Contemporary Art Week!
Anyone who’s played a bit of Magic: The Gathering in the last few years will probably recognize the card art for Snapcaster Mage right away. It is, after all, one of the most powerful creature cards ever printed. Selling a play set of these at their height kept me in groceries for a week once upon a time.
But what many people don’t know is that this is actually a portrait of professional player Tiago Chan.
The Magic Invitational was a tournament held from 1997-2007, and the winner received as part of their prize a rather singular opportunity-to not only design a Magic card, but to have their portrait included in the card’s artwork. (The first winner, Olle Råde, didn’t “cash in” his prize until years after winning. WotC made an amusing condition: he must agree to be depicted with the long hair he had when he originally won on the art for Sylvan Safekeeper.)
You can view more on how the card was created and preliminary sketches for the final art here on the WotC website.