Recent Artwork by Jeff Miracola, Michael Whelan, Donglu Yu and Kirsten Zirngibl

Exhibition Dates:

Kirsten Zirngibl image

October 26, 2019 – January 5, 2020
Art League Gallery
Reception: Saturday, November 9, 2019  |  5:00 – 9:00 p.m.

As the popularity of science fiction and fantasy art has grown, so too has the number of artists creating it! This exhibition offers a small yet stunning sample of artworks by some of today’s most exciting artists. Jeff Miracola, Michael Whelan, Donglu Yu and Kirsten Zirngibl have contributed to projects in publishing (Stephen King, Brandon Sanderson), gaming (Blizzard, Ubisoft, Wizards of the Coast), as well as their own personal and fantastic visions. What unites them all is the depth, magic and wonder found within the extraordinary worlds they bring to life.

Worldbuilders will be on view while SBMA hosts The Korshak Collection in the adjoining Warner Gallery (November 2 – December 29, 2019).

Featured Artists:

Jeff Miracola |
Jeff Miracola is an illustrator known for his work on numerous fantasy and science fiction publications and card games. Art became his means of escaping the violence and drugs that plagued the north side streets of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, where he grew up. At a young age, he was inspired by artists such as Frank Frazetta, Brom, Michael Whelan, and many more. Miracola attended the Milwaukee Institute of Art & Design for two years before embarking on a freelance career. Over the years, he has has worked with the world famous company, Wizards of the Coast, creating artwork for numerous Dungeons and Dragons books as well as both the book and cards for Magic: the Gathering. He has worked on a myriad of renowned projects such as creating works for the famous White Wolf Game Studios, Upper Deck Entertainment’s World of Warcraft, Shadowrun, and E3. Today, Miracola has slowly shifted his style of art as he becomes more focused on children’s books, editorial work, and video game graphics.

Michael Whelan |
Michael Whelan spent his childhood moving around California, Colorado, and New Mexico. His father worked for Lockheed Aerospace as a liaison with the government, and he moved the family almost every year. Michael was interested in drawing from an early age and after attending 11 schools in 13 years and seeing missile launches outside his bedroom window, it is not surprising that he loved comics and science fiction. But he also enjoyed science, and he was a Pre-Med Major at San Jose State University until he ended his parents’ advice of his becoming a doctor and graduated with a degree in painting. Michael then studied at Art Center College of Design in Los Angeles, but he dropped out when he received his first book cover assignment. This required him to to relocate to the New York City area, where he still lives.

The first Whelan book covers appeared in 1975 and since then he has worked for most of the major U.S. publishers, also branching out to do work for magazine, recording, and movie companies. Michael’s definitive work for the Pern books by Anne McCaffrey; the Elric series by Michael Moorcock; and the John Carter of Mars series by Edgar Rice Burroughs brought him recognition in his twenties. Later, The Dark Tower by Stephen King, Isaac Asimov’s Foundation, and covers for Ray Bradbury, Arthur C. Clarke, Robert Heinlein, MeatLoaf, and Michael Jackson furthered his reputation and earned him fans around the world.

Among his many honors are: 15 World Science Fiction Awards (Hugos), A Gold Medal from the Society of Illustrators, 3 World Fantasy Awards, 13 Chesleys, 3 Spectrum Awards, and a Solstice Life Achievement Award from the Science Fiction Writers of America (rare for an artist). He has also won the annual Locus Poll (the magazine for SF insiders) for Best Professional Artist 31 times. He is a Spectrum Grand Master and was the first living artist inducted into the Science Fiction Hall of Fame in Seattle, WA. 

Michael has had 5 art books published, including the recent BEYOND SCIENCE FICTION, which showcased the 50+ paintings in his retrospective show at the Riverside Art Museum in California. He would like to devote most of his time to his gallery work, but his love of illustration and his dedication to bringing an author’s words to life have not changed, and there is still an occasional bestselling fantasy novel or heavy metal album with a Whelan cover. 

Donglu Yu |
Donglu Yu has worked within the video game industry for over a decade. Currently she is a Senior Concept Artist at Ubisoft Montreal, working on the Assassin’s Creed franchise. Some of her past projects include Far Cry 4, Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag, Assassin’s Creed III, Assassin’s Creed Brotherhood, Assassin’s Creed Project Legacy, and Deus Ex: Human Revolution. She has also assisted local video game studios in developing new IPs, and also teaches — sharing her knowledge of digital painting with younger artists.Yu holds a bachelor’s degree in Film Animation from Concordia University and a DEC in Illustration and Design from Dawson College. She received her professional start as a concept artist at Eidos Montreal, and lives and works in Montreal, Canada.

Kirsten Zirngibl |
Kirsten Zirngibl grew up in Northeast Ohio. From a young age, she was drawn to creating and building in many forms, but with a special emphasis on artmaking. A career in engineering was considered before she discovered a passion for concept art in her late teens. She attended the Columbus College of Art And Design in 2007 on scholarship, and graduated with honors in 2010 with a B.F.A. in illustration. She went on to study entertainment design at The Art Department for two years while freelancing, prompting a move to San Diego. She has remained in San Diego as a contributor to a variety of industries, starting in the video game and tabletop game design/illustration world and branching into festival installation art, theme park design, apparel, and advertising. Clients include Wizards of the Coast, Google ATAP, Riot games, Monte Cook Games, Psyop, and the Xprize Foundation. Lately she has been focusing on creating images and worlds independently, developing artwork for her own intellectual property and reaching people directly with prints, licensing, with sights set on electronic interactive experiences. 

Images (Above): Kirsten Zirngibl, Ubuntu, digital. (Below): Michael Whelan, The Dark Tower: The Long Road, 2009, acrylic, 30.5 x 22 inches; Donglu Yu, Cyberpunk Street View, digital; Jeff Miracola, The Omen, oil on masonite, 24 x 36 inches.

Michael Whelan Long Road web image
Jeff Miracola The Omen web image

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