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Marcos Henson is a London-based emerging artist. In his practice, Marcos creates vivacious, absurd characters whom he brings to life using a combination of drawing, computer graphics and 3D animation.
Having studied Illustration at London College of Communications until 2020, Marcos is fascinated by how illustration can be much more than images accompanying a text. “Illustration doesn’t have to be tied to a specific medium or outcome,” he explains, “it is actually about elucidating an idea and animating, literally bringing something to life.”
Currently, Marcos works as a full-time 3D Motion Artist for Stink Studios and describes his unique role as “a blend between motion designer and 3D generalist.” He remains, ultimately, an “artist at heart” who constantly pushes boundaries between the physical and digital realms. He combines a love for historical artefacts, including hand-carved Japanese wooden toys, masks from Burkina Faso and Aztec pottery dogs, with the desire to push the aesthetic boundaries of 3D art in order to create curious creatures.
What draws Marcos to modelling toys and masks is their delightful simplification of natural human and animal features: “I love how such art often takes the features of something very familiar – like the human face – and through the act of simplification makes the familiar something ambiguous and strange. Eyes become wide circular holes, mouths become geometric shapes: I’m fascinated by these visual shortcuts!” Marcos explains.
Marcos’s journey to making 3D art has been exploratory and self-driven. Completing an Art Foundation in France taught him traditional artistic skills and a love with outdoor watercolour painting. Marcos first transitioned to making digital artworks in 2018 when he bought his first iPad and became increasingly comfortable with Photoshop. “The tablet eliminated any friction between drawing and PC,” says Marcos, “I found it totally intuitive because it had the feel of a sketchbook.”
Later on during the pandemic, Marc finally made the switch to 3D: he began to use the 3D modelling software Cinema 4D, which since 2018 has been free of charge and therefore very accessible. There are several steps to making 3D artwork. After modelling the shape using a complex network of polygons, Marcos then picks what materials and lighting to simulate. Finally, the image is computed, or rendered, to incorporate all these different visual qualities of texture, reflectivity, shading, etc. into a coherent 3D model. The better the rendering engine you use, the more life-like or 'real' the lighting and textures will seem. In 2019, Octane released a free version of its unbiased rendering engine for Mac users in 2020, which helped Marcos produce quirky and convincing textures and movement to animate his creations. “I was really lucky that this technology became available, and that I could use professional-grade tools on a budget.”
Marcos’s own imaginary creations are shaggy, bendy, bouncing and strutting. They have a childish irreverence that constantly delights, and convey Marcos’ own fascination with nature and hand-made objects. This year, Marcos exhibited a trio of digital rendering canine characters in the 2022 Mmaison show in his home town Bogota, Colombia. He has also experimented with displaying his artworks using Augmented Reality, in order for his works to pop up in a real gallery space on viewer's screens. Currently, Marcos making a series of renders based on
Unai no tomo (Book of Toys), a catalogue of Japanese toys from the turn of the 20th century, by translating its hand-drawn illustrations into 3D models.
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