With Adepticon and the Crystal Brush competition right around the corner, we saved a special interview in our “Road to Crystal Brush” series for last – the Head Judge for 2012 Crystal Brush, Raul Garcia Latorre. An amazing miniature artist from all the way over in Spain, Raul is coming out to Chicago to be the deciding factor where it comes to who walks away with a great deal of money.
Cool Mini or Not: Hey there Raul! It is really awesome that you are going to be our primary judge out at Crystal Brush in Chicago. What went through your mind when you heard you were going to be at the head of the panel?
Raul Garcia Latorre: Well … the first thing that overwhelmed me is the huge responsibility of being a judge. This is always very subjective and to be the main judge at an event such as Crystal Brush … well … imagine (lol). On the other hand, I haven’t traveled to the States for some years now, so I really wanted to go back to the United States.
CMoN: How long have you been working with miniatures, in or out of the gaming industry?
RGL: I started in the world of miniatures and games in 1990 approximately, but I began to work on it more or less professionally around 1994, working for several internationally renowned companies and learning all I could from the best teachers.
CMoN: As the judge, you can’t have any entries in the contest of course. If you could enter something of yours, what would you enter?
RGL: Well, the truth is that I am not very competitive; let’s say I’m just competitive with myself. I think one’s self is the best competitor you may have in order to give your best. But let’s say the figure that I’m most proud of is Sumothay, which I did for Enigma (as a piece of fantasy) and Cameron highlander for Latorre Models, both in 54mm. I guess those are my best pieces as of today.
CMoN: Of all of your accolades within the miniature industry, is there anything you have personally acheived you are the most proud?
RGL: I won several Best of Show in competitions around the world, and they certainly were prizes that filled me with much pride, but none equaled the first medals I got: one gold, one silver and one bronze at Euro Militaire in 1994. These awards gave me plenty of drive to keep learning and do better. The medals are ultimately a motivation and a confirmation of the good work.
CMoN: Have you ever judged over a painting competition before? If so, what was your opinions about those that have come before the prestigious Crystal Brush?
RGL: Yeah, I’ve been a judge in many competitions throughout the world, and I think that is a task of much responsibility: to value the working hours and hope of so many people depending on your way of seeing and understanding the figures always seems so difficult and delicate. I hope to live up to Crystal Brush!
CMoN: I’m sure you will do us proud, Raul! What is your favorite model you have ever worked on, and for what reason does it rise to the top in your eyes?
RGL: Well … I always think my favorite model is still to come. But I guess that of the ones I already did my favourite is Sumothay (pictured above), because of the character concept, design and detail of the pieces and especially the whole piece; the cape, two swords and the banner, its character and behavior. But as I say … I’m sure that in the future better figures will come.
CMoN: Well, I for one cannot wait to see more of your amazing work. Now that we all know how entrenched in the miniatures industry you are, are their any games that you play or hobby aspects apart from the art that take up some of your time? If so, which ones?
RGL: I liked board games from the moment I started in this hobby, as this was thanks to HeroQuest, like many other fans. HeroQuest was a very important game because unveiled this world to people who did not know it even existed … like myself. I believe it is a very interesting and enriching part of this hobby and when I have time I like to play all the games that fall into my hands. I am also developing a game for the Enigma line that will launch shortly.
CMoN: That is awesome! I know I love painting the Enigma line, so knowing a game is in the works makes me personally very happy. I would bet I’m not alone. One last thing before we let you go. Everyone knows that certain aspects of miniature artistry wax and wane as the years pass. Broad highlights are in, then source lighting, then stark non-metal metallics…and so forth. Is there any aspect of the art that you believe is on the rise at this time?
RGL: I know it well. It is like fashion and some techniques are in fashion. I like the word flexibility, so I do not like something being imposed. I like to know all the techniques I can, but I think it’s smart to use them if you think this technique will better fit the job you’re doing, not simply because it is in fashion … I have never followed these trends.
CMoN: Well, that is a really fresh perspective on the industry trendings and how everyone with the right skills and techniques will have a good shot at wowing you properly! It was good to talk to you, and I can’t wait to meet you in person next week!
-Bryan Steele; Cool Mini or Not