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August 27, 2023 6 min read

Since beginning this two-month series on exploring original Magic art from a novice’s perspective, I’ve discussed the what, where, why, when, and how. Each question involved a deep dive into a new aspect of this highly complicated market.

The only question I don’t feel I’ve covered in enough detail is the “who” involved in Magic art. Of course, there are the artists themselves, and in many cases they’re the only ones you need to know. The reality is, however, that many artists sell their work through third party agents—it’s this subgroup of individuals that I want to briefly introduce this week so that readers interested in entering this market are familiar with some of the key names.

There’s a very high likelihood that someone interested in purchasing a piece of Magic art will have to work with one of these individuals, so it’s helpful to know who’s who.

Facebook Agents

It doesn’t take long to find the popular agents that artists will work with most frequently to sell their artwork—one look at the most recent posts on Facebook reveals most (if not all) of them. Here are a few key names, in no particular order.

Mike Linneman

Also an active member of the MTG art community is Mike Linneman, AKA"Vorthos Mike." He is an icon in the artwork community, and I've been following him for his expertise in this space for a long time now. Mike has represented some fantastic artists over the years. Recent posts include art from Tran Nguyen, David Auden Nash, and Ryan Pancoast. I've seen Mike use various types of posts in the MtG Art Market group, ranging from offers to auctions depending on the artist's preference. I have not had the opportunity to interact with him much, but he is as professional as they come in the business and is highly regarded for his knowledge. Some have referred to Mike as"the king" of the MTG art world.

Mark Aronowitz

Mark was the very first agent I talked to because he was acting on behalf of Zara Alfonso when I was bidding on her Kithkin Billyrider sketch. Most of his Facebook auctions follow a similar format, and once I learned the drumbeat of how they flowed, I was comfortable bidding on any one of his other many postings.

Artists I’ve seen Mark represent in the Facebook group include Iris Compiet, Raoul Vitale (his art for Misleading Motes is absolutely stunning), Nils Hamm, Millivoj Ceran, Johan Grenier, Abigail Larson, Alix Branwyn, Daren Bader, and many more.

delver of secrets nils hamm art

The iconic Delver of Secrets art by Nils Hamm is available as a print at the OMA store, along with items from dozens of your favorite artists!

The impressive list truly goes on and on—Mark is a very popular agent for many artists to sell paintings and sketches through Facebook auctions. In my communications with Mark, he has been very kind, patient, and easy to work with.

misleading motes art

One important note about Mark’s auctions is that if someone is bidding on art he is brokering, and they have never bid on one of Mark’s auctions before (i.e., Mark doesn’t know who they are), then there is a 10% deposit requirement upon placing an initial bid. Rest assured that if someone else wins the auction, the deposit is refunded without any fees or delays.

Donny Caltrider

Another agent who posts frequent auctions in the MtG Art Facebook group is Donny Caltrider. I have attempted to bid on a handful of art pieces that he was auctioning on behalf of artists, and his auctions follow a similar form as Mark’s. Artists I have seen Donny represent in auctions include Nana Qi, Serena Maylon, Carissa Susilo (have you seen that new Reliquary Tower?), and Eli Minaya, amongst many others.

reliquary tower promo art

Just like with Mark, my bidding interactions have all been seamless and professional when working with Donny. He has also been very helpful when I have questions about art buying and collecting, and he is a valuable asset to the community as a whole. I would not hesitate to reach out to Donny with questions related to artwork he is selling or artists he historically has represented.

Phil Li

I don’t see as many posts from Phil Li as I see from Mark or Donny, but the work he has helped sell is no less impressive! For example, he is currently acting as agent to help Sarah Finnigan sell her beautifully done Island from Wilds of Eldraine.

eldraine island art

Phil has also facilitated art sales for artists such as Scott M. Fischer and Randy Gallegos. Instead of auctions, I’ve noticed Phil post artwork for sale soliciting offers—this is a different structure than the other agents referenced above. I have never worked with Phil to negotiate a deal on a piece that he was brokering for an artist, but I have talked with Phil extensively when I pursued my Lukamina art, and he was instrumental in facilitating the transaction. Phil was also very patient with me as I had a zillion questions related to the market and its dynamics.

Jason Sirichoke

I have also seen Jason Sirichoke post sales on behalf of artists in the Facebook group, especially recently. For example, he is representing Kai Carpenter to help him sell his Wilds of Eldraine art for Tenacious Tomeseeker. Jason has represented many other artists, including Kristina Carroll. He also sells the occasional piece out of his own personal collection.

I have noticed that some of Jason’s posts include a direct “buy it now” price. This contrasts with other agents selling artwork via auctions or “best offers.” I haven’t had the opportunity to work with Jason on a deal yet, but we have talked a little on Facebook and he has been really friendly and courteous! I hope we can work together on a deal at some point in the future.

Tatiana Dykes

Tatiana is another agent whom I haven’t had the pleasure of working with yet, but I see her post pieces here and there in the Facebook group as well. For example, one impressive piece she is currently selling is Tyler Walpole’s Archive Dragon from Wilds of Eldraine. She appears to represent Tyler frequently to facilitate sales of his artwork.

archive dragon art

 

Tatiana also sells artwork out of her own personal collection on occasion, and her name is definitely one to be familiar with when navigating the original art market.

Collectors, Resellers, and Artists Themselves

I’m sure there are many other agents who represent artists to sell their artwork—I merely shared the names of people I see most often in the MtG Art Market Facebook group. I’m sure others I failed to mention would be equally easy to work with.

I want to shift gears away from agents, though, and talk about other people whose sale posts show up frequently in the Mtg Art Market group.

First, there are the artists themselves. There are plenty of artists who create their own posts and manage their own transactions through the Facebook group. For example, Alessandra Pisano is taking offers directly on her Wilds of Eldraine art for Malleable Imposter.

eldraine faerie art

Alessandra is taking offers and is navigating the negotiation and transaction process on her own. Other artists that sell their work directly include Justyna Dura, Ilse Gort, and Lucas Graciano. There’s a long list of others, depending on who has pieces being released as part of the latest sets. I hope to work with an artist directly at some point in the future, once I can get passed being starstruck interacting with someone so talented!

In addition to artists, at times various collectors and resellers will post artwork for sale in the Facebook group. Larger resellers, such as the owner of OriginalMagicArt.com, may create a standalone website to facilitate sales. These listings will include purchase prices much like a “buy it now” post on Facebook, and I’m confident they are reliable ways of purchasing gorgeous Magic art. Any opportunity to interact with someone who is so passionate about Magic artwork is surely worth getting to know.

Wrapping Up

I’m sure this article doesn’t do justice to the numerous people involved in buying and selling Magic art. My intent here wasn’t to give a complete and thorough list. Instead, my hope is that someone can read this article and begin to understand some of the dynamics that surround the art market.

For example, the fact that many artists sell their work through an agent on Facebook was something I was completely unaware of just a few months ago. Over time, I have familiarized myself with some of the most popular agents, but I’m sure there are many more big players I haven’t had a chance to interact with. I also learned that agents aren’t the only one selling artwork, and that resellers and collectors occasionally sell pieces from their collection in the same Facebook group.

Most impressive to me is the group of artists that sell their work themselves. As I said before, it would be an absolute honor to work with a popular, talented artist directly on Facebook to purchase artwork. This is definitely something on my bucket list—what better way to support an artist in the community by purchasing something they worked so hard on?

In all honesty, this is one of the facets of this market I love the most—the fact that I can directly support someone who contributes countless hours to make the game of Magic what it is. While Wizards of the Coast does a great job managing the mechanics of the game, there’s no doubt in my mind that the game wouldn’t be where it is today without the contributions of the artists.

Sigmund Ausfresser

Sigmund first started playing Magic when Visions was the newest set, back in 1997. After playing casual Magic for about ten years, he tried his hand at competitive play. It took about two years before Sigmund started taking down drafts. Since then, he moved his focus towards Legacy and MTG finance. Now that he's married and works full-time, Sigmund enjoys the game by exploring the original Magic art market with the hopes of acquiring a couple pieces to hang in his home one day soon.


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