Saturday, June 13, 2009

Baltimore Golden Demon '09 Musings

As a miniature painter and a huge dork, I love when GW posts the winners from the latest Golden Demon competition. There are all kinds of mind blowing entries and all kinds of ideas to steal.

I also value it as a kind of humbling experience. More often than not, I've usually had the best painted army in whatever gaming group I'm in. Like many intelligent nerds, I have a slight ego. I also have increasingly infrequent (I hope) tendencies to be an over-competitive asshole.

The Golden Demon winners are a very easy way to remind myself of a few things:

1) That I still have a long way I could go with my painting skills.
2) There's almost always someone better than you at a particular skill
3) I'm pretty sure that if I gave up the pretense of painting an army and focused on solely the painting aspect of the hobby, that I could have a shot at a 3rd place or something. But I don't, so I'll never know unless I get off my smug duff and try.
4) The youngbloods entries make me crazy with envy at how good those kids are at such a young age.

I can walk away with these facts and use them as inspiration to better myself: both my painting and my ability to play well with others. Lessens in humility if you will.

So, why all the meandering touchy-feely introspection (that someone will no doubt think is complete bullshit)? Well, I'm hoping this softens the blow of what I'm about to write next. I have no real way of saying this without sounding like a jealous prick:

I was not very impressed by the '09 Blatimore Demon winners.

Link: Baltimore '09 Golden Demon Winners

There's a lot of very proficient painters represented in the gallery. But nothing really jumped out and grabbed my eyeballs. I don't know if it was an 'off' competition or if it was 'off' photography or I've become jaded or whatever. There was just very little that made me go "WOW". It just seems like there is just a ton of technically proficient, but very boring models.

This Dylan Gauker gentleman took 5 separate awards AND the slayer sword. But I can't figure out why based solely on the pictures that GW posted. I see a lot of models that I would consider much more interesting and, in some cases, better.

My leading suspicion for this mystery: that his work loses a lot in the translation to a photograph (a common problem).

The people who tend to win this many awards are without fail, super good. Just looking at his Slayer Sword winning Unit, I see a ton of flawless green-stuff work and a clear skill with blending. But again, kinda boring. His LoTR entry seemed, in particular, extremely lack-luster.

But, 5 awards AND the slayer sowrd. There's something I'm missing, I'm sure of it.

Oh well. It's all subjective any way.

In any case, here is some mind blowing stuff from last years Polish Golden Demon. Wow.
Polish Golden Demon Winners


  1. It's the bases, John.

    GW has a huge hardon for liquid bases.

    They seem to think it's Moses on the mount, and they are receiving the ten commandments.

    If he painted fucking reflections, sure I can see it.

    Since he didn't, looks like shit anyone can do.

    Note/Disclaimer: I generally don't think much of most of the painting awards, as most of them are on 'technical' merit and almost no one has any 'art' in their form.

  2. Stelek, I'm curious: could you define what you mean by 'art'?

    I'm gonna be upfront. I want to mine you for material for a seri4s of articles that just occurred to me

    To everyone else: how would you define 'art' in the context of miniature painting/miniature contests?

  3. Art in miniatures is hard to define.

    Painting art on them is certainly one way to take it, but for me that's not really doing 'art' with the minis.

    It's hard to explain really. Many people think having one model done very well (like a general) is art, or a big display board is 'art'.

    For me, they are only doing small portions of a greater picture.

    It's like painting only the palm tree in a beachfront setting.

    Where is the ocean? The sun? The beach? The people on the beach?

    Hardly anyone (not even me) really paints an army for arts sake, and then creates a setting for it.

    Something people not in the hobby would admire as a piece of art, that's what I mean.

  4. I too was a little surprised at the awards this year. Normally, when I look at the winners, especially in comparison to some of the other finalists, you can usually see where the winner went over and beyond to create a masterpiece. This year at Baltimore, I didn't really recognize the distinction. Perhaps you are correct, and that the published pictures do not capture "everything" that set his pieces apart from all the others. Then again, you may be spot on with regards to it being just as simple as either the standards were lowered, or other entries were just not as impressive.