From the far away land of Japan, today I bring you Hugo Matte, Canadian born but living the samurai dream, he managed to win Slayersword Japan 2013. The event is very new (only 2 years so far) and the competition is not as mature in terms of level as those of the old continent or the US, but could be a promising land for a huge new community. Let's see what Hugo can tell us about his adventures in the Land of the Rising Sun.
Volomir: How long have you been painting miniatures? Tell us a bit about yourself.
Hugo: I've started to paint miniatures and do modelling for about 20 years. I've started pretty young doing military modeling. One day I walked into a Games Workshop store and i was in awe! I just had a revelation that tank can be different colors then just military colors. From that day on I've converted to fantasy and scify miniature painting. Then kept on painting and trying to get better and it push me to start doing a bit of commissions here and there. In 2012 I decided to try doing the hole multimedia thing, started a twitter account tweeting about the hobby and from there things unfolded pretty nicely for me. Ended up with a pretty good now YouTube channel and Facebook page allowing me to share my passion and enjoy my hobby.
Volomir: What drove you to paint miniatures?
Hugo: Military miniatures was definitely my dad, he used to build and paint models when he was younger and help me a lot and supported me to get better in the hobby. Then most likely the GW cover art drove me when i started with the wargaming figurines and from there the net fulled my passion ten fold.
Volomir: How did you end up living in Japan?
Hugo: Its pretty easy, I came to Japan about 10 years ago for just one year to enjoy a sweet vacation. But ended up never leaving, love the country, culture, people, language... So I made it my home!
Volomir: Can you tell us something about the painting world in Japan?
Hugo: Japan as an amazing pool of incredibly talented painters and builder. You can find hobby supplies in any electronic stores to give you an idea how modelling is popular here, BUT unfortunately on the wargaming side of the hobby its pretty undeveloped. There are still amazing artist here but it less popular then in major hobby centers like in the UK or Europe and the US. There is still lot to be done in terms of growing the hobby but none the less there are still a lot of people playing and painting here.
Volomir: Have you participated in other Golden Demons around the world?
Hugo: Unfortunately not yet, but I am planing on it even knowing that the competition in other golden demon events are one hundred times stronger then in Japan.
Volomir: Do you attend other painting events apart from Golden Demon?
Hugo: When I'm lucky yes. I get to travel a bit. Last year I've been to Gencon where unfortunately I did place and I'm leaving soon for Adepticon 2014 in Chicago where the crystal brush is held.
Volomir: How was winning the Slayer sword for you? How did you feel? Have you noticed any difference in your painting life since you won?
Hugo: Those are really hard questions! Winning the sword was great! Knowing your model is the best of all in a show is great, then also knowing you won something so many painters want is sick (in a good way!) But and there's a big BUT... Its a second year event, so I cant in my mind not feel a little bit ashamed to have won. Let me explained: feel great to win something, feels great to know your the best on that day, but the slayer sword is such a highly praised trophy and the reputation it carries is so big and the artist that won it in the past are some of my idols. So for me to have the same trophy as them but to have won it in an event where maybe it would have been in England i would have maybe not even placed is hard to accept the win. As for if my painting life changed.. hummm not quite sure I'm busy I have commissions but it was the same before so I would say no. But i did have an extremely huge painting mojo boost after the event i was on a painting trance painting like a maniac 24/7 but as high did the high went, the low and dreadful painting burnout was right around the corner waiting for me around November. I'm still slowly getting back into it.
Volomir: Do you think there will be a GD Japan in 2014? What's your opinion on how GW is dealing with GDs lately?
Hugo: Good question, For the Golden Demon Japan in 2014 I would love to think there will be another one, unfortunately I do not think there will be one. Attendance was better this year than the first and so was the quality of the models but the organization was worst than the first year. For the 2 years they did it, they always waited pretty last minute to announce the event. And from a source I know its for the simple reason that they do not really want Golden Demon worthy people from other countries to fly in. On one side i totally understand since its a new event GW japan doesn't want to kill the event for Japanese people and discourage them into entering by seeing their event sweeped out by only foreign painters. There was a joke made by one of the high up the GW-JP food chain at the event during the speech saying "yet another year where the slayer sword is won by a foreign please bring the sword to Japan" pretty ironic since we don't actually get a sword here but a certificate here since they cant import swords into japan. But it does support the theory. Also the fact that they did cut 4 categories last year too. But to be honest those are all speculations we will see, probably only 4 months before the event like last year. Pretty short noticed to get your shit ready before an event.
As for other countries I think GW should do like Japan though, cut all the crap with Games Day if its so hard and just hold a Golden Demon contest and that's it.
Volomir: Are there any artists that influence your painting? What are your favorite painters of all time?
Hugo: So hard! Love your minis they are superb, Ben too, the guys from Massive Voodo, Bohun, my buddy Les from APJ and Mig Jimenez but at the same time there are so many more on that list, (lol) Arsies, Nakatan, Ana, Ctan, etc...
Volomir: A very tough question: what is your favorite miniature?
Hugo: Man..... again another hard one! hummmmmmmm..... I mean to paint it has to be a tank or any miniature I can make rusty and dirty, cuze that's what I'm good at but as for a miniature hummm I really don't know. But the one i had the most fun painting was the sexy reaver titan. Hoooo I got it! Never did one but I do think one of the miniature I would love to paint and own (that's saying a lot cuze i don't collect at all I sell most of the minis I paint) but its the Eldar Phantom Titan.
Volomir: Any advice you want to give newcomers to the miniature painting world?
Hugo: You guys are Lucky!!!!! You have the net and the magical YouTube! when I started I had non of that. So it was extremely hard to get good comprehensive tutorials, there for the progression was really slow and required me to get into many clubs for the hobby which isn't a bad thing but YouTube can really teach you a lot from the comfort of your house which is amazing!
Just keep painting and don't forget to try new stuff even if your not sure that's how you learn! Make mistakes and get better!
Thanks Hugo! He has a very interesting channel in youtube with loads of entertaining and instructive videos, make sure you check it out!