There was a very special gathering this weekend that, surprisingly, didn't involve any actual cards. Legacy Distribution, the Tournament Organizer for this weekend's event, asked Lucio Parrillo to serve as art director for a unique project: Together with the other three featured artists on site (Rob Alexander, Karl Kopinski, and Jason Felix), he was asked to create some imagery for a fantasy world.
The original idea was that all four artists would work together on one piece of art, but that task seemed a little too daunting, considering that all of them preferred to work in different ways. Some artists are nocturnal, others never take a break while working on a painting and then there are also different techniques of putting together a piece of art.
Lucio Parrillo and his orc
"It took a little bit of convincing to get the other guys interested in the idea," said Lucio Parrillo. Which is understandable, we are all artists and everyone wants to express his specific style in a piece of art. We're all friends, though. We sat down for one evening, had a good conversation and in the end, everybody was sold on the idea."
Unus Pro Omnibus, Omnes Pro Uno
("One for all, all for one.")
Kopinski was working on his painting while exchanging ideas with Lucio Parrillo
All four agreed that it would be best for each artist to contribute a piece of his own to one common theme. So Lucio pitched some ideas to the group until they all ended up on the same page and agreed to create some sort of contribution to a fantasy world. "I'm doing an Orc, Karl is doing a Warrior, Rob is doing a landscape where these guys could (co-)exist, and Jason is working on a demon," Parrillo told me.
For a number of reasons, the artworks won't end up on cards. Most importantly, artists cannot simply go crazy and let their imagination run wild. Normally, the Magic art director forwards them a briefing for what they would like to see on the card and the artist then hands in a sketch. Once the art director and the artist agree on a motive, it's up to the artist to refine his work until it's ready to be printed on a card.
This weekend, it was all slightly more straightforward. On Saturday, all four artists started working on their respective piece of art. This morning, they gave it the finishing touches. All of the artworks will be framed by Legacy Distribution and showcased at future events. So there's a very good chance that over time, Legacy Distribution will have their very own art exhibition at the Grand Prix they're running.
I also had a brief chat with Karl Kopinski about the project and the way his weekend was going and he was full of praise. He pointed out that this was one of the best experiences he has had at a Grand Prix, mostly thanks to the generous support from Legacy Distribution. Every artist was assigned a personal assistant. They looked for cards in binders that players kept asking for or they helped with translations to make it easier for both the locals and the artists.
Kopinski added that it was a great opportunity to learn from other artists. "A few years ago, I would have been standing close behind those guys for an hour or two and watch them paint to learn something. Heck, I even do that nowadays! It's such an excellent opportunity."
We have seen similar feedback on Twitter when we first told our readers about this project. It really appears to be a fan favorite and there's a very good chance that you will see something similar at future events.