Award-winning artist and attorney Victor Hardy looks back on the now-notorious Golden Demon Awards 2004 event.
Victor Hardy, a well-respected attorney from Austin, Texas, is also a renowned artist, famed around the world for his miniature painting triumphs and his involvement with the popular wargame Warhammer 40,000. Best known for the classic piece Golgotha, which remains one of the top-rated piece of miniature painting on the hobby’s leading and most well-established website, the lawyer and artist looks back on the infamous 2004 Golden Demon Awards.
“My most famous piece of miniature painting, Golgotha, is central to this tale,” reveals Hardy. It’s a story, he says, which until fairly recently had not been told, despite occurring 15 years ago now. “I must start by saying that the people I met at the Golden Demon Awards 2004 in the U.K. were incredible, and among those, it was my French counterparts who made the greatest impression on me,” suggests the artist and attorney.
The Golden Demon Awards, sponsored by Games Workshop, are named after the most coveted award presented during the annual competition of the same name. “Held each year, the awards are considered by many to represent the pinnacle of miniature painting,” explains Hardy. The awards, he says, often demonstrate the very finest work from the world’s very best miniature painters.
“At the now-notorious Golden Demon Awards 2004 event I had the pleasure of spending the day with, among others, Jeremy Bonamant, Bruno Grelier, Jacque Alexandre, and David Waeselynck,” reveals Hardy. They had, he goes on to explain, all traveled in a van together from France to the U.K. for the event, even sleeping in the vehicle the night before the awards.
“These guys were crazy!” exclaims Victor. “They were all so enthusiastic and passionate about the miniature painting hobby that they were on just another level,” he adds.
Victor would spend much of the day talking to his French allies about painting and admiring their work. “It was awesome,” he recalls, “and even today, 15 years on, I still have so much respect for their talents.”
“Not since the Battle of Hastings did the French do so well on British soil!” jokes Hardy. The French, he reveals, swept the Golden Demon Awards 2004 and Jacque Alexander took home the prized Slayer Sword trophy.
Despite the now-famous nature of Victor’s piece Golgotha, which he had entered into the 2004 event, the artwork was controversially disqualified. “My new friend, Frenchman Bruno Grelier had entered into the same category and subsequently won,” Hardy reveals.
“Now,” he continues, “here’s the amazing part.”
Bruno Grelier, Victor Hardy reveals, having seen that Golgotha had been disqualified, gave the artist and attorney his Golden Demon trophy and asked him to take it. “Bruno insisted I should have it because he felt that I deserved it,” he explains.
Prior to attending the event, the pair had never met before. “We didn’t even speak a common language,” points out Hardy, “and, yet, he gave one of the most precious things a Golden Demon Awards competitor can have to a complete stranger.”
Sadly, Bruno Grelier passed away a few years later in June 2012.
“Only someone who was totally passionate and crazy about the hobby,” adds Hardy, wrapping up, “could’ve done what he did, and Bruno remains fondly remembered both by myself and countless others within the miniature painting world.”