Mick McGinty, born December 7, 1952 in Sioux City, IA, was an American artist who specialized in airbrush, digital, and fine art oil painting. He graduated from ArtCenter College of Design in Pasadena, California, in 1979, and went to work for the design studio, Willardson + White, which was headed by legendary airbrush illustrators Charlie White III and Dave Willardson. After four years, he began a successful career as a freelance illustrator in 1983, working as an acrylic airbrush illustrator until around 1997, when he switched to digital, as the medium grew to be more commonplace.
As Mick honed his illustration talent in the mid-to-late-80s, he was perfectly positioned for the video game market that would soon emerge. Mick’s first game piece was actually a movie poster first: Mick’s advance release poster for Jaws 4: The Revenge, recycled for LJN’s 1987 release of Jaws for the NES. He may not have known it yet, but that illustration marked the first game cover of many, kicking off a run of at least 21 years, culminating in two of his 2008 illustrations for Zoo Tycoon, a series he worked on digitally from 2001 to 2008.
Mick is nearly a household name to gamers, thanks to his role in creating the iconic Street Fighter box art that brought the franchise into American homes. As described in Steve Hendershot’s Undisputed Street Fighter: A 30th Anniversary Retrospective, Capcom requested a Western take on Street Fighter II art for “an American audience that wanted ‘a tough, violent game,’” and Mick was given relatively little guidance, other than basic style sheets for the characters and polaroid photos of the game being played at an arcade in Japan. Nonetheless, Mick’s first Street Fighter II illustration, his SNES cover depicting Blanka bowling through both Chun-Li and Ryu, is one of the most recognizable game covers of all time. Mick would go on to illustrate three additional Street Fighter II covers—Street Fighter II: Turbo (SNES), Super Street Fighter II (SNES/Genesis), and Street Fighter II: Champion Edition (Genesis)—as well as various promotional images and the art for the Capcom Power Fighter Stick, some of the figures from which were also incorporated into magazine ads for the games.
Beyond his work for Street Fighter II, Mick created several of the most memorable Sega images of the 16-bit era, including Sega Genesis hits Streets of Rage 2, Streets of Rage 3, Kid Chameleon, and Shining Force, as well as Sol-Feace for the Sega CD. He also illustrated the 2005 cover art for the Halo 2 Multiplayer Map Pack. Lesser known Mick game covers include Super Batter Up and Dig & Spike Volleyball for the SNES, Off-World Interceptor Extreme for the Sega Saturn, and Monster Bass! for the Sony PlayStation — a stunning example of Mick’s digital work.
While Mick continued illustrating digitally for games until at least 2008, a move in 2007 to Arizona opened up both opportunity and passion for a transition into fine art. This transition led Mick to enter into semi-retirement enjoying his time as a fine art painter and switching exclusively to oil painting, both in the studio as well as plein air painting.
Mick’s significant non-game illustrations include the first poster for MTV; the poster for Super Bowl XXXIV; and movie posters for A Field of Dreams, Hook, and Who Framed Roger Rabbit.
Mick passed away on September 18, 2021.