Story of Anson & Brenda - Chapter 1 Portland Grand Prix

Thank you for visiting us at Anson Maddocks Art!

This blog post is for those who might want to know some personal history behind Anson Maddocks Art.

I met Anson for the first time in Seattle in 1996. Being a young artist myself, Anson and I ran in the same social circles. I always enjoyed our interactions, and had heard that he was a "famous Magic artist" but having no experience with the game, I really had no idea what that meant. Sharing a small handful of close friends, our paths would cross here and there; at a birthday party or a BBQ, maybe run into each other on Broadway Ave. At parties, he was usually quiet and constantly filling the pages of his latest sketchbook.

Our lives drifted with our interests and various relationships, but somehow always managed to reconvene until almost 5 years ago when we became romantically involved. Anson had previously been taking a long hiatus from his creative career and though it wasn't immediately apparent to me, he had been rather depressed for some time. As we spent more and more time together he slowly started to migrate his belongings to my home, (which I secretly loathed because my place was small and I was already feeling the amount of stuff around me was oppressive). Despite this, I bit my tongue. His company was magical and not to be outweighed by a few cardboard boxes.

One of our very first 'dates' began by Anson informing me that he had a trip to Portland planned with Mark Tedin (who I had been acquainted with over the years as well). Anson asked if I was interested in joining them. An opportunity to spend some extended time with Anson and get out of Seattle? Naturally, I couldn't agree quickly enough! Between the three of us, no one had owned a vehicle at the time - a testament to Seattle's exemplary public transportation system - and so Mark Tedin rented a car to drive to Portland. It was one of the newest editions of the Mustang sporting canary yellow paint...Super bitchin car! It had unfortunately rained most of the 4 hour drive down there, otherwise we would have definitely had the top off. Who cares how cold it is when you have the chance to look that cool!

We arrive and check into one of the many indistinct hotels surrounding the Portland Convention Center. We were all sharing a room and after ordering some food turned in relatively early that evening.

The following morning, Mark was the first one up and out the door, (as I was soon to realize is quite characteristic of Mark) while Anson and I lounged around awhile, taking our time to wake up and then get up. This behavior was true to Anson's form and what I would soon grow to expect as typical for him. But I was following Anson's lead at this point. I still really had no idea what we were doing in Portland and frankly it wouldn't have mattered much to me. I was so enamored with Anson and was feeling elated that he was giving me so much of his attention. I could have easily followed him off the edge of cliff without so much as batting an eye...

"So would you like to come help me out today?" he asks, about as casually as if he were asking if I liked cream in my coffee. "Sure. What do I need to do?" I tried to not appear too eager, hoping to mirror his nonchalance. "Oh nothing, really. Just come along with me."

As we approached the Convention Center, he is making small talk and I get every indication from him that we could have easily not even shown up and it wouldn't have made a bit of difference. But we proceed through the large glass doors which open into an enormous entrance with expansive walls and vast red carpet. The carpet continued into an area which opened up into an even greater room with skylights above and tables scattered around the peripheral. Some of the tables were occupied, some were not. I noticed people milling about in groups of 2's or 3's with backpacks slung over their shoulders which all seemed to contain suspiciously heavy contents. Their eyes were doing the same as our were; surveying everything - carefully trying to not elicit too much attention one way or another.

Anson spots his fellow Alaskan childhood buddy and we take up the two chairs at the empty table adjacent to his. Anson had brought with him nothing...except me and I was clueless as to what either of our purpose was there. But I felt somewhat anchored by Mark's presence. It didn't take long before I starting hearing, "Oh man, I didn't know you were gonna be here! I would have brought more cards!" as the line began forming in front of Anson's table. Upon glancing up at the expectant faces I saw perhaps a dozen or so youngish males, the ones with those heavy backpacks, pawing intently though small boxes and waiting their turn to get their cards signed.

I leaned in close to Anson and under my breath I tell him with delighted astonishment, "All of these guys are lining up for your autograph!" And without a word, he turns to me as if to be sure that he take in every last detail of my expression and then answers it with his own smile which radiates but remains wordless...And I am fairly certain in that moment that he knew exactly what he was doing by inviting me there. I already had a fondness for him which I doubted could be curbed, but he provide me the opportunity to see him through the eyes of many Magic players and collectors in a way I am quite sure I will never forget!


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