On Sunday, January 30, 2021, the original painting for Kyodai, Soul of Kamigawa by Daniel Zrom was sold on the MTG Art Market for $23,000. The work is the artist’s fourth card for Magic: the Gathering.

Kyodai, Soul of Kamigawa by Daniel Zrom, oil on paper mounted on board, 35.3cm x 47.8cm (13.9” x 18.8”)

Kyodai, Soul of Kamigawa by Daniel Zrom is a work of oil on paper mounted on board and measures 35.3cm x 47.8cm, or 13.9” x 18.8.” It was commissioned for Magic: the Gathering’s upcoming set Kamigawa: Neon Dynasty, which returns to a world first visited in 2004, now 1,200 years forward in a cybernetic future.

From the auction:

Kyodai is the 7th avatar incarnation of a plane of Magic. And a significant storyline character to Magic. In the first visit to Kamigawa, Kyodai was stolen from the Kakuriyo (spirit realm where Kami live) and imprisoned by daimyo Takeshi Konda in a stone disk known as That Which Was Taken, or simply The Taken One. This act was the primary cause of the Kami War and the entire conflict of the block. Today, Kyodai returns with three masks on her face. They represented Michiko Konda—the first emperor to channel with Kyodai.

The painting was offered on the MTG Art Market with Vorthos Mike acting as agent for the artist.

The opening bid was set at $4,000, and moved to $6,000 almost immediately. Bidding resumed on the final day, and it would ultimately be a battle between three separate private bidders, with all three active until almost the very end. That would push the work to a final price realized of $23,000.

As a part of the auction, Vorthos Mike asked Daniel to speak to his process, and the work that went into this incredibly detailed piece. From the artist:

I was given a single image of concept art, not very detailed for Kyodai. She had to be plugged into a vast room that looked like a blend of a grand throne room made of traditional materials and a technological supercomputer.

I needed to have a network of walkways to the center of the chamber, and the space between the walkways drops a few feet to zen gardens. As the card itself had to be white, I knew the card couldn’t have a lot of darks. Even if the dragon was in a dark setting, or at least that’s how I visualized it. There were just too many elements to do, and the fact that the ceiling and floor had to be seen—it left very little for composition.

For me the scene needed to feel real, and I tried to incorporate as many light sources as possible. The main one being this “supercomputer” center, which she was connected to and central light coming probably from an opening in the ceiling of the room.

In order to make her golden body shine I decided to make my life harder by placing lights inside these gardens, and why not massive round doors on the sides? A bunch of sci-fi lights at this point were almost mandatory!

My comfort zone is in nature and my jam in simple but powerful paintings. This had nothing of that, and wrapping my head around it was actually very hard! So I crossed my fingers and just went for it. I improvised using my knowledge about light, materials and reflections.

This result has very much solidified the tone of expectation for legendary creatures in this new setting, and should set the stage for future auctions over the next few weeks.

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