I really like this piece. Guessing that the card was in the Core Set, they probably wanted to limit graphic content to not shock new players. Now, put this guy in the Shard of Alara Block, and he'd be at home in Jund. Maybe Grixis, though he's a little too healthy looking to be from there. Great pose, and I can almost imaging the power hungry, angry yell while he carves his body up for payment.
First of all, I love this version, it would make for a killer promo. 2nd, I'm curious as to how the commissioning worked out on this one. Did they pay you for both versions? Did they suggest they try a different artist? If these questions are too personal feel free to ignore them. Lovely work!
Dang! Too explicit....... but then they have Pain Seer in Theros, which I feel is way worse than this. But I guess that art just implies the cutting. Oh well. I do like this version more than what was used, aside from the swirly fire looking kind of cheesy.