Good morning everyone! This week I’m exploring the favorite Magic: The Gathering art of Hunter Slaton, aka Rolex, aka Limited Master. I’m listening to A Perfect Circle’s first album while writing so I may get a little emotional.

From the horse’s mouth (no offense, Hunter):

My faves:

Farbog Explorer & Homicidal Seclusion

Farbog Explorer!

This strikes me as pretty random, a card I don’t think I’ve given a mont of my eye-time. The point of view is strange. I find it helpful when looking at figurative work to think of the camera angle or where one would be sitting relative to the scene. We’re sort of tilted and in some swamp flora, slightly higher than Explorer. Like a lot of fantasy art we have a good view of unnecessarily exposed cleavage. Her costume is over the top and more like a costume than what one would wear in the time period represented by … Judith just came on … Having pretty intense … Flashbacks to high school … Must … Focus. I’m trying to find a nice way to say Explorer looks like a female Disney pirate. Even so the mood is expertly executed and sometimes looking at a Jerry Bruckheimer production is the escape we need.

Scott Chou is an artist that hasn’t previously been on my radar.

Homicidal Seclusion

I kept Googling “Homicidal Confusion” to get the above image. Oops. It brought up a lot of interesting images, however, none were the one I was looking for. Ha!

Homicidal Seclusion is frightening, in an over the top cartoony way. It could be an illustration for Lovecraft for Kids book. Cliff Childs is another artist I’m not totally familiar with. I need to look into his work. The use of light is pretty dope.

This piece doesn’t strike me as particularly unique or exciting the way cards like Sengir Vampire, Necropotence, or Shivin Dragon do. They’re iconic and serve themselves with little tie to any narrative. The illustrations for Homicidal Seclusion and Farbog Explorer have significant power as story telling imagery, a general shift in the mechanics of Magic art over the last twenty years. It seems gone are the days of

Now Rolex’s picks for worst Magic art:

Least faves:

Pretty much all of the planeswalkers, b/c they are always just like, “Here’s some powerful dude or chick” and they are totally comic book­y. I especially hate all Lilianas, in her dumb bondage­wear. With the possible exception of Tamiyo; I just found her art to be totally surprising and refreshing in its strangeness and out­of­place­ness. So I do like Tamiyo. But I hate all other planeswalkers.

I’m not sure I need to talk about planeswalker art much more than I did in Jess’s dos/don’ts from Part One of this series. They always make Liliana semi-nude and a specific type of sexy. They’ll always make planeswalkers look like character profile images from The Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe.

But, I ask you, is this too far off the art of Farbog Explorer? If the Explorer was centered in the window it would be similar to the generalized planeswalker character imagery that so many of us Hipsters complain about.

Shelley Farbog Explorer

Shelley’s got a lot more clothes on than Lily ever has but the’s still rocking unnecessary cleavage (as previously stated).

But wait! Hunter has more to say!

I also realize that all the cards I named are from Avacyn Restored. That’s weird. I liked a lot of the cards from Innistrad, too, but maybe I’m just too far away from that set to remember.

Yeah, it’s probably distance from sets (and coming off Scars Block, a set of mostly lousy art) and the exceptional illustrations in Innistrad block (and the very focused theme-mood), accounts for Hunter’s love of the horror imagery (and the way it’s portrayed).

And Terese Nielsen is amazing. All her stuff is great.

Yeah yeah, we all love Terese, snore, Nielsen.

Oh, and finally: I remember really loving all the art in The Dark, when I was kid. That’s funny, b/c The Dark is Innistrad’s spiritual heir, and I really liked the art in Innistrad/Avacyn Restored block, as a rule (though less so the angel­y stuff; I prefer more regular people.

Angels usually suck, especially the Avacyn angels. They’re very pure looking but still goth-sexy. Aurelia is pretty sick though. Are there male angels? Why’re they always ladies?

Fear, in general, horror, etc., it all makes for a great art foundation. The Wizards artists really went for it with Innistrad and set the bar for all future sets. The homogeneity frightens me a bit. I miss the days of Kaja Foglio, Amy Weber, Melissa Benson, Douglas Shuler, and Anson Maddocks. Nostalgia, however, is a hard thing to push through, and I may be blinded by it.

Sengir Vampire Al-abara's Carpet Copper Tablet Centaur Archer B.F.M. (Big Furry Monster) B.F.M. (Big Furry Monster)

Hunter, since I posted this for editing to the blog, has come back at me over instant message to further his thoughts on the art he says is his favorite and, while I thought I was done with this article, it needs to be posted here, too.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Hunter Slaton
10:02 just checking out arting around
10:02 eating my dessert before dinner
10:02 ha
10:05 the reason why i like farbog—and homicidal, really—is because of the colors
10:08 i love that pop of orange in the middle of homicidal
10:08 and i love the pinks, blues, purples, and greys of farbog
10:08 for the record, i HATE the “boobage.”  I think that kind of stuff is so dumb.  but the colors win me over.

Makes sense! The colors are nice. It doesn’t change my thinking that there is a mediocritizing by way of polishing the edges of MTG art underfoot. They’re nice but don’t have the spark of variety earlier MTG sets have. We’ll see how the art chosen for cards progresses. Steve Prescott and some others are adding a little more stylized/different arttitude to card illustration. Maybe there’ll be more of them in the future.

Well, that’s a wrap! Tune in next week!

Lots of love,
MTGO: The_Obliterator

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