Following on our Slayersword 2013 interviews, from the mountainous land of Switzerland, I bring you Martin Goumaz, also known as Dreamit, a truly skilled painter who is relatively new in the painting contest scene worldwide but has already won a Slayersword in the past Golden Demon Italy 2013. Let's hear about what he has to say about his view of our little world of art.
Volomir: Martin, the first question is very traditional and also kind of mandatory. We want to know more about you! Can you tell us about your story in the painting world, when did you start and why?
Martin: Well I'm 31 years old and I live in Geneva, a French speaking city in Switzerland. I'm working in the social sector with the youth and I've got two young kids.
I played a little bit of 40k when I was like 13-14 years old. But I wasn’t that much interested and I stopped it, sold my minis and forgot the game. Many years later, I had a wife and a son on the road. Maybe you know what that is, but when you have a baby you don’t go out as much as before. During one evening I fell on the coolminiornot website and saw some amazing paintjobs. I simply thought it could be a fun occupation for my free time at home when the baby's sleeping. Some days later, in November 2009, I bought paints, brushes and a lamp... Then I started to enjoy it more and more. :) I learned to paint « alone », reading and watching every single tutorial I could find on the internet. That’s why I always feel thankful to all the painters who spent time to share their passion and knowledge.
Volomir: How is the painting scene in Switzerland?
Martin: It's very small in comparison of countries like France, Germany, Italy or Spain. We are only a few miniature painters and the only club I know is the FMP located in Payerne, in which i'm a discreet member. Sadly I can’t tell you how many we are, shame on me! There are also some events every year like the Montreux Miniatures Show. Miniatures painting is totally unknown of the large public, but I guess it's the same in most of the other countries. When you say you paint miniatures people are looking at you like « wtf ? » :).
Volomir: Who are your favourite miniature painters and which would you consider the best or more inspiring miniatures of all time in your opinion?
Martin: I think the painter that influenced me the most is a famous swiss guy that luckily for me became a friend, Matthieu Rouèche. I always loved smooth blendings, cleanliness, right lights and sober color choices. He's the best I could see so far for that. I met him for the first time during the World Expo 2011 in Montreux (my first show ever) and since then we spend some days painting together when we find the time.
The second one is I think Roman Lappat, for two reasons. The first one and as I said before, I learned to paint with the internet. You all know MassiveVoodoo, it's a huge & amazing source of tutorials, ideas and inspiration. The second one is simple, he's a very nice & talented guy, always trying to help and with a philosophy I like.
To finish i'll just say a few names of other painters I love the style, even if i'll surely miss a lot of them... Mirko Cavalloni, Sebastian Archer, Francesco Farabi, Max Richiero, Diego Ruina, Davide Rappazini, Ernesto Reyes, Enrique Velasco.
Volomir: No doubt there has been a lot of talk and controversy around Golden Demon Italy this year (there always has to be, and in some way it’s also part of the fluff around Golden Demon). Now that a bit of time has passed since the contest, how do you feel?
Martin: The fact you ask this question shows the controversy has crossed the borders of Italy, even if i’m not sure it has been “that” big. What I understood is it was about the event in its entirety, not only about the judges decisions. But I guess that in your question you're mostly thinking about « The ugly little skeleton » who took the slayer sword. For the little story, his nickname has been taken on some forums I could read the day after the GD. It’s sort of a wink to the critics, a touch of humor. :)
Back to the question and to be honest, the days after the games day haven’t been easy, emotionally speaking. I had really mixed feelings. Of course I was happy of the slayer, who wouldn’t be? But at the same time I had to face the reactions of some disappointed or angry people directly after the ceremony and on internet.
I can understand them, usually the Slayer doesn’t go to single miniatures and even less to skeletons. People have been used to see big projects like monsters or dioramas being rewarded. So it was a surprise, for everybody me included. Nowadays there's sort of a « race to epicness » if I can call it like that, with artists doing monster freehands, massive conversions, dioramas with 200 miniatures (Hi Roman :D) or aiming for the maximum of creativity. And it's good for the miniatures world to try to push some limits, no doubt about that. My little ugly simply doesn’t follow this trend and some people blame it for that.
On the other hand, I also received many very positive feedbacks from painters being happy to see a smaller and project taking the award. Of course my skeleton wasn’t the most eye-catching, the most converted, the most freehanded or innovative piece in the contest. I still think it's a nice piece with a good atmosphere, well balanced, easy to read with clear focal points and very clean on the pure technical aspects. That said and after all, it’s the eternal question of the personal tastes. :)
To come back to the question, luckily for me I could talk about this controversy with some friends and “big names” in the painter’s community and they have been very helpful. So how do I feel now? Good, thanks. :)
Volomir: Apart from the Slayersword award decision, what is your opinion on GD Italy 2013? What is your opinion on the controversy around how Games Workshop is treating his flagship event all around the world?
Martin: My opinion about the italian GD is the same as most of the participants and I won’t repeat what has been already said. I'll just add one thing that means a lot; I’ve had much more fun in the Monte San Savino show last year than in Modena. Sadly I couldn’t go back to Monte this year, but I hope for 2014.
About the Games Days, it was my first one so I can’t speak about any personal experience. But I did read some very interesting and in depth analysis on Masterminis or on Julien Casses's website, I could not do better since their authors did an amazing job.
That said I still hope they keep on organizing GD's... in a better way :). As Fabrizio Russo told me recently and I do agree, we need these events to build up the painter’s community of tomorrow. Most of us started with Games Workshop miniatures, and I'm not sure it's going to change in a close future.
Volomir: How did you prepare for this Golden Demon? Did you aim specifically for winning something? How did you come with the ideas for your entries?
Martin: I decided to go to Italy at the end of July during my holidays in Germany. At that time I didn’t have any idea of what I would paint. I just knew I would not have enough time for big projects. Anyways i'm too lazy for big projects :). That’s why I decided to focus on single entries (Whb, 40k and Lotr). I don’t like most of the new GW stuff and I had to avoid finecast models. So when back home at the end of august I bought two boxes of things I simply like, the wraithguards and the skeletons. I also bought an Eowyn on eBay just because it's very small, so very fast to paint.
My idea when I decided to go to Italy was mostly to discover what a GD is, as I did read a lot on the internet about it. It was also an opportunity to see again some Italian friends I met in San Savino last year. That said and of course, I did hope to win something, as every participant does I guess. But I didn’t aim for a special prize, I just focused on painting something I like with my usual style. Anyways I knew I could not beat the Italians at their own «awesome freehand» style.
For the wraithguard, as he’s sort of a robot I wanted to give him a soul. So I did represent him like a solitary hunter, looking for revenge and trophies. The jungle is also there to contrast with the machine and contributes to add some life to the scene. About the color choices I simply decided to stay in the fluff and opted for Ulthwe.
The skeleton was just… because I love skeletons. It’s also very tiny with small surfaces, perfect for the little amount of time I had. I still gave him some modifications, more than people might think. I wanted the face to be the main focal point so I tried to give him a strong facial expression, sculpting teeth, hair and adding eyeballs. I also wanted to try to paint a banner, as it was something I never did. But I wanted the banner to add something to the skeleton, not hiding him. As you know, sometimes we can see amazingly painted banners or freehands and you don’t notice anymore there is a character underneath. This is something I wanted to avoid.
To finish with the Eowyn, I received it from eBay the Tuesday before the GD. As I was working at the same time and with the kids, I’ve had to be very fast. I spent one evening for the prepping plus resculpting some details and two evenings for the painting. For the colors I simply respected the fluff, focusing on a clean & smooth result.
Volomir: Do you think winning this Slayersword will be good or bad for you? Will there be a lot of pressure on whatever you do next?
Martin: I don’t really think winning a Slayer Sword can be a bad thing. If it was, why so many people are trying to win it? Anyways I don’t really measure yet how good it is to have it. As painting miniatures is a hobby, I don’t take commissions and I don’t paint to get money. So I think it's more difficult for me to estimate de benefits. I'm just happy with it and it's the main thing.
Maybe it can change how some people are looking at me, in a good or in a bad way. But it won’t change my way to look at people. If some guys are angry with me because I won it it’s fine, it simply means we wouldn’t have been friends anyways. About pressure I don’t really feel it. I don’t feel the need to « confirm » the sword or whatever, even if some people might be waiting me for that. I don’t care. I always painted what I like, how I like and for the pleasure, it’s not going to change :).
Volomir: What is your opinion on contests? Where do you stand regarding Open contests or Golden Demon?
Martin: As i'm quite new in the miniatures microcosm, I don’t know a lot of painters personally. My reserved and shy side doesn’t help also :). So I like to go to contests mostly to meet new people and discuss about our passion. Besides that and of course, if I win something i'm always feeling happy and proud, but it's not what puts me on the road. I also get bored quite fast of my own paintings, so i'm always happy to look at works with other ideas and styles.
I think contests are there to spend time with friends and share our passion, rather than for the awards. I have the feeling most of the painters think the same and that’s one of the reasons I enjoy this hobby so much. But it’s normal, we’re all different and some are more focused on the competition. Money is also a factor, as many painters have to live of their paintings. Winning an award may allow them to raise the selling prices of their pieces, so it’s totally understandable.
I still think, when I see some reactions, that sometimes awards are taking too much importance :).
Volomir: How do you plan a new project? Can you tell us how do you tackle a new miniature and how much time do you dedicate to it?
Martin: When I start a new project I simply search a piece I would like to paint in my stuff box. Then I try to imagine the atmosphere I want to achieve and if i'll need modifications on the model to reach my goal. Then I often have new ideas while i'm doing the prepping work and I often build 2-3 different bases for a mini until i'm satisfied. Yes, I have got a big amount of dead-born bases… The time I spend on a mini depends of the size of the project and the quality of the result I want to achieve...obviously. I also try to avoid miniatures that have already been painted 500 times by great artists to not be too much influenced.
The average of time I need for a display single miniature (prepping + painting) is I guess between 25 and 60 hours. But it's difficult to count as i'm painting on a lot of short moments when my kids are sleeping (my painting sessions may last between 15 minutes to 2-3 hours).
Volomir: What is your favourite work of yours? Objectively and personally?
Martin: Ugh that’s a difficult question... Maybe the one i'm the most attached to is the Jareck, for two reasons. First it's the mini I spent the most time on so far (maybe 70 hours). After so many hours there's sort of a connection I guess. Second, it's a miniature I progressed a lot on, at least it's the feeling I have :). It's also a miniature I worked on without shortcuts, with the same care of the detail everywhere. You also can find a lot of different textures, skin, metallics, cloth, leather, wood, hair... and different types of effects, blood, mud, water, freehand... It's probably my most complete work.
The one I prefer actually is maybe the Sgt. Connor. I just think the lateral light effect, the osl's and the colors are working fine. It's also a miniature that allowed me to try using a bit an airbrush, and believe me i'm really bad with this tool.
Volomir: And finally, can you tell us something about your future endeavours? Is there anything big planned for the near future? Any contest?
Martin: Not much actually... I don’t have any big project on the workbench, but little ones for miniatures exchanges. Anyways I think as i've got the sword i'll stop painting miniatures and find a new hobby... :). More seriously, next year i'll try to go to the Lugdunum in Lyon, to Stresa, to the Fantask’Open in Lyon (again) and to Monte San Savino, at least. Then it will depend of the plans we have with my wife and the kids.
Volomir: Thanks for your time Martin!! I really appreciate it!
Martin: Thanks to you, Rafa ! :)
Wow! Certainly Martin had a lot to say, very interesting thoughts thrown out there! Please keep up the good work and hope to see more from you soon! In the meantime, visit his blog Dre4mit Miniatures.