With Art, Nothing Gets Lost in Translation: Introducing ZBrush Artist, Mr. Marco Antonio Mendoza


by Joshua Diokno   

Regardless of the language and its provenance, one can be certain: art speaks to us; it relates to us in a way that it can articulate our definition of what is beautiful.

This, our featured artist was able to do justice. As with his language, his art possesses a beauty in its delivery; there is a certain sophistication to his art that had been molded not only by whom he considers his influence, but also his experience—the actual work that he put into it. And we have nothing but admiration for him.

Mr. Marco Antonio Mendoza is a man of pure talent. But it is not without hard work and as you can see through his pieces, it paid off—handsomely. A native of Ecuador, Mr. Mendoza’s answers to our questions were delivered in Spanish, but this is no deterrent to our understanding of his art.

Nothing had been lost in translation, for what it’s worth, it had enriched our appreciation for his work further. Reading through the transcription, we got to feel the culture from which his passion had sprung—and we are more than glad to have been given the chance.

Xeno Creatives (XC): Relatively, developments in the industry such as Zbrush came in just recently. Unlike the simplicity of pencil and ink on paper, we understand that much technical know-how is needed to know the ropes around the software. As such, what processes did you have to learn to be well-versed in Zbrush? As a dedicated artist, how did this help you in honing your craft?

Marco Antonio Mendoza (MAM): No sé realmente si existió un proceso específico, ya que mi paso por el conocimiento de ZBrush fue totalmente autodidacta, viendo tutoriales, experimentando con el programa, pulsando todos los íconos para ver que función tenían.

 Mi relación con el programa se desarrolló de una manera lúdica donde creo Yo nos fuimos conociendo en el camino.

Como todo en la vida el arte también está en constante evolución y creo que gracias a mis inicios en las artes plásticas, ahora con ZBrush tengo una mejor visión del volumen en los personajes, y así como el lápiz y el papel, los óleos y el lienzo, ahora mis soportes se han  modernizado pero el concepto es el mismo.

I’ve wouldn’t say there were specific processes for me. My knowledge of ZBrush is more self-taught: watching a lot of tutorials, experimenting with the program, trying the tools and getting to know how they work.

My relationship with ZBrush in the beginning was playful, I think we got to know each other along the way.

Like all other things in life, art is constantly evolving, and I am sure that with my beginning in conventional arts and now with ZBrush, I have acquired a better vision of character volume. Before, pencil, paper, oil were my materials, now my canvas has been modernized but the concept is the same.

XC: When did you realize that you wanted to pursue the discipline in ZBrush? Would you want to expand to other media or do you want to just focus on it?

MAM: Conocí Zbrush por casualidad hace  5 años atrás, en ese tiempo Yo hacía concept de personajes 2D, y veía a un compañero de trabajo que utilizaba la herramienta, entonces el bichito me picó y en ese entonces en el trabajo donde estaba me dieron la oportunidad de tocar el programa, me gustó de inmediato y así es como empecé a jugar en él, me divertí tanto que ahora es una de mis pasiones.

 Una cosa lleva a la otra, poco a poco me he ido expandiendo al área de render, para ir mejorando cada día los resultados que obtengo, este es un medio donde tenemos que actualizarnos constantemente con nuevas herramientas que permiten mejorar la calidad del personaje y ese es el reto diario, avanzar junto con la ola tecnológica.

I got to know ZBrush by chance about 5 years ago. At that time I used to do 2D character sheet and I saw a coworker using the tool. The curiosity bug got to me. Thankfully, in my work at the time, I got the opportunity to try the program, I liked it immediately and I started playing with it. It was so fun that now it is one of my passions.

One thing led to another, and little by little I`ve expanded in render knowledge; improving every day and getting better results. This is a world where we must get constant updates of the tools that let us have a better character quality. That’s our daily challenge—advance with the technology wave.

XC: Were there other media that you tried your hands on? What were these?

MAM: Mi primer amor siempre fue el arte tradicional, lo estudié desde muy joven y eso me ha ayudado ahora a tener un mejor conocimiento de las formas y proporciones.

Hago pintura al óleo, lápiz y acuarela, ellas son mi break cuando necesito un respiro de la máquina.

My love will always be the traditional art, I studied it from a very young age and that has help me to understand much better the forms and proportions. I paint with oil, pencil and watercolor, this is my break when I get overwhelmed with the computer.

XC: Did delving into the art start-off as a want or a necessity?

MAM: Absolutamente porque quería.

Want. Absolutely.

XC: We had the most pleasant opportunity to see your works on Facebook and Art Station. We must say, it was such an amazing visual experience! The closest word that we could use to describe your works is AWESOME. We were torn with choosing our favorites among the likes of the “Overwatch” fan art, the sexy comic book and movie women in 2D, Watercolor fantasy art, and so on. Do you have favorite pieces? What are they and why?

MAM: Realmente es un honor y una satisfacción al trabajo diario y largas noches sus palabras, en verdad esta es parte de la recompensa que como artista se necesita, cada Comentario positivo del arte diario que presento es una palmada en la espalda por el esfuerzo y los negativos ayudan a evaluar lo que hace falta aún.

 Creo que todos son parte de una evolución y aprendizaje, en cada pieza se puede ver grandes o pequeños crecimientos artísticos.

 Todas las piezas que han mencionado en su debido momento fueron grandes retos para mis habilidades, y eso es lo enriquecedor, vencerse uno mismo a diario.

Your words are such an honor—a satisfaction for all the daily work and long nights. Truly, this is the reward that an artist needs; every positive comment about my work bring me forward and shows that all my efforts are being valued. I also take in account the constructive comment that help me evaluate the things that I’ve missed.

All my work is a statement of evolution and learning. In every piece you can see the small and larger artistic improvements.

All the work you have mentioned was in its particular moment, a big challenge to my skills, and that’s the accomplishment, to beat oneself each time.

XC: Who or what can you consider as your influences? What attracted you to them?

MAM: Wow es una gran pregunta, tengo varios influenciadores en cada ámbito, pero si puedo mencionar a alguien que ha marcado mi tendencia es el señor Boris Vallejo, desde adolescente su arte me ha cautivado, y en el medio digital tengo gran respeto y admiración por los artistas brasileros.

Wow that`s a great question! I have lots of influences in every area, but if I can name someone who has marked my art is Mr. Boris Vallejo, since my teenage years, his art has touched me. And in terms of the digital, I have great respect and admiration towards Brazilian artists.

XC: What other pieces would you want to create?

MAM: En cada área artística tengo varias que quisiera hacer, cuadros por concluir, seguir probando con acuarela , en Zbrush existen tanto artistas de ArtStation que admiro y me encantaría poder hacer fan arts de su obras, creo que se vienen cosas interesantes que podrán ver de mis trabajos futuros, y lo dejo como sorpresa.

I have many pending projects, paintings to finish, I would like to paint more with watercolor. With ZBrush, there are so many ArtStation artists that I admire and I love to be able to make some fan art with their work. I think there are so many interesting thing to come; you will see it in my future work it will be a surprise.

XC: Aside from rendering characters across different pop culture universes and your own amazing concepts, do you also see yourself getting involved in Game Character Design?

MAM: He dejado el diseño de personajes 2D para entrar de lleno en el mundo 3D, gracias a Dios tengo actualmente la oportunidad de colaborar con un gran equipo que desarrolla video juegos, y ese se ha convertido en un grandioso y divertido reto para mí en este momento.

 I have left 2D character design to be fully-involved with 3D. Thank God now I have the opportunity to work with a great video game team and that`s actually my fun challenge.

XC: If you weren’t doing what you’re doing now, what do you think you’d be specializing in instead?

MAM: Probablemente me hubiera dedicado de lleno al arte tradicional, la pintura figurativa y fantástica, quien sabe y sería maestro de artes, creo que ese habría sido el camino, de lo que estoy seguro es que amo lo que hago y no cambiaría mi actual desempeño.

Probably I would be fully-dedicated to traditional art, figurative and fantastic paint. But who knows, maybe I would be an Art teacher, I think that would have been the way, what I am certain is that I love what I do and I wouldn´t change it for anything in the world.

XC: What advice or message can you give young aspirants wanting to enter the craft/industry?

MAM: En algunas charlas en las que he tenido la oportunidad de estar, muchos jóvenes me preguntan cuál es la fórmula para aprender más rápido la herramienta, a veces la respuesta no ha sido la que ellos esperan, porque no estamos brindando fórmulas matemáticas que tienen un procedimiento específico.

Siempre recomiendo llevarse el programa a casa, empezar a jugar en la herramienta, el internet es una ayuda inmensa porque está llena de información.

 Si algo los mueve no esperen a salir de la mejor universidad o tener al mejor maestro para aprenderlo, si quieren dibujar cojan un lápiz y un papel a diario y pónganse a dibujar siempre, si quieren aprender un programa pierdan el miedo a la autoeducación, sean curiosos venzan el miedo a lo desconocido porque lo que hay más allá es realmente fascinante 😀

In some workshops that I have had the opportunity to be part of, many young people ask me the key to learning the program faster. Sometimes, the answer wasn`t what they expected, we are not giving mathematic formulas that have a specific process. I always recommend taking the program home, playing with it, and the internet is always a big help in terms of information

If something moves you, don`t wait to be out of college or to have a better teacher to learn it from. If you want to draw, then pick pencil and paper and do it daily—draw always. If you want to learn a program, don`t be afraid of self-education. Be curious, step to the unknown because what’s beyond is fascinating.

Mr. Mendoza, you are a true inspiration! Xeno Creatives wishes you all the success in your craft!

Want to see more of Mr. Marco Antonio Mendoza’s works? Click here!

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