For this new interview, let’s discover Mark Gmehling, 3D artist.
After few artists exploring 3D likeness, let’s have a closer look to a true illustrative artist, which displays a unique style, combining rounded funny 3D characters into a glossy world, where only Mark’s imagination is the limit.
His background in advertising gave him both the ability to work for them – as you’ll see successfully -, and the awareness that his artistic freedom couldn’t stand a daily job there.
Mark works for years now as a 3D artist, so his thoughts will be priceless. Let’s learn more about his process, his vision, his personal projects, his exhibitions, and his tips to grow up as a digital artist!
Hello Mark! Very glad to have you here! Can you please describe yourself to the readers ?
Hi Nicolas, thanks for your interest. I’m an artist based in Dortmund/ Germany. I studied art, graphic design and marketing first. And then later, I worked in advertising for a while. Finally, I cut the ropes to work as a freelancer in art direction and illustration.
Next to that, I love to travel the world, paint murals and exhibit my personal works.
It’s amazing how many great german digital artists are shining on the 3D illustration scene. Do you know why ? 🙂
Honestly, I don’t know. I work with Cinema4D for 15 years now – Maxon – which is a german company. I started with release 6 and had the luck to grow with a software that became an industry standard. Nowadays it’s release 19. So maybe it’s the mix of science/technology and art that appeal to the “german-engineer-nerve”!?
You have a unique style, immediately recognizable, made of rounded glossy characters. Can you talk about it ?
I guess this is based of my graffiti-background, were the whole game was about developing something recognizable, an own style that people could identify.
In my personal character works, I’m exploring the abstraction of the human figure. I avoid or abstract facial expression and deliver them via pose/gesture.
I see a lot od similarities to corporate identity development. You develop your personal universe of aesthetics, humor and shapes and keep exploring further.
“I was about to loose irremediably my personal passion for design
if I would keep up with daily agency business“
I really like your commercial work for Dynaudio. Can you tell us more about the idea and the process behind ?
Dynaudio is a brand that develops speakers. The initial brief was to visualize a track from a band I liked, arranged in the shape of the speaker being advertised.
There were no further rules and these are the kind of jobs I like the most, when clients believe and trust your artistic approach. So, I’ve chosen a track from Justice (Genesis), and I’ve visualized the picture coming up in my head when listening to the track.
You work for advertising, you’re also doing exhibitions, and you’re selling your art online. How do you share your time with all your activities ?
Well, I developed this over time. I left the advertising agencies because I got aware that I was about to loose irremediably my personal passion for design if I would keep up with daily agency business. So I got self-employed to choose the projects I wanted to work for, and deny those I would find not interesting. The international demand for my work begun when I started exhibiting personal works that I found fresh : my artworks. And I started doing this because I realized that I couldn’t identity myself with commercial work.
Most inquiries are based on my free “art-work” because that’s the place where I’m further developing my visual language and producing stuff that feels fresh for me.
Can you describe your weekly animations ?
The weekly animations are a project I forced myself to do in new year 2018. The passion for 3D is driven by the fact that in 3D – and finally animation – all my interests (sound/music, pictures) melt. And in the end, the moving image : film. Since I’m learning 3D, I’m also learning animation. But soon, you realize that it’s another big task to understand movement, timing and all the technical aspects to set it up. After about ten years of private investigation, I’m starting to feel prepared to offer animation. The weekly animations will be character animations that I find fresh and funny, and that combines the technics I’ve learned.
Where does your inspiration come from ? Do you have any tips to stay inspired ?
Honestly I don’t know. I’m driven to create, and I get self-displeased if I don’t create. Maybe that’s genes or education.
I have a folder on my hard drive where I collect all the stuffs I find inspirational (pictures, music, text, whatever…). I also always have my sketchbook with me, where I can scribble or write down things. I find interesting enough to turn into pictures or animation.
Next to that, I’m collecting books about illustration, art and design. And in the end, there’s still the web. Those are sources of endless inspiration.
In my personal work, I feel inspired by the triviality, absurdity and drama of human life which is the most relevant topic for me.
“The computer is a tool. You need to avoid
being driven by effects“
What cool tricks could you share for 3D beginners ?
- Use pen and pencil to develop an idea, and after that, execute it with the help of the machine. The computer is a tool and you need to avoid being driven by effects.
- Focus on your own ideas and don’t get lost by the thousands of possibilities computer-technology offers.
- Don’t get paralyzed by what all the other artists publish on the web.
For me 3D-technology offers the possibility to visualize things that don’t exist in a photorealistic way if needed. It became an indispensable tool because it’s so efficient to execute ideas.
Are there any great references of artists you love that you could share with us ?
I love the work of Mattias Adolfsson. It’s always fun to look at it. It’s so obvious that the process of creation was fun. He is a good example of someone who built a personal universe that is bigger than a personal “stroke”.
Do you have anything else you want to add ? To share ?
My mantra is “Fuck the norm” and I try to do it everyday in every aspect of life.
Many thanks Mark for this interview!
And as always, if you are a digital artist with cool content, and want to discuss about it, please send me an email (top right icon)