If you are a Magic the Gathering artist, and even if you aren't, and you have participated in the Gen Con art show, you have likely crossed paths with a man with a welcoming smile and a bag of gifts. Leon Philips spends his downtime from being a teacher to create unique 3D shadow boxes of Magic the Gathering cards. When Gen Con rolls around, he hands them out to the artists in attendance that is the artist for the cards he used. Before I was ever an MtG artist, I knew of Leon's work and was amazed by the work and creativity on the shadow boxes. I still clearly remember the day Leon came to my table with my first shadow box. It was an unexpected honor, and I was thrilled to receive such a wonderful and gracious gift. I have received several of Leon's work over the years, and I display them in a place of honor.
With Gen Con 2020 going online, it meant that many of the expected in person elements of Gen Con would not be happening for at least a year, if not more. One of the first things I thought of was that I would not be seeing Leon this year. Not because I would be missing a potential gift, which is fantastic, but because seeing him and having a few minutes to talk has become part of my Gen Con experience. And yes, I love seeing all of the shadow boxes he brings with him and gives out. I was more than surprised when I received an email from Leon last year after the announcement that Gen Con was moving online. He had no intentions to stop his shadow box production and was curious if I wanted to receive the fruits of his labor. The answer was, of course, a resounding yes, so I answered his email and promptly forgot all about it with all that 2020 was throwing at me.
Jump ahead many months. One day as 2020 was coming to an end, I thought of Leon's email and wondered what came of the shadow boxes. I assumed that life and the challenges of 2020 affected him as it has the rest of us, and the boxes weren't happening or would be delayed to a future date. The last thing I would do his contact him, asking where my gift was! Well, I didn't have to wonder too long because I recently received a fantastic package from Leon. While I love all of his creations and think they are all perfect, the Stinging Lionfish I received is tremendous and might be my current favorite. It has so many layers, and the 3D effect is lovely. Photos will never do it justice, but here are a few.
I hope the photos give you an idea of how impressive this piece is. To make this all even more unique, Leon sent an extra special gift. He has spent some of 2020 working on puzzles and escape rooms, and he had an additional puzzle box to send along with the lionfish. You might have noticed the wording on the card, but it is different from the actual card. When the shadow box is placed on the puzzle box in the correct spot, you hear a little click, and the box opens. This was such an unexpected surprise and makes it all more special and fun. Here are some images of the puzzle box.
A HUGE thanks to Leon for all of his work and creativity for all that he does for the Magic artists at Gen Con. You are one of the reasons that Gen Con is such a fun and exciting convention to be a part of.
That's all for another exciting Monday on the blog. See you back here on Wednesday! Until then...