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Artist Spotlight - John Margiotta of bloodasmedium

Welcome back to this Artist Spotlight series! It feels like it's been a while, and good things do come to those who wait, so you must be the lucky individual ready to receive a retinal reward! That's right, for today we've got none other than John Margiotta (bloodasmedium) providing you with an insight into his brain.


John is a bit of a Golden Demon expert, given his years of experience, and quite frankly, superior painting skill. His page was sent my way by Rae (an avid voice and supporter of all things good and proper within this hobby) as she felt his insight was something that should be spread around. As he has been part of the ever evolving hobby for the past 30+ years, I absolutely agree, and his thoughts and feelings on the prestigious Golden Demon are invaluable to any and all painters.


But that's enough from me; let's see what John has to say, and you can decide for yourself if he is the painting daddy you need in your life.



 


- How, why and when did you start painting?


When I was young, there was a big craze about a game centered around fantasy, about knights and dragons, heroes and sorcery. This game took place in ones imagination and was none other than Dungeons & Dragons! A component of the game was to use markers to represent ones character. These were in the form of three dimensional lead or pewter cast 25mm models. A company called Heritage put out pre painted lead miniatures of various characters and monsters in a blister pack of four models.

They were called Dungeon

Dwellers and were put out around 1980-1981. I thought these were the coolest things. I absolutely wanted all of them and I believe they had quite a selection of over 100 packs of various personalities and my goal was to get all of them! Around 1983 I saw in Toys R’ Us, in the boxed games isle, a branch off of the Dungeon Dwellers idea of pre painted miniatures, something that really took my attention. Apparently you could paint these yourself. They would sell an item called Paint and Play, which contained paints, models, and some scenery. There were a bunch of companies doing this type of component in role playing games, TSR, Grenadier, Ral Partha, and RAFM.. I had to take a crack at painting these and I began to see in comic and gaming stores, all sorts of boxes of all types of different denizens of the D & D world. The ones by TSR (the D&D game creators), put out quite a bunch of options of metal 25mm lead minis, to show an idea of your hero, the monsters and enemies they face, and much more! I wasn’t very good at painting them, but I was in complete bliss collecting them and trying my damnedest to get better at it. I never experienced the type of fun that this hobby afforded me, I was hooked!



From here I started going to two gaming stores that I frequented regularly, and was introduced to some of the employees there that were much better than I was and offered to paint up your minis, or any other type of model, for a fee. I believe a gentleman named Ethan and another named Ricky Grant charged about $15-20 for a standard 25mm mini. Dragons by Ral Partha and the bigger models in multi parts were as high as $30-$50. Not bad at all for a nicely painted miniature back then in the early 1980’s. I was bitten by the mini painting bug! I painted my own and commissioned those employees to paint up some more for me as well. It was simply the way Ethan and Rick created realism to these inch tall human type models, and how cool and expressive they made them look when done. I amassed quite a collection of about 72 little painted miniatures by these two talented gentlemen, some of which I still have in my curio cabinet today!

 

Around 1986 I went from collecting Dragon magazine to White Dwarf magazine, where I fell deep into the work by the esteemed Eavy Metal Team, and I went head first into collecting and being a huge admirer of Citadel miniatures, which is by far, the best there is at designing, making, and selling 28-32mm heroic scale miniature models. Since then I’ve been knee deep in Games Workshop and Citadel Miniatures from way back in the Rogue Trader era right up to now.


 

- What do you love and hate about painting?

 

What I love most about miniature painting is the variety of different ways and stylized approaches there are to paint up an aesthetically pleasing miniature. Things are very different from how the top artists had painted award winning miniatures during the 1980’s, and how they are painted in the present day. There are actually quite a few ways that cater to a style, and folks now have a choice on wanting to go down certain pathways over others regarding their painting journey. There are some, for example, like Grimdarks gritty texture based style. Some like the very smooth and vibrant Eavy Metal Style, and some even like painting designed around being a gamer vs painting more refined competition work. So essentially, miniature painting has evolved quite a bit, especially regarding the competitive scene. This facet has come a long way. There are now countless miniature painting shows to become engaged in. For a very long time, miniature painting has been dominated by Historical painters and scale modeling which is still very popular. Nowadays, with the craze of tabletop miniatures, wargaming fantasy and sci fi miniature art have blossomed into something comparable to that of it’s historical and scale model counterparts.


What I dislike about miniature painting is tied hand in hand with the same aspect of competitive miniature painting; the politics and the lack of consistent judging at most of the shows. I’ve judged quite a few shows with some very big name artists as co judges, from a Top 3 to an Open Format, and I’ve seen some terrible things such as bad calls, and some folks even cheating for an award. I’ve seen judges and competitors act in ways that we wouldn’t teach our kids and youth to act. I think there always will be a subjective role in the judging process. What absolutely needs to happen is better screening for judges to give a fair and accurate and OBJECTIVE appraisal of the models. This must be sought after from the very beginning. I’ve often seen situations where folks pick whoever they think is OK as a judge, or picking some great painter who really has no clue or care to judge anything they deem “not worth their time”. Again, judging the work of others is a very sacred job. People have put time, blood, sweat and tears into their work, the least we can do as judges is give a FAIR and ACCURATE appraisal of those entries that people have invested their time and effort into!

 

- Favourite project you've worked on?

 

I get this question a lot when I talk to people. I have to say there are a number of favorite models I’ve worked on over the years. Without a doubt, my absolute favorite project would have to be the “Blue Chips”, an All Star Bloodbowl Team. This unit consists of 9 different types of star players from a bunch of different teams in the Bloodbowl universe.

This hard hitting group is made up of dwarves, ogres, trolls, halflings, humans and orcs. They are each on their own 42mm base with a scenic vignette. I also included random players in the act of making plays. For example, Griff Oberwald is stiff arming a goblin to run in for a score. An orc thrower is in the midst of throwing a pass to a goblin that has declared himself open for a catch way too early, and a dwarf that is ready to steam roll a goblin blocker and more. My all time favorite unit!

 



Another of my favorite projects has to be my two Dreadnoughts that have both exposed to the gifts of papa Nurgle. The Deathguard Leviathan from the Horus Heresy era, and the Contemptor Dreadnought of Nurgle. I love playing with textures and I also love anything tainted by the god of disease. Anytime I can pair up these two ideas is always the most fun I can have painting minis. Using these two aspects hand in hand gives so much creative license, I use every opportunity to add as much rot and corrosion as I want and it fits the theme every time!

 


- Future project you're planning or working on?

 

On my desk at the moment there are about 5 different projects that I’m in the middle of, and each are intended and based around Golden Demon. I am always about surprising the other competitors, so I will not say too much, but I can say I do have a vehicle I am working on for Golden Demon 2024, along with another entry for the Open Competition. There will be more units and vehicles as these are my favorite categories in any show but especially Golden Demon!

 

- Tell me about Golden Demon?

 

I have been attending Golden Demon competitions since 1992/1993 when I was 17 years old. The first US Golden Demon was at Tall Cedars Hall in Maryland decades ago. Golden Demon has always been something that I highly respect and gravitate towards, simply because it holds a feeling of nostalgia of my childhood, and seeing the winners in White Dwarf magazine and the Fantasy Miniatures hard back book. Seeing such masters as Ivan Bartleet, John Blanche, David Soper, Steve Blunt and many more. Telling myself as a youngster, I’d give anything to be able to win at Golden Demon one day and be up there with these masters who I looked up to and still do to this day. Since it’s return to the states, after being gone for over a decade, the past two years have been nothing short of amazing for me. At the past two Golden Demons, I’ve picked up one gold and two bronze statuettes and seven commendation cards. If I never place again, these achievements have been etched in stone. The amount of elation will never

go away. This show has been at the forefront of my mind since I was a teen, and now to be part of the winners circle has left an impression on me that can never be erased. For all those looking to enter this show that still uses a 1-3rd placing over open format judging, my advice would be to paint models you absolutely love. Choosing a model that you will have a blast to paint will show your efforts in the finished piece. Never paint a model because you think it will be something others will like. The passion and the love will translate to your model and the judges can see this as well. Be as tidy and smooth as you can, your edge highlights should be fine and pin straight. Your blending should be free of streaks and your gradients should have very smooth transitions. Join Patreons and learn all you can from top artists. If you fancy a Eavy Metal Style, then learn all you can about it’s principles and continue to refine your skill by painting lots of miniatures. The same goes for NMM, learn all you can about how to simulate a metallic look without metallic paints. Learn all you can and paint as many models that you love, and time and patience will be the recipe for success!


In the end we are all capable of creating amazing pieces of fantasy and sci fi miniature art. Never ever feel that your work is bad if you do not place. There are countless reasons why and how they come to a decision of why they chose the top three. If you don’t place, look around the cases and you will see you are in good company. The reality is, in the end, there are plenty (and I mean hundreds) of well painted models that might not have been chosen for whatever reason. If it’s your first few times entering, set your sights on a finalist pin. After that has been achieved, set your goals to be at a commendation. Setting these small reasonable goals makes for an easier time when attending this type of show, do not torture yourself! Do your best and realize that the best of your work is yet to come. In the end, having your work in those cabinets, next to the best miniature painters in the world, is reward enough!

 

 

I think I speak now for all of us, when I say a massive thank you to John for providing us all with such a large chunk of his brain. To any of the would-be Golden Demon applicants; you would be a total fool to ignore the advice you have been given here. Invaluable insights to any and all painters of all skills and experience.


Normally with these artist spotlights, I focus on a certain project they have created, but with John, it was his words I wanted to share more than anything else. However, as we're all here for the painting, it would be somewhat cruel of me to withhold this man's incredible artwork, so I'll include a few of my favourites below for you to see.


As you can quite clearly see from this small selection, this man is a painting expert of visual wonder. What I think I love most about John's painting style, is he perfectly merges grimdark style with a clean style. Often, at least in my own experiences, a grimdark style will always come across a little messy. However, this is not the case for John, and it becomes rapidly evident why he has found so much success in Golden Demon and all sorts of other achievements.


 

And that concludes this slightly lengthier artist spotlight! I think we should all give John our undying gratitude for taking the time to provide his insight into the hobby, and thank him profusely for letting us get to know him a bit. It might still be a little too soon to walk in through his front door unannounced though, so maybe just give it a little more time, you impatient creep.


As always, if you've got something to say, a cool concept, or big army to show off, then please get in touch! That's the point of these artist spotlights; where we can look a little deeper into both the artist and their work. If that's something you're interested in, then please get in touch via plasticpreacher@gmail.com or @plasticpreacher on Instagram.


And once again, a leviathan sized thank you to John for all his time and effort, and a slightly smaller thank you to you, for reading this article. Please do go check out bloodasmedium if you have not already, for the most stupid thing you could do today (and I'm sure there's a lot you could do), would be not to.


See ya!

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