Today we interview Sorcery: Contested Realm Artist, Michal Nagypal.
It was truly a great pleasure to speak with Michal. I will admit, Michal is an artist who I overlooked a bit when I was first turned on to Sorcery. I was enamored with the artists from TSR and Magic the Gathering fame, from the nostalgia of my childhood; and captured by the striking illustrations by artists such as Dan Seagrave and Mattias Frisk. And also the MTG Alters scene artists such as Elvira Shakirova, Marta Molina, and Caio Calazans. I still love them all, but I have also grown an incredible appreciation for the brilliance of Michal Nagypal.
His creativity and thoughtfulness is truly astonishing, and it shines through in all of his work and throughout this interview.
Michal has eclectic tastes, an extraordinary imagination, a humorous personality, and is just all around a really great guy and a special talent. It was a pleasure to get to know him better, and these are the moments I cherish in deepening my appreciation for the artwork in Sorcery: Contested Realm and the incredible talents that bring the game to life.
Thank you so much for this opportunity, Michal...
Mike @ Collector Arthouse: For those who don’t know of your work, tell us a bit about your background. Where are you from? How did you get into artwork as a professional career?
Michal Nagypal: I am a bit of a migratory bird, I was born in Spišská Nová Ves in Slovakia, then we moved to Revúca, where I started visiting elementary art school. I enjoyed the
freedom that art and creativity offered me. And I have been trying to continue with doing so until now.
After high school of utilitarian artin Košice I went to Prague where I finished an oil
painting degree at the Academy of Fine Arts in the painting studio of Martin Mainer. And
I´ve tried sculpting in Lukáš Rittstein´s studio.
I had a lot of solo and group exhibitions. Sometimes I managed to sell something,
and it encouraged me to make art as my daybread. During Covid-19, I moved with
my girlfriend back to Košice, Slovakia. I realized, that living in Slovakia is quite
difficult for artist as me, because even though it is my homeland, nobody knows my
work here. Second problem is, that in Slovakia, there are just few art collectors.
So I had to find a side work, which is monument restoration (Spiš Castle,
Šivetická rotunda...) But soon we will move to village in Hungary where we bought
our own house where I will hopefully have a sculpture studio.
Mike @ Collector Arthouse: I noticed from your social media that you have a large portfolio of work donning different genres, and have also done events and displayed your work in galleries.
Outside of Sorcery, are there a few pieces you could share that perhaps you are most proud of or you would consider representative of your breadth of work and ability?
Where do you display your work?
Michal Nagypal: I honestly am not proud of my work. I am almost always critical, and I see what I should do next to be better, or what could be done better. But perfection doesn´t exist anyway...
[I can empathize with Michal's sentiment here as it reminds me of one of my closest friends from college years. He was an amazingly talented artist and I was always in great awe of his work. I lived with him for a semester in college and remember he had a painting standing against the wall that he had done in a casual art class he was taking just for fun (he was a bio-chemistry major). It looked so incredibly realistic that I actually touched it because it looked like he had glued twigs the canvas...but it was all acrylics. He was always very down on himself and thought his work was no good, but it was truly stunning and I always begged him to create more. He passed away a few years ago at a very young age, and it is a terrible loss that he can't share more art with the world (even though he rarely would share it...I would be able to get a few out of him on rare occassion). This is probably a big factor that intrinsically drives my great passion for artwork and great respect for artists. It is a talent that I so desperately wish I had. But back to Michal!...]
Noah's Ark, 52x55cm oil on wood
This is a painting from 2014. I painted it for about half a year, there are more than 149 animals. Even from the time of my studies, I had a fondness for miniatures and daedales, which I still strive for. I have passion for detail and miniatures from the time of my studies till now.
I was inspired by the scientific cell preservation of each species in test tubes, the so-called modern ark. So I set to work, I wanted to paint two - one more traditional,
the second one just a still life in test tubes; I haven't painted that one yet. Many people like my traditional Arch painting because everyone finds there their favorite animal. :-) I am also actively involved in hunting, which inspired me to paint Nocturno series. Here is a sample of one image from the series (boar hunting). Erik Oloffson chose one concept for Sorcery Contested Realm from these works.
Nocturno 110x110cm, 2016, oil on canvas
I also like to work on still lifes. It is easy to work with light here and you can create a story using the symbolism of objects.
Death Corals oil on canvas,45x45cm, 2019
I was inspirated by a trip to coral garden at Tahaa island, where the guide told me, that some corals are dying because of the pollution.
Darkening, 60x45cm, oil on canvas 2020
I like this one. I would paint it in a larger format in the future, I enjoy the atmosphere, color combinations and the playfulness of light mirroring on the water surface. Later on I started to continue with the idea of mirroring.
Signpost 1, 70x100cm, oil on canvas, 2020
This painting was also an unselected concept for Sorcery: Contested Realm. More precisely for the "Fiddle" card, which is now called Summoning Sphere.
I had this concept for a long time in my head, but only after a year I decided to try to paint it. Currently I already have about 20 pieces from these series. They will be at exhibitions in Prague and Slovakia.
[While I can appreciate that incredible quality of this painting, I also have great respect and admiration for Sorcery: Contested Realm creator Erik Oloffson's uncompromising standards for the game. It is not that this card is lacking in quality in any way. Quite the contrary...it is truly incredible. But Erik is notorious for his meticulous attention to detail, as told by his colleagues and other artists whom I have spoken to or interviewed. He has a vision and he ensures that the illustration is very intentionally paired with the card mechanic to fit the motif of the game and the target gameplay effect. In my interview with Sorcery artist Brian Smith, he echoed similar sentiments about how he had to re-do a few paintings; and while frustrating at times, he respected Erik's commitment to his vision. In this case, the final Summoning Sphere design fits perfectly into the game design.]
Here are my two sculptures:
One is a dog with a human face, (it symbolizes the connection of both human and animal abilities). The second one is called Global warming (it's a bear shedding its own skin, it's warm).
Mike @ Collector Arthouse: Who are some of your art influences who have shaped your artistic style?
Michal Nagypal: Probably Pieter Paul Rubens the most. I like his colors, stylization, composition, I enjoy his hunting series very much.
A View of Het Steen in the Early Morning by Pieter Paul Rubens
[I always love to hear about artist influences. As soon as you hear a name, or look into an artist that is mentioned who you were not previously familiar with, the stylistic influences just strike you right away. I was blown away by this one.]
Among the Slovak artists, I like Albín Brunovský and his illustrations the most...
From Czechia Alfonz Mucha.
[Come back to this section often and explore every link. It will take your breath away. And it will really help you understand and appreciate Michal.]
Mike @ Collector Arthouse: Is Sorcery the first Trading Card Game that you had done? How were approached for work on it and when?
Michal Nagypal: Yes, these are my first illustrations for a card game.
Mike @ Collector Arthouse: There is such great stylistic diversity in the illustrations you have done for Sorcery. Can you pick a few and tell us about the art direction you received for the piece, and how you came up with the final design concept?
Asteorid, 40x35cm, 2020, oil on canvas
I took a picture of this beautiful naive landscape on a trip to a gallery of kitsch in the vicinity of Lytoměřice. I added a meteorite to contrast a little from the beauty and calmness of the landscape.
[Michal shared with me that this painting was one of the inspirations for the Sorcery: Contested Realm card, Meteor Shower, and he is interested in bringing it to auction to offer it to fans]
Neowise 25x35cm, 2020
Possible scenario can be seen in the image I called Awakening of the Dinosaurs.
It's getting warmer in Antarctica and the Arctic, so businessmen are offering new land, which attracts people who move to more pleasant climate. But in the melting glaciers are frozen dinosaurs and they are waking up after millions of years of hibernation.
In the picture, they are caught comforting their appetite, some of them are in hunting position. Apathetic people do not believe their eyes, brokers continue to offer parcels, the lady in blue believed through the reflection in the phone that what she sees is real...
I tried to freeze the picture in time, so the lady in the central format will scream until the image disappears...She is condemned to scream forever, so long that a spider has spun a web in her mouth.
The picture captures apathetic communicativeness, parasitizing over the flow of information a person stops believing in such an informed world. Some look at the real world as if they were watching a movie or being in a theater. Immune and invulnerable to things which can happen in a matter of seconds. The brain did not accept the life-threatening information, it refused possible risk of injury to health. Man is manipulated by his own self.
Deinonichus 140x180cm, oil on canvas 2020
Kalamity 150x110cm, 2018, oil on canvas
Erik also used the concept of this painting. I used from this existing painting its background for the card illustration. I was kinda recycling some of my paintings to create something new.
Crow meadow, 40x30cm, 2017, oil on canvas
I painted this one 5 months in the north, on the flat Danish land. In the everyday presence of "continuous sea wind flow".
Mike @ Collector Arthouse: How can fans support you, and purchase original paintings, sketches, prints, artist proofs, or other merchandise?
Michal Nagypal: I have a few pages here:
I will be happy if somebody buys a painting, a drawing, or a graphic... I also offer printed graphics for bags, but I don't have an eshop, so if anyone is interested, I am on messenger or IG.
[Stay tuned for more to come from Michal via Collector Arthouse and our FB Group!]
Mike @ Collector Arthouse: Is there anything else that I haven’t asked that you would like to share with fans?
Michal Nagypal: I am thankful that I have this opportunity to be part of Sorcery Contested Realm. I am grateful that my paintings have come to life and are in the game. That they will fly through the world.
Watch my videos on the Collector Arthouse YouTube Channel.
Join the Collector Arthouse Discord and talk about Sorcery: Contested Realm with passionate fans.
Mike Servati @ Collector Arthouse and Collector Arthouse on Facebook, signing off...