December 6th, 2016
Marek Denko - pragmatic family guy, an artist picturing nostalgia, and mature CG professional
Today CGTrader team is talking with Marek Denko - a 3D artist born in Slovak Republic in 1980, and currently enjoying the life of a small town close to Prague in Czech Republic. Since 2007, Marek is running a design studio NoEmotion, which has worked on projects like Fallout 4 Power Armor and Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six Siege among others.
Both personal and client work made by Marek Denko and his team are always state of the art example of computer graphics, so we are extremely happy to have Marek sharing his experience with CGTrader community.
Please, give a short background of yourself for those, who haven’t seen any interviews with you before: how did you start with 3D, what do you create the most and whether those changed over the years.
My name is Marek Denko. I was born in Slovak Republic in 1980. Currently I live in small town near Prague in Czech republic. I'm running a studio NoEmotion.
I started playing around with 8-bit Atari computer in early 90's. Later on when I had my first PC I had a chance to play with 3D Studio R4. I was amazed by computer graphics and never let it go.
Due to several reasons I never studied any computer science or computer graphics but there was plenty of time to play with it in my free time.
How would you describe your CG style?
Hard to say, maybe it would take another person to describe it. I do what I do because I want it - not because it has some style. I'd like to think of my artworks to be more or less realistic with some smell of nostalgia in them.
What is the artwork you are the most proud of yourself? Which one took the longest?
Looking back at my works... Each of them brings lot of personal memories and takes me back to the periods of my life when I was creating them. It's hard to pick one.
Longest one was probably Rooftops, Rockets and Adventures Beyond. It took good 2 years from the first polygons to the end. There were periods of time I didn't have a chance or will to touch it because of big projects I worked on during the period.
Making of Rooftops, Rockets and Adventures Beyond
Is there any piece of yours that you don’t like, but others seem to praise it?
Probably not. If I don't like my work I won't finish and publish it.
Is there a one piece that in some way changed your perception of who you are as an artist, or the one you attribute your most success to?
There are few that changed my career.
First of all - Female Anatomy Study. I was studying at the university at the time and it was my first work which made it on CGtalk front page and CGChoice gallery. From that time I had to set my bar pretty high to be able to catch up with the success of this image.
Female Anatomy Study, 2004
Next big one was Street of Memories, which had also quite a big response. And of course, Rooftops, Rockets and Adventures Beyond mentioned before.
Street of Memories, 2006
Rooftops, Rockets and Adventures Beyond, 2013
Where do you seek inspiration?
We are looking around all the time and sometime it just pops up. The thing is that we need to be able to recognize it. I don't really try to force it. It just hits me from time to time. I'd love to know, too.
What drives your motivation to learn and improve in your work? How do you challenge yourself in your work?
I think those times are far beyond of what I can do these days. The biggest challenge is to find some solid 3 hours of uninterrupted free time, move my ass and actually finish something.
In early days forums and CG galleries were the main drivers. As a man grows older, he has less and less time. Family, kids are around and there are other responsibilities that eat your time.
You live and work in Czech republic, but CG market is very global, what do you think are the main benefits of this global community? What are the drawbacks?
I was lucky enough to create quite a solid client base around the world so I welcome global community. But as in every other easily outsourceable business it has all the usual pros and cons.
Do styles or topics developed differ across geographical regions?
From what I've seen surely architecture, sexy girls, mechs, all kind of monsters and nice cars are parts of every region portfolios.
What is your prediction for CG and 3D modeling markets in the coming 5 years?
I hope it will go well. I hope there will still be some freedom on the market. I didn't like what car companies started to do years back.
What do you think of 3D marketplaces such as CGTrader? Do you think 3D artists can make living only freelancing? What is still missing in this ecosystem or how it should improve?
3D marketplaces are great help. Deadlines are sometimes very short, so having an option which can save lots of time, energy and money is very good. I know a lot of freelancing guys so I would say it’s still a good option. I'm not too much in this ecosystem so I can't tell. For what I'm doing it works so far.
Do you have any memorable or funny stories from the clients you’ve been working with?
If we meet on some party I'd love to tell you!
Final thoughts and any advice for fellow designers?
Work hard and enjoy what you do!
Tell us what you think!