Filip Burburan is an artist from Croatia, mostly known for creating rich fairy-tale worlds that showcase a plethora of different and grotesque-looking characters. If that reads like an overstatement to you, you should see what's happening on his booth. One of the players that walked up to him handed over a Scuttling Doom Engine, asking Burburan: "Can you transform him into a hip hop guy?"
So yeah, "grotesque" is definitely among his specialties if his fans are to be believed. I sat down with him and asked him a couple of questions so you can all get a little more familiar with the friendly artist.
Filip Burburan came all the way from Croatia to meet the Magic Community this weekend!
When did you first figure out that you wanted to become an artist?
Burburan made a straight face and he replied: "I think when I started to walk", before he started to chuckle. "No, honestly, I don't remember a time when I wasn't drawing. Ever since I was a little kid, you would always find me with a pen in art."
You have a very unique style; where do you draw your inspiration from?
"I was into street art and graffiti for more than 12 years. I always liked fantasy art, though, so I often try to mix elements of these two forms of the art."
When did you start to work on pieces for Magic: the Gathering?
"A few years ago, I started sending my portfolios to a number of companies that were active in the field of fantasy. I also started attending conventions in the States and eventually, one of the art directors of Wizards of the Coast approached me and asked me whether I wanted to draw a Magic card. That's how it all started for me, that was roughly 1 year ago, so I'm still fresh!
"I hadn't submitted anything Magic-specific before, so it was a very nice surprise for me and it felt like a dream come true."
Is this the first time you're attending a larger Magic event and if so, how does it feel?
"It is in fact my first time.
"I think it's awesome. I had no idea these events were this big! What surprised me the most was the warm reception that the Magic community has given me, though. I was really surprised to see that many players recognized my work and showed an interest in my art.
"I expected lots of them to ask questions like "Who is this guy and why is he here? He only did like 3 cards", but in fact they were very nice to me and encouraged me to keep up the good work."
Do you get more recognition for your work for Magic or for your other works?
"It is hard to tell. At a convention, most of the collectors just try to find something they like; they don't care whether I've done a comic book cover for Marvel, a Magic card or something completely different. They just want to walk away with something they can put up on their wall and that they like to look at. That's why I often recommend asking the artist for a unique piece since they can then tailor them to your respective liking."
What are your goals for the future? Will we get to see more Magic cards drawn by you?
"I handed in a few more and I'm waiting for them to get published. I also have to finish three more until the 5th of September and that's a pretty tight schedule for me."
Can you give us a little heads-up of what we'll be seeing there?
"There will be animals ... but with a twist! I can't spoil it all, but I think it's pretty special once again."
How long does it usually take you to finish a piece?
It really depends on the subject. Sometimes it just takes me 2 days, but other pieces can take weeks.
Some players create unique playmats by requesting a sketch from the same motive from all the artists they see at the Grand Prix!
That was all the time we had and right at that point, a player came up and asked for a playmat with a motive featuring the likes of the mascot of the "1. FC Köln" - the local football club of Cologne, Germany.
"Is it okay if I go a little more crazy with it?", Filip Burburan asked immediately, much to the liking of the player. He then gave it his best shot and shortly after, the player had an even more unique playmat and he walked away smiling.