Adapted from BOX=ART
Celâl Kandemiroğlu is a Turkish-born illustrator widely known for his prolific box art for German video game companies. Celâl's work for the mighty Turrican series would reach gamers all around the world; notably for American gamers, his art for the home computer versions of Turrican II: The Final Fight was reused for both Super Turrican and Super Turrican 2 for the SNES.
After graduating from the Fine Arts Academy in Istanbul, Turkey, Celâl moved to Germany, where he offered self-drawn comics to German publisher Bastei-Verlag in 1978. Throughout the 1980s, Celâl created art for home video and movie releases, positioning him at the forefront of Germany’s video game development scene as it exploded with companies making a name for themselves throughout Europe. Rainbow Arts (Turrican, X-Out, Katakis), Thalion (Wings of Death), and reLINE (Fate: Gates of Dawn, Biing!) all featured Celâl's art, and his diverse style and quick turnaround (five to seven days) made him a natural go-to for the industry. By the beginning of the 1990s, much of Germany’s box art output would be his.
Celâl often cited 1988 as the year he began creating video game box art, and the majority of his output was created between 1988 and 1992. Volleyball Simulator is among Celâl's early box art and sets an artistic trend that he would use throughout his career: characters would be lit by a distinct light source afflicting heavy shadows on their faces. This style can also be seen on Spherical, Atomino, Crime Time, and Fate: Gates of Dawn. Lighting would be played to special effect on many of his boxes, with Celâl having a penchant for illuminating his subjects in often mystical or ghoulish light.
His comic book background would be evident in his artistry with playful tones running through much of his box art. But high fantasy and sci-fi painters such as Boris Vallejo and Roger Dean would have an unmistakable influence when considering the detail and form composition that his characters and vehicles often had.
Early box arts have an airbrushed look to them (Z-Out, Zero Gravity, Rock ‘n Roll), but his versatility would stretch to other art mediums with art for war game boxes (Berlin 1948: East vs West, Air Supply and Dyter-07) having a softer brush-painted appearance. Later with the advent of Photoshop, he would put the brush down and use digital art exclusively (Sacred series).
Like many box artists of his generation, Celâl would early on become involved in the graphic art side of video game development. Using the early paint program Deluxe Paint on titles such as X-Out, M.U.D.S: Mean, Ugly, Dirty, Sport, and Dragonflight, he would create not only title screens (as many box artists did in the 80s) but also background and sprite work. Later, this would lead the artist’s career to further development roles such as editor, 3D modeler, and art director.
In the 2000s, he would join Take Two and become heavily involved with the Sacred series. He later freelanced as a 3D modeler. Celâl passed away on March 12, 2022 in Turkey.
The website nemmelheim.de includes a gallery with high-quality scans of a lot of Celâl's game work.
OVGA has included below Celâl Kandemiroğlu's full known video game box art catalog:
- Detector (Time Warp Productions | Amiga | 1988)
- Katakis (a.k.a. Denaris) (Rainbow Arts | Amiga, Commodore 64 | 1988)
- Spinworld (Axxiom | Amiga | 1988)
- Zero Gravity (EAS Software | Amiga | 1988)
- Berlin 1948: East vs West (Rainbow Arts | Amiga, DOS | 1989)
- Black Gold (reLINE | Atari ST, Commodore 64-EUR, DOS-EUR | 1989)
- Conqueror (Rainbow Arts | Amiga, Atari ST | 1989)
- Hard ‘n Heavy (reLINE | Amiga, Commodore 64 | 1989)
- Rock ‘n Roll (Rainbow Arts | Amstrad CPC, Atari ST, Commodore 64, DOS, ZX Spectrum | 1989)
- Spherical (Rainbow Arts | Amiga, Atari ST, Commodore 64 | 1989)
- Volleyball Simulator (Rainbow Arts | Atari ST, Commodore 64 | 1989)
- Air Supply (Magic Bytes | Amiga, Atari ST | 1990)
- Atomino (Psygnosis | Amiga, Atari ST, Commodore 64, DOS | 1990)
- Big Business (Magic Bytes | Atari ST, DOS-EUR | 1990)
- Crime Time (Starbyte Software | Commodore 64, DOS | 1990)
- Domination (Magic Bytes | Amiga, Commodore 64 | 1990)
- Dragonflight (Thalion Software | Amiga, Atari ST, DOS | 1990)
- Dyter-07 (reLINE Software | Amiga, Atari ST, Commodore 64 | 1990)
- Leavin’ Termanis (Thalion Software | Amiga, Atari ST | 1990)
- Legend of Faerghail (Rainbow Arts | Amiga, Atari ST, DOS | 1990)
- Lords of Doom (Starbyte Software | Amiga, Commodore 64, DOS | 1990)
- Masterblazer (Rainbow Arts | Amiga, DOS | 1990)
- M.U.D.S.: Mean Ugly Dirty Sport (Rainbow Arts | Amiga, DOS | 1990)
- StarTrash (Rainbow Arts | Amiga | 1990)
- The Second World (Magic Bytes | Amiga, Atari ST, DOS | 1990)
- Tie Break (Starbyte Software | Commodore 64, DOS, ZX Spectrum | 1990)
- Turrican (Rainbow Arts | Amiga, Amstrad CPC, Atari ST, Commodore 64, ZX Spectrum | 1990)
- U.S.S. John Young a.k.a. Battle Stations (Magic Bytes | Commodore 64, DOS | 1990)
- Wings of Death (Thalion Software | Amiga, Atari ST | 1990)
- X-Out (Rainbow Arts | Amiga, Amstrad CPC, Atari ST, Commodore 64, ZX Spectrum | 1990)
- Z-Out (Rainbow Arts | Amiga, Atari ST | 1990)
- Fate: Gates of Dawn (reLINE | Amiga, Atari ST | 1991)
- Lethal Xcess: Wings of Death II (Eclipse Software Design | Amiga, Atari ST | 1991)
- Monster Business (Ascon GmbH | Amiga, Atari ST | 1991)
- Turrican II: The Final Fight (Rainbow Arts | Amiga, Amstrad CPC, Atari ST, Commodore 64, DOS, ZX Spectrum | 1991)
- Elysium (Magic Bytes | Amiga, DOS | 1992)
- No Second Prize (Thalion Software | Amiga, Atari ST | 1992)
- Stone Age (Eclipse Software | Amiga, Atari ST, DOS | 1992)
- Vision: The 5 Dimension Utopia (Softgold Computerspiele GmbH | Amiga, DOS | 1992)
- Super Turrican (Imagineer Co., Ltd. | NES-PAL A | 1993) Repeat image
- Super Turrican (Seika Corporation | SNES | 1993) Repeat image
- Turrican III: Payment Day (Rainbow Arts | Amiga | 1993)
- Bundesliga Manager Hattrick (a.k.a. Football Limited) (Amiga, DOS | 1994)
- Christoph Kolumbus a.k.a. Exploration (Software 2000 | Amiga, DOS-GER | 1994)
- Software Manager (Kaiko | Amiga, DOS | 1994)
- Biing!: Sex, Intrigue and Scalpels (Magic Bytes | Amiga, DOS | 1995)
- Ocean Trader (Software 2000 | Amiga, DOS | 1995)
- Super Turrican 2 (Ocean | SNES | 1995) Repeat image
- Talisman (Software 2000 | DOS | 1995)
- Panzer Elite (Psygnosis | Windows | 1999)
- Revenge of the Apes (Retrodesign | Atari 2600/ VCS | 2003)
- I Project (Simon Quernhorst | Atari 2600/ VCS | 2008)
An Appendix to an interview with Celal included in a list of his box art paintings two titles published by Encore, Inc. in 2004: Söldner: Secret Wars and Sacred. OVGA has not included these titles in the above box art catalog, but is listing them here for reference. Celal is credited as having done a variety of work for the Sacred series, but the work all appears to be digital and amongst the box art images for the Sacred series, it is unclear which might have been Celal’s work.
Celal’s brother Ogan Kandemiroglu helped Celal finish box art paintings in times when Celal had a heavy workload. As Celal stated in an interview, Ogan did the backgrounds of some paintings, with Celal then adding the foreground and details. Of note, Ogan was the model for the guy on the box art for Crime Time. Known box art collaborations between Celal and Ogan include Big Business and Air Supply. Celal and Ogan also collaborated on art for Biing!; however, OVGA is uncertain on whether this collaboration was for box art or for in-game graphics.