For the last two years, the Rainbow Brush has striven to highlight issues of great social importance, celebrating the downtrodden in response to political and legislative attempts to ostracize them from our great melting pot. Miniaturists from across the globe have taken the opportunity to use the power of art to shine their light on these issues.
In 2015, there was a celebration of the LGBTQ community, in response to the “Religious Freedom” bill that was championed by then Indiana Governor, Mike Pence. It was a celebration of the inclusivity of the Gamer/Painter subculture, and a statement re-affirming how important we all feel it is that you can come from all walks of life and find friends in this uniquely welcoming band of misfits and social butterflies alike. Using every color of the rainbow in the submitted pieces was a way of opening the door even wider to our LGBTQ friends and family, and letting them know that even if it was cold and cruel outside, they’d always be welcomed at our painting and gaming tables.
Last year, artists from every political spectrum came together to highlight the plight of Muslims, both in America and abroad, and to celebrate the many cultures in their identity; not to mention their vast contributions to both science and the arts. It’s easy to forget with the current state of hyperbolic political discourse that Islam is responsible for many of the pillars of our modern world. The first hospitals, cesarean section, dissolvable sutures, and forceps all come from the Islamic world. The famed Islamic doctor, Al Zahrawi, created the first surgical encyclopedia that went on to be used as a surgical reference guide in Europe for the next 500 years. There simply isn’t enough time or space in which to list all the ways that Islam has directly and indirectly improved our lives. Once again, our little corner of the art world came together to affirm that all peoples are welcome at the table, and to celebrate the many accomplishments of the 1.6 billion Muslims around the globe. Homages to the unique geometric Islamic art, Islamic folklore and arabesques abounded. It was a special feeling, seeing firsthand a celebration of the faith tradition while the world outside seethed with callous disregard for the humanity of Muslims in the face of trumped up fears and demagoguery.
This year, I’d like to shift the focus to an issue of perhaps even greater import. The focus of this year’s Rainbow Brush is an issue that affects us all. Gay or Straight. Woman or Man. Young or Old. Muslim or Atheist. This year, we’ll be focusing on the environment.
I’m sure you’re all aware of the overwhelming body of evidence regarding the fact of climate change that is being ignored wholesale by the people empowered to halt it. With this new administration embracing crony capitalism and fossil fuels over common sense and renewable energy sources and scrubbing climate change data from government sites; there may never have been a more pivotal time for the people to take a stand for our planet’s future. The Trump administration has elected Scott Pruitt to head the EPA, a man that sued the agency many times and has made his desire to dismantle it crystal clear. Scott Pruitt recently fired half the scientists on the EPA’s advisory council, and is currently seeking to fill the positions with representatives from the industries it is required to regulate. According to scientific consensus, there is precious little time to save our pale blue dot, and with every step taken to line the pockets of these folks is a step away from a world habitable by our children’s children.
With that in mind, the theme of celebrating and protecting the environment is open to broad interpretation. Depicting scenes from popular fiction, such as the the scene from Lord of the Rings where the ents go to war to defeat the corruption and environmental destruction of Isengard. Maybe a post-apocalypse, teeming with irradiated life in the rubble of our hubris? On the flip side, maybe a celebration of nature, a lush ecosystem, teeming with endangered species, or perhaps a figure engaged in environmental protest or conservation? Sculptors and and designers have provided us with a dazzling array of fantastic beasts and anthropomorphs. The choices are nearly endless!
As always, this will be an epic undertaking! Celebrating (or mourning, if that is more your flavor) something as all encompassing as our environment should be as spectacular as our world itself. I wholeheartedly welcome anyone who wants to offer help by contributing ideas, prize support of simply sharing this event across their social media feeds.
The general outline of the event is as follows:
RAINBOW BRUSH, GEN CON 2017
This event will be held at Gen Con, 2017 in Indianapolis, IN (August 27th – August 30th). It will be an add-on to the MHE painting competition, and subject to all the rules of the main event. There will be an additional form to fill out indicating that you’d like your piece to be entered in the Rainbow Brush.
In order to be considered for the Rainbow Brush, your miniature or diorama display will need to feature themes tied to environmental conservation, which, as we’ve already touched on, is pretty open to interpretation.
Prize Support is as follows:
1st Place – Tier 1 Prize
2nd Place – Tier 2 Prize
3rd Place – Tier 3 Prize
BEST INTERPRETATION OF THEME
Were the Rainbow Brush a typical painting competition, pieces would be judged solely on their technical merit. I’d be looking exclusively for the flawless technique of people who’ve spent years honing the craft, picking apart things like technical aptitude, composition and color theory. While that leads to some truly spectacular pieces taking home the accolades, it works against the environment of inclusivity we so value. As a result, this category is intended to award awesome/engaging/thought provoking interpretations of the theme, even if the artist isn’t yet painting at a masterclass level!
There will be prize support for the Judges Favorite category as well. Sometimes you come across a piece full of heart that just doesn’t fit any of the other prizes. It’s a shame for those diamonds in the rough to go unrecognized, as they often shine with their own brilliance. This is the category for them!
Miniature manufacturers from across the globe come together to celebrate the Rainbow Brush, and this year will be no exception. Expect the same awesome prize support of previous events!