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Friday, May 23, 2014

MFCA 2014: Ben´s Travel Diary - Part 2

Ben's MFCA Travel Diary - Part 2(here's part 1)

Saturday 10th may

Dear Painting Buddha Travel Diary,
Today is Saturday. 
What a lovely morning when - contrary to popular belief - Matt and I started the day quite early. 

After having a nice breakfast we went for a small stroll in the nearby located National Historical Park .

Although we did not stay that long, Matt was a little late for his painting class. He still managed to showcase his teaching skills a little later that day.

So it was neither the free beer and liquor graciously offered to us in the hospitality suit, nor the shame about our lacking billiard skills but our almost boy scout like interest in nature and history that made us turn up late. For the greater good!

So after our quick stop over at the park we went back to the Show. As it was possible to register our entries until noon on Saturday we were free to roam around the cabin and enjoy all of the displayed works. 

Here are some impressions of the Show:

one of my favorites of the show..
the wonderful ligthbox "New York" by
Barry Biedige

This brings me to a subject that probably will be discussed a little controversially - and that is the auction.
The auction was a somewhat disappointing part of the MFCA Show. Now, don't get me wrong - The show is marvelous, but I have to share how I felt during the action of unique miniatures by diverse artist for the World Expo in Stresa.

And when I say 'unique' I mean awesome one-of-a-kind sculpts and paintjobs. Projects that probably took hundreds of hours to make.

These works were donated by the respective creators and auctioned off to support the World Expo Organization financially. 

As the name might indicate, the MFCA Show is international known to be one of THE “buyers”- shows, a show primarily targeted at collectors.

Even though Joel Glass tried his very best to squeeze every penny out of the assembled crowd to support the World Expo, some of these unique pieces of art went for the asking price without any additional bids.

When I see incredible works of art - scratchbuilt - and paint by true masters go for 600$, my heart weeps. 

So here are some terrible pictures (I am a painter, not a photographer!) of some of the wonderful action pieces and the action itself..

shortly before the auction started

I might be wrong but my impression was that there was not really a lot buying going on during the contest/show.

So with these feeling I was left with the question: "Where is the collector's market going and what does that mean for professional painters like myself?"

Well I´m not sure, after all it was my first time at MFCA - and most likely not my last time… We will have a close eye on what happens in Stresa and what the European collectors market holds for us. .

As always, miniature collectors come and go, but it is good to see how committed collectors grow an enormous collection of wonderful works and how organizations such as the MuMi, the museum of miniatures, is slowly but surely growing their collection of the best miniatures in the world. 

For many professional painters the MuMi is probably one of the most interesting projects on the horizon - an initiative that could result in similar museums world-wide. 

Judges at work
The grand semi-finale..

Although I said earlier that it’s all about the people, I was still a little exited about how Matt and I would 'score' in the actual contest. 

We travel to a lot of shows, and it’s always interesting to see what the judges think about your work. 

We managed to grab several trophies, Matt got Gold in open/advanced, Gold in painting fantasy/advanced with his version of our very own Randalf. You can receive this miniature FOR FREE by pre-ordering our Season 1.2 and 1.3 DVD sets, btw!!!

I received Gold in painting fantasy/advanced with my Rackham Goblin Bust and silver for my “War Photographer” in painting historical /advanced level.

From our side congratulations to all other winners , and a big applause for new the "Grandmasters of the MFCA".

Here are some better pictures of our entries :

The grand final

Other than most - or actually every other show that I have attended so far - people stayed long after the end of the show. And I´m not just talking about an hour or two! 

Most of the exhibitors stayed over night, which allowed us to have a nice farewell party at the suite. Really a great opportunity to speak with so many incredibly talented people. Much fun was had, stories were told, times were good!

Sunday 11th may

Dear Painting Buddha Travel Diary,

Sunday: early morning checkout. We headed to the Mall to meet up with our French friends.Matt expected much from the largest mall in America. 

Only the stop-over at the Cheesecake Factory and the comic book store could comfort Matt for the disappointment that he missed the Vegas-style gondoliers ride that he expected from a mall like that :D

I got myself some fighting robots. BAM!
Having your cake and eating it too?
Piece of cake. 
Fhe French horde
After the Mall we continued our journey to Philadelphia .. and onward to New York.

Here are some impressions from the calm hours in Philly.

We arrived in New York late at night. Time Square by night with bulky miniature boxes and huge suitcases.... FUN! 

Monday 12th may

Dear Painting Buddha Travel Diary,

I am full of shame as I have to admit that although I travel quite a bit, I have never been to New York. New York is almost like Matt´s second home so he offered me a high-pressure New York infusion which I gladly accepted. 

and after 13 hours of sightseeing exploration we where welcomed with some nice cool drinks by our host Kevin, a friend of Matt, to whom I have to thank so much for the way he made us feel welcomed and at home in New York.

Tuesday 13th may

Dear Painting Buddha Travel Diary,

because I had only so little time in New York, Kevin was so gracious to give us an car tour to see more than “just” Manhattan. Its so good to be with local people to get and insight feeling for a city. New York is so full of inspiration.

Thanks to all of you who made this trip possible, and so much fun.

Matt is going to explore the West Coast and I´m sitting here at the Airport looking at my boarding pass with the seat number 42K while the sun sets over The Big Apple.

42. Of course. Back to the Paintingbuddha Cave! 42 is calling!

..lucky number
If you every have the chance to go to the MFCA take it - we hope we can be back next year! It is an amazing show with great people and a really high quality contest.

I hope you enjoyed my very first article for masterminis - But now it's back to the painting-desk!



  1. Ben, It was a real joy to spend some time with you at the show. Thanks to the internet our hobby world is a lot smaller and closer, but nothing beats an opportunity to spend time together in one place. After 35 years painting figures it is a joy to spend so much time with the world's young talents. Keep up the great work.

  2. Thank you for your entertaining diary entries. And Congratulations for you and Matt on your Gold medals at the MFCA. Maybe some time I will get the chance to cross the big sea as well... Time will show! ^^

    Best regards,

  3. Hi,
    Wonderful blog & good post.Its really helpful for me, awaiting for more new post. Keep Blogging!

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