“Art/Studies From Blizzard Entertainment,” a new art exhibit opening today at the Laguna College of Art & Design is FANTASTIC! It’s even better if you’re a Blizzard fan.
I was stunned, shocked and exhilarated to see pieces from the unreleased games “World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King,” “StarCraft II” and “Diablo III.” Many pieces were dated 2007 and had familiar artist names, such as Peter Lee. Many pieces also weren’t signed, presumably because these came straight out of the sketch pads of Blizzard headquarters. (Click HERE for the slideshow)
I stopped by the college Tuesday to snap these photos and get a personal tour from curator Ed Thorell, who color-coded the exhibit — blue for StarCraft, red for Diablo and white for Warcraft. A projector and an iMac also played trailers from the games.
The show features original pieces from Blizzard artists. But this isn’t a show of just the final works of art. It includes the rough sketches and detailed drawings that led up to end result. The college wanted Blizzard to show the process it takes artists to create video game art.
“Even though there is so much high-concept art from Blizzard, we’re trying to reinforce (to students) that everything starts from a sketchpad,” said curator Ed Thorell, pictured on right.
[Note: I originally thought this was a dual show of student and Blizzard staff work. It's not. This is pure Blizzard art. I'll post later about game-art students talking about their favorite Blizzard pieces.]
How did the school get so lucky? Last year, the school started its video-game major and attracted faculty from Blizzard, Dreamworks Animation and Double Helix Games (a merger of Shiny Entertainment and The Collective). This year, Blizzard employees Ely Cannon and Wendy Vetter are on staff.
There are 28 students in the school’s game major, more than double from last year, said Sandy Appleoff (pictured on right), the college’s chair of the Game Art major. Showing the ‘process’ of creating art will hopefully drill into students the need to practice drawing daily.
“The initial concept stage of doing lots of little thumbnails is so important. When (students) see Blizzard artists doing it, this reinforces that drawing every day is important,” Appleoff said. ”When the show hits, they’ll all be clinging to their sketch pads.”
For all those heading to Anaheim next week for BlizzCon, take a short trip to Laguna Beach and visit the school’s gallery. The show runs through Oct. 27.
What: Art/Studies From Blizzard Entertainment
When: Reception is Oct. 23, public is invited
Where: Laguna College Art & Design gallery, 2222 Laguna Canyon in Laguna Beach
Here’s a link to the Google Map.
Web site: lagunacollege.edu
Exhibit hours: Exhibit runs Oct. 1 to 27.
Monday to Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Saturday, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.