Grand Prix Manila in SMX Convention Center!
Grand Prix Manila just happened! For an event that comes around every few years or so, it is a time for most to bring their competitive spirits and engage in the one of the most challenging tabletop games that is Magic: the Gathering. For others, it’s a haven of vendors coming from different corners of the globe consolidated into a single convention hall. For the rest of us, it’s an opportunity to meet the super stars behind the art in Magic.
I arrived on a Friday at the SMX Convention Center for Grand Prix Manila. Having already been here before at another Grand Prix and like the last time, it still held me in awe at the sheer number of participants, the rows of seats, tables decked with all kinds of cards from all formats and of course, our two unbelievably talented guest artists Lius Lasahido and Ryan Yee.
Magic Art has always held a special place in the hearts of players. There is a certain power behind iconic images that makes a card instantly recognizable on the other side of the table. The opponent taps two blue mana on your end step and casts Dig Through Time and when it resolves, you know you’re in for some tough times ahead of you.
Art is the great tone setter for every set that comes out in Magic: The Gathering and each time, we as players connect with the cards that we love (or hate when they’re used against us). We are pulled in by the beauty or grotesqueness of the image portrayed so much so that we even buy large playmats that have our favorite art printed on them so that our beloved cards have a clean and beautiful surface to rest on.
The Gran Prix is where we as players get to feel that connection with the cards and the artists behind them. It’s a time where we can meet and chat about how much we appreciate the work they put in for us and of course, have our cards signed by the artists themselves! It is this special time that I thought to help bring to you, my fellow Magic enthusiasts with a short interview with both artists as I did not want to take up too much of their time when they could be interacting with more of their fans.
Quick Interviews with Artists
I approached Ryan Yee and my eyes swelled as I saw the gorgeous prints he had signed and ready to be taken home and framed. With my copies of Anafenza, Kin-Tree Spirit and Eidolon of Rhetoric ready to be signed, I greeted him, “Hi, Ryan. How’s your day?”
“Pretty busy but not as hectic as the GP in Japan.”, he replied. After some talk about his work, I asked if he could be bothered to answer a few interview question and to which he cheerfully agreed.
Me: Has there been any instances or meaningful interactions with your fans in these kinds of events that touched your heart?
Ryan: It’s always really interesting to how fans react to my artwork. When I created these, my intention was to portray a mood or a feeling and depending on who that person is, they can totally take the thing completely different from what I intended in a really positive way like they connect in a different emotional level. For me that means a lot because I want to create artwork that people feel something from.
Me: If there was one thing you could change or not change with your work, the community or the Industry what would it be?
Ryan: To be honest, I think that the Magic player community could be more diverse because its mostly dominated by you know, just men ages 20-25 as the main demographic. I would like to see people of different ages or different genders like more women players.
Me: If you could be a creature not limited to Magic: The Gathering what creature type would you be?
Ryan: Oh, man. Something that’s flying I guess ‘cuz it would be cool to fly. I guess I would be ethereal kind of creature because that’s what I mostly paint.