot more locations, I spoke with a few local game store (LGS) locations in my Minneapolis and Saint Paul area to see if any would be interested.
Here is the list of our local stores that host Magic tournaments that regularly have players where are possible locations for a Magic Art Show.
Dreamers Vault Games - Burnsville
Dreamers Vault Games - Champlin (formerly Village Games)
Dreamers Vault Games - Minneapolis
Dreamers Vault Games - Saint Louis Park
Fantasy Flight Games Event Center
Games by James (Southdale)
Hi-Score Video Games (Blaine)
Hi-Score Video Games (North Saint Paul)
Level Up Games -- Eagan
Level Up Games -- South Saint Paul
The Gaming Goat - St. Paul
With that many choices, only a few have dedicated art on the walls like art collector and LGS owner Matt Dennis has at Meta-Games Unlimited in Springfield, Missouri.
I called a few sites I knew, and while a few people never emailed or called back due to the unknown nature of having Magic Art on site, that which is a bit more valuable than normal prints or student art. That resulted in a few awkward conversations.
The show is called The Concepts of Ravnica and is up right now at Lodestone Coffee and Games.
Considering all the concept art I bought explicitly for this reason, to show it to the public, the logistics aspect was pretty simple. I just had to acquire inexpensive presentation materials and write some labels. Instead of a multi-site show, or pieces worth tens of thousands like the Japan art show, I decided to go with concept art, an approachable way to show Magic Art without great cost. These are the raw creations that are made for the style guide, to inform the planes Magic. This art is what drives art descriptions, world building and what artists see to base their card art illustrations upon.
Concept art also achieves my ongoing goal of informing the public of how rare concept art actually has become. Most concept pushes at Wizards, where artists are flown in and put up for a week or more, are digital. Even a traditional artist like Steve Belledin only makes digital concept pushes now. The traditional concept work of the past is exceedingly rare, and of all the artists who worked on the Return to Ravnica concept push only Wayne Reynolds did his concepts traditionally. Notice below, only Tomas Giorello's top middle piece is traditionally created.
Let's also not forget that if you work at Wizards, that art doesn't leave the building.
The goal is to have the art be approachable. Mats, plastic bags, and a backer allow viewers the assumption that they could buy and leave with the art. Having a fully framed piece looks more expensive and isn't the right feel for the space.
As for the concept art itself, there will be a rotation, every three weeks, due to the space constraint, I will rotate the guilds. Currently, the Azorius Senate, the Boros Legion, and the Cult of Rakdos are exhibited. Next up will be the Golgari Swarm, Gruul Clans, House Dimir and the Izzet League .
The final three weeks will have Orzhov Syndicate, Selesnya Conclave and the Simic Combine.
People should look for notes on the art, either from art directors asking for things to be larger or smaller. I personally like reading notes that explain things about a guild. A great example would be why Azorius judges have blindfolds:
Viewers can also see some notes or suggestions from artists as yet accepted realized concepts or minor aspects that will find homes in the style guides, but not in art descriptions. House Dimir has a dimensional portal? You bet.
Bring up the differences of how concepts evolved or how the necrosages were a big part of concepting that never made it to the final except Consult the Necrosages.
For any cosplayer out there, there is a ton of concept art that shows high details of belts, under arms areas and every hairstyles. Check out that Selesnya is very into braiding. Perhaps it's because intricate ones require more than one person and it's a communal activity?
Vorthos Mike presents the Ravnica Concept Art Show featuring Tomas Giorello and Wayne Reynolds
The Concepts of Ravnica Gallery show with art $150-$2000
Lodestone Coffee and Games
10982 Cedar Lake Rd, Minnetonka, MN 55305
(It's about 20-30 minutes from downtown Minneapolis and $15 in a rideshare)
Color and black and white gallery exhibit of concept art in a LGS
For sale on site, and able to be held via phone. No sales online or by phone.
Jan 1 - March 1, 2019
Hours you can see the exhibit:
Monday-Friday 7AM-10PM Saturday 8AM-10PM Sunday 8AM-8PM
Phone: (952) 657-5226
Hope to see you there!