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The Complete Guide to Buying and Collecting Video Game Art

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The Complete Guide to Buying and Collecting Video Game Art

Part 1. Why You Should Collect Video Game Art

Maarten

30 Oct 2019 ⋅ 6 min read

The interest in video game art among enthusiasts, collectors and museums has been growing significantly for a number of years now. More people are buying and showing video game art, prints and posters. And not only wall art, but statues and artistic 'designer toys' inspired by games too. What drives this interest? Should you collect video game art? For everyone that is thinking about, or has started collecting video game art, we have written this multi-part guide in which we will try to cover all aspects of buying, collecting, hanging and storing video game art and collectibles.

Beautiful and cool
Why buy video game art? The answer to that question is different for everyone. For us at Cook and Becker, the main reason we started a gallery for video game artwork, is that video game art is often beautiful, cool and interesting to look at. A high-quality video game art piece on a wall in your house, office, or game room just looks great. Video games are also one of the biggest and most influential contemporary mediums, which makes video game art culturally relevant for our time too. Many of the best designers and artists have created art for games. If your home or office is a reflection of you, and games play or played a big role in your life, it makes sense that you want to express that via some video game art on the wall. One of the greatest things about a video game artwork - like all art - is that one image can evoke a special feeling or a memory of playing a game or a particular time in your life.

Apart from the purely aesthetic or cultural aspect, art collecting itself is a fun hobby and can be a great passion. Maybe you are a collector who sees a future monetary value increase in video game artworks? Right now, there is a lot of high quality art available at prices that are still very affordable. Which makes it an attractive proposition for value collectors.
ICO

Classics and future classics
In the past decades, fantastic video game artworks have been created for or within studios by all kinds of artists. Some of which have become iconic or modern classics because of the game, because of the artist, or because of a combination of both. Think of the cover art of ICO by Fumito Ueda, the character designs of Street Fighter II by artists such as CRMK and Akiman, the Final Fantasy artworks by Yoshitaka Amano, the Zelda manual illustrations by Katsuya Terada or Ayami Kojima's work on Castlevania. Or consider more recent, great video game artworks and artists like the work of Stephen Bliss and Anthony Mcbain for Grand Theft Auto, Jaime Jones for Destiny, John Sweeney for Uncharted and The Last of Us, Wei Wang for Blizzard, the work of Kenichiro Yoshimura, Sawaki Takeyasu and Mari Shimazaki for Okami.
Zelda - Katsuya Terada
Vana'diel, Yoshitaka Amano
Lollypop Girl (GTA) - Stephen Bliss

The list of great video game art is long! Many of these works are destined to become timeless, treasured art pieces while high-quality, official art prints of these works are now still very much available. In addition to the art from game studio artists, there is a growing group of contemporary, young artists that grew up with video games, making new video game art prints. Out of love for the games, and the artistic influence they had on them. Artists like Kilian Eng, Olly Moss or Nicolas Delort have done multiple, great video game art prints. Studio's and publishers have started to recognize the need of mature fans and collectors for special prints and special releases, so much more effort and attention is paid to video game art than in the past. Cook and Becker works with artists and studios to make these kinds of prints, but companies like Mondo and Geek-Art or studio brand stores also deal in newly commissioned prints.

As you can see, video game art can consist of original concept art made during the production of a game, special posters or box art covers for a game, or completely new, commissioned art prints, made under official license from the publisher and in collaboration with the game studio's creative team.

Video games following comic books and films
Collecting video game art and statues is still relatively new. As mentioned before, it is growing because more great new art is being made in recent years. This has also increased the interest in the great works of the past decades. Reproductions and print quality are also getting much better than even five years ago. And gamers as a group are getting older with more disposable income. Video game art collecting is one of the natural follow-ups to collecting comic book art or film posters for example. Comics and film are older mediums. In these spaces there has been an active collector's market for special, rare paintings, prints and collectibles for a longer time as a result. And prices in these segments are rising rapidly. On a site like Heritage Auctions - the largest auction house for collectibles - you can see a #1 Superman comic book in mint condition selling for over $2 million. 'Egyptian Queen', a painting by Frank Frazetta's, one of the masters of fantasy comic book art sold for over $5 million this year. A Batman comic book cover drawing by Frank Miller went for over half a million. In Europe, Herge's works for Tintin are highly sought after for example, and regularly sell for over a million in recent sales. Even paintings by contemporary comic book artists like Alex Ross command prices for well over $10.000.
Egyptian Queen - Frank Frazetta

Cult films
The market for special film posters is also hot. Interestingly, it are foremost old, classic film posters for films in the fantasy and horror genre that reach record prices, going for tens and hundreds of thousands of dollars at auction. Even very recent film posters or newly created pieces can be hot collectible items. A company like Mondo has been active for years, creating fantastic alternative film posters with talented illustrators and artists. Under official license of the film studios they produce creative new posters and screen prints. Their posters for Jaws, Aliens, Robocop, Batman etc. are very popular and often sell out in no time. Funnily enough, one of the most successful artists who has worked with Mondo - Ollie Moss (his Star Wars prints are still endlessly copied) - has moved to work on video games a couple of years ago.

It stands to reason that the market for video game art is likely going to follow that of film and comic art. So what can we expect in terms of value development for video game art in the future? What are the elements that make a video game artwork potentially valuable and collectible? That is what we'll cover in Part Two of our guide. Coming soon!

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