Over the course of working in the 3DX field, I’ve gotten a chance to know a lot of very talented individuals in the business. I proud to call some of them my mentors, peers, and friends.
One of the first artist that I came across was the insanely talented Mongo Bongo. The very first set I came across of him featured some Avatar like aliens getting it on in the dense jungle.
Mongo Bongo hasn’t been afraid to work in some very risqué genres. Some of which that many other artists won’t even touch. However I believe these unique individual touches that each artist brings to the genre helps to elevate the craft as a whole.
Choosing to stand apart from other artists, Mongo Bongo sells exclusively on his own site, venturing off the well beaten path of selling on some of the larger 3DX stores. Today will we will find out more about this amazing artist and what lays behind mask.
First of all I want to thank you for taking your time to talk to us here at Redrobot3D. It was selling on your store for a while that convinced me to open up my own shop!
Congrats! Running your own store is great! It has its pros and cons, but overall I think it’s worth it (obviously, since I’m still doing it).
Please tell us how you got started in 3DX and where you main inspirations came for your art.
Hmmm… Well ya wee youngins, gather ’round an I’ll tell ye a tale…. I started waaaayyy back in the hoary old days of render pr0n, before all this fancy schmancy IRAY renders and models with decent joint bends! Back when men were men! When our renders looked like shit and we liked it, cuz it was all we had! So…. like 8 years ago I guess? I dunno. A gaming friend told me about Poser, checked it out, and fell in love. Played around for a bit on Renderosity posting some stuff there. Wasn’t long before I discovered ‘Rotica (back in its heyday) and was drawn to the dark side. I think it was the works of Gazukull, Vaesark, and Chimera46 that really got me going into “3DX”.
You characters have developed a really unique look to them. Some would say a more cartoon stylized approached to figure creation. Please tell us how you came about this particular means of developing your models.
Yup definitely cartoony. Heavily inspired by anime. A LOT of people try to go for ultra-realism, but never really appealed to me. Always figured if I wanted it to look real I’d just go watch porn. So I’ve always focused on the stylized look. Think the best compliment I ever got was somebody unsure if a piece I did was a painting or a render. Anyway, when I was starting out, DAZ’s Aiko3 was just being released. And that character pretty much hit all my buttons. Since then tend to use a lot of the Aiko morphs when modeling up characters.
What are some of the difficulties that you come across while modeling and set up?
Modeling and character creation is definitely my favorite part, so that rarely has any problems. I already have a good idea of what props/models I’m going to use, so it tends to go pretty smoothly. And even when I’m missing “just the right part” I find a lot of enjoyment in hunting around for it. That part is great. Scene set-up can be a bit of a bitch though. Getting the lighting right always takes up the most time. Well that’s not true, the posing takes up the most time. But that’s relatively easy straight-forward work. For the lighting though, it’s the repetitive testing that gets me. Argh!
What is your average work day like?
Mmmm…. Depends on how focused I am. When I’m in the zone and producing, typical day is – wake up, grab some coffee, head in to the “studio” (the small office I rent), check out any test renders I had running over night, turn on some music, and then start working on my current set. When I start getting bored with it, take a break, watch a video, work on a different set idea, eat, or whatever (fapping). Just anything to refocus my mind. Then back to work. About 10 hours later head home. Probably get around 6 hours solid work done on a good day. But there are also plenty of days when I’m not in the zone. And on those days I don’t get jack shit done.
Do you primarily write your own stories or have you developed relationships with professional or amateur writers in the past?
Errr…. I think I’ve only had one set with an actual story/writing in it, and that was done by a fan/writer who wanted to commission a set.
You often do some very politically themed image sets in your work. Something that a lot of 3DX artists seem to steer clear of. Do you find that people respond favorably to these types of stories?
Well “often” is a bit of an exaggeration. I’ve done 3 politically themed sets out of… well… a shit-ton of sets. I don’t even know how many sets I’ve done, but pretty sure it’s over 100. “Often”? Pfft! 😛 But yeah, folks seem to like ’em well enough.
What are some of your more favorable type of images to work on?
Favorable type? Hmmm…. Hard to say. It pretty much depends on how well I can maintain my interest with the character/scene. If the process takes too long then I start to lose interest cuz I have the attention span of an over-caffeinated squirrel. All sets/images I work on are favorable… until they start to take too long, at which point I despise them.
How do you avoid burn out after long projects?
I don’t unfortunately. I work until I burnout, and then just start working on something else that will hopefully pique my interest. Chaining from one burnout to another until eventually nothing interests me and then I just stop rendering for a while. Sucks, but it is what it is.
What do you have planned for the future?
There is the game thing I’ve been working on for the past year. And by “working on” I mean learning how to do it. Not actually getting any functional productive work done. Not exactly positively sure what I’m going to do with it, but I do know I’m going to do something. How’s that for a fucking plan? Awesome amirite? Seriously though, it is more thought-out than that. Just focusing more on getting the fundamentals polished, rather than saying “oohhh! oohh! Idea! Idea! Make it into a game!” and not having a clue how to implement it. Basics and Intermediate steps first, then jump into the “great ideas”.
How do you feel about the current flood of artists getting into the 3DX field?
Good I guess. Wasn’t really aware there was a flood of them coming in. But it’s great if they are. Felt like the hobby had been kind of drying up when DAZ decided to fracture the industry. So if more are starting, thumbs up. More people that get into it, the more likely a thriving industry will develop around it again.
How do you set yourself apart?
I dunno. Am I apart? I just do the art I want to do, instead of worrying about what other people want. Figure that’s the only real way to make anything that other people would want to buy. If I’m not genuinely interested in the stuff I do, then why would anybody else be?
Lastly, any words for beginners looking to get into the genre?
Stick with it. Have seen so many people get into the hobby and then eventually quit. Don’t get discouraged. Everybody’s early stuff is terrible. Keep learning, keep developing. That’s the key part – learning. Read or watch every goddamn tutorial you can get your hands on. The more you know, the better your art will be. And don’t just check out render tutorials, get stuff from photography and drawing. That will help with lighting, posing, framing, color balance, understanding how the human body moves, etc. There is a ridiculous amount of stuff to learn. But don’t get discouraged. Keep at it. And do the art for yourself, not for other people. Do it because YOU want to improve it. YOU want to make something you like. Do NOT do it to get appreciation from other people. That’s just going to lead to disappointment. And note, even though I say all this, it’s not like I’ve mastered any of it. Far from. I know I’m still terrible. But I keep at it, keep learning, and hopefully keep improving.
We here at Redrobot3D want to give Mongo Bongo a special thanks for taking time out of his very busy day to talk to us! Mongo Bongo’s been a great inspiration and friend over the past couple of years and we look forward to what he comes up with next!