The thrill of gambling, the euphoria of winning and the despair of losing are all charged emotional states that have drawn the attention of novelists that created some of the best novels for gamblers. The same appeal has carried over to artists over the years. Some choose to capture the grand casino tables where the drama unfolds, while others prefer to portray the action on the casino floor. Here are a few of the best examples of casino artwork that should adorn every gambler’s wall. Who knows, if you lucked into money, like by winning the EuroMillions Jackpot, you could take home one of these originals.
Zaza Tuschmalischvili's Casino/Gambling & The Gambler
Georgian painter Zaza Tuschmalischvili started his craft depicting scenes and symbols of his native homeland, using ink, tempera and watercolours. In the 1990s he shed his past to focus on composition, favouring the cubist expressionism. His first painting that depicted gambling, entitled Casino/Gambling was finished in 1995, and is estimated to be worth more than $20,000. If that's a bit too rich for you, there's another painting in the series called The Gambler that you can hang on your wall for a mere $13,000.
Darren Thompson's Watchful Eye Series
American illustrator Darren Thompson came on to the art scene in the past decade or so. Native to Chicago, many of his oil canvases depict life in the Windy City. As part of an urban landscape series, he painted Red and Black, which as the name suggests focuses on a spinning roulette wheel. He uses muted and subdued colours to draw the attention to the foreground, while the gamblers hang in the back like shadows.
Another painting in the same series is Watchful Eye focused on a dealer at a card table. Thompson employs the same techniques, with the blurred colours of the chips on the table, while the dealer keeps an eye on the action. However, the title may refer to the black-clad gentleman in the background, whose dark eyes are watching the dealer.
Gerard Boersma's Gambling Ladies & Slot Machine
Dutch artist Gerard Boersma painted Slot Machines after he took a trip to Las Vegas, which he describes as “a city fully dedicated to entertainment”. Despite that description, the artist has found a solitary subject for his work, a sole gambler lost in the straight lines of the slot machines and casino chairs that surround him. The frozen glare of the lights blocks out any slot symbols in a painting that seems beyond the real.
Gambling Ladies is another painting in the same series, again created with acrylic on wood. It's a more upbeat illustration of Las Vegas, with two female friends enjoying the slots in their casino hotel lobby. The slots are better defined, with the names and a neon glow giving the two women a softer, youthful glow.
Sandra Tomb's SEVEN, Gambling Night & Poker Night
Sandra comes from an artistic background, her father being renowned Lebanese artist Fouad Tomb. He inspired her to find her own voice, which she did when she moved to Canada to study. Her works are loud and voracious, mixing bright contrasting colours with movement and dance.
It's of little surprise then that her artistic eye would be drawn to casinos and gambling halls. SEVEN captures the action of a female gambler at the craps table, the title coming from the dice numbers shown mid-air. The eye is immediately drawn to the subject in her red dress, with her white smile. All the other colours, from the aqua table to the green and orange of the bar, are muted to bring the focus to the ecstatic gambler.
The same subject, or someone similar, appears in Gambling Night as well. Tomb paints a trio of friends letting their hair down, making the backdrop the same bold blue as the table to focus on the three gamblers.
In her third gambling painting in this series, Tomb moves away from the bustling casinos to a quiet back game of cards in Poker Night. The artist describes it as 'typical guys' night out gathered for a game of poker', yet there are many details that make it more interesting than that.
Each of the five players wears a hat of differing styles, as are their clothes. They could almost be misplaced from time. The feint portrait of the woman hanging in the background contrasts with the blood red walls, while the angular table viewed from this perspective looks almost like a coffin.