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Touring the Art of Blizzard at Gallery Nucleus

Earlier this month, Blizzard celebrated the release of its newly published book The Art of Blizzard by opening the doors to a new art exhibition in Alhambra, California.

The exhibit, hosted by the local Gallery Nucleus, kicked off with a well-attended Saturday night reception that drew in visitors more accustomed to Fel Reavers than fine art. Attendees covered the full range of demographics, wearing anything from Horde hoodies to shiny stilettos (since people in costume were let in for free, it's important to note that we're referring to the shoes, not the daggers).

Massively and our sister site WoW Insider were on hand to take in the spectacle. So what did we see?

Gallery: The Art of Blizzard exhibition and book launch party | 15 Photos

Fans lucky enough to snag a pre-release copy of The Art of Blizzard had the opportunity to have their book signed by several artists featured inside, including Chris Metzen, Wei Wang, and others who were on hand to mingle with fans and show off their talents. If you couldn't get your hands on a book, there were still over 50 gorgeous art pieces framed throughout the gallery, a live art demo going on upstairs, and even themed refreshments.

Felt low on mana? No problem! The open bar offered several Blizzard-themed drinks, including health and mana potions. For the StarCraft crowd, there were rock candy minerals and stimpack-inspired jello shots. Surprisingly enough, even in the face of free alcohol, not a single Alliance vs. Horde brawl broke out.

Attendees view Warcraft art pieces.
If chatting up Blizzard employees or browsing the exhibit simply wasn't enough to keep you interested (and you no longer fit the description of "requiring more minerals"), Blizzard also kept things lively with contests and raffles throughout the evening. Attendees with raffle tickets earned a chance at prints of art on display, plushies, World of Warcraft Mega Bloks, and more. There was also a scavenger hunt during which your goal was to match small sections of art with the pieces hanging throughout the gallery. Once your scavenger hunt was complete, your name went into the mix to potentially win even more prizes.

Possibly the most fascinating aspect of the event, however, was the live art demo put on by the artists in attendance. Every half hour, roughly 20 people were allowed upstairs to watch one of the Blizzard artists draw live while he or she answered questions and talked through the artistic process. We were lucky enough to watch Laurel Austin, a Blizzard concept artist, draw one of the Goatmen from Diablo III.

Laurel Austin
The digital demonstration was projected onto a wall, and the art pieces started with a blank image at the beginning of each session. Ms. Austin answered questions about art schools, her tools of choice, and her career in the gaming industry, all while almost casually creating a painting that would be perfectly at home on the gallery's walls. Meanwhile, the line outside was 30 people deep waiting to see the next demo. The intimate and laid-back setting was a unique opportunity for those wanting a peek behind the scenes of their favorite Blizzard franchises.

The party might be over, and the artists might have gone home, but if you live in the Southern California area, you can still head over to Gallery Nucleus and behold the glory of Thrall, Kerrigan, and Diablo herself until February 3rd. The jello shot Stimpacks, however, are most likely no longer available.

Want more about the event? WoW Insider's Robin Torres sat down with Nick Carpenter, vice president of art and cinematic development, to chat about the book. Go have a read!

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