Monday, October 30, 2017

Good things (have) come to an end

Several months ago, the Painting Crusade team announced that the 2017 edition would be the last one. Attendees were wondering if it was "for real". Somehow, the staff members were also hoping that something would make them change their mind. Maybe the PC wouldn't die, or maybe another event would be taken over by the members who were still willing to put up something.

It's been a bit more than 7 months since the last edition, without a heartbeat. So yes, the Painting Crusade is dead. Will there be something else, different, with another name and some renewal in the team? Hard to tell.

The one and only Quentin already made a great video to express his feelings about last edition being The Last One. I did not really say much about it, neither online nor when asked about it. Not even an article on my blog. Maybe it's time I say a word.

I already miss the PC. It's been keeping me busy over the last 12 years. Sometimes only for a few weeks, sometimes for several months. The preparation and setting up of some editions has been really exhausting, while some others were running so smoothly. I'm going to miss the event itself even more, especially all the buddies and all the unexpected things that always happen.

It's crazy to think that some people were coming from as far as Denmark and Russia for an event that was so small and homemade. It's crazy to think that some people have been eating hours and miles on the road every year (crazy, especially if you know the state of highways in Belgium...) to spend the weekend with us. I have to make a special shoutout to the guys from Normandy for being so dedicated to our event, and connecting so perfectly to the spirit and atmosphere we wanted to create for it.

My biggest regret, and probably the root cause of why the PC has come to and end, is that we haven't been able to open our audience outside of our generation. And I have the feeling that it's a recurrent problem of the community as a whole (for as far as I can see at least), be it online or in real-life events. I guess some explanations might come from the specific context of today, but there are probably things we should have done (or done another way) to make it happen and/or make it last.

There have also been ups and downs in the number and motivation of the people taking part to the organization. This makes it difficult sometimes to maintain your own motivation, and to maintain the quality and the consistency of the event. And that's a lesson of life anyway: you'll never find two persons with the same commitment to a specific thing, be it in a personal or a in professional context.

One of the best things I will keep from the last edition, is that somehow it was the one that, to my eyes, looked the closest to what we had initially imagined what the PC should be like, when brainstorming in the car after PC3. PC3 was the last time the PC was organized in the framework of a wider event, and Quentin and I wanted to overcome the limits set by such a context, and offer better conditions for hosting our event (those who were there will understand...).

What was my wildest dream about the PC, that never became reality? It would be organizing the same kind of event, but without the contest. More of a gathering event, with more room for sharing, better opportunities for people to learn and get inspiration from the others. We discussed that every year, but weren't sure we could find a formula that would make it work.

Yes, sharing... that thing that was so obvious when the online community was at its beginnings. I have the feeling that the heavy professionalization of our generation has changed the game. I'm not blaming anyone, everyone needs to find a way to make a living. That combined to the advent of social media that do not have the same dynamics as forums at that time.

Today, I'm struggling to find time to do my things. My production as a whole is close to an all-time low, and the last time I've been working seriously on a mini-related project is far away, as my blog shows. It seems like it's not going to change before long. Sometimes it feels like my days as a miniature sculptor and painter are over, and that I don't want to face it.

All this sounds a bit like a farewell. We'll see what the future brings. Maybe I'm being pessimistic about those things right now. I've spent much more time of my life with minis and creative stuff around me than without it. There's nothing else I see myself doing; I just don't see how to make room for it.

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