We sat down with a cold beer and had a chat with one of the OG’s of the 3DX world, mister Gonzo himself. Here’s what he shared with us!
Frideld: Could you please introduce yourself to those who are just now finding out your art? What would you like us to know about you?
- Gonzo: I’m Gonzo from Gonzo Studios and Sexy3DComics, I’ve been doing this for a pretty long time, like 2003 (I think). Back in the days when Poser 4 was ‘state of the art’. (Obviously, the tech we use now is sooooo much better). I quit my job to do this full time about 6 years ago and am having a great time (best job in the world).
I grew up on the genre of movie back in the early 90’s when they were marketing erotic films to couples, so they told a story, sure the story was normally pretty terrible but it gave some depth to erotica outside the I’m here to fix the washing machine’ stuff that the porn industry was cranking out at the time. So, I guess I always try to tell a story with my artwork and comics, the sex should be there and it’s a large part of the experience. But I always feel there should be a story and some kind of character you at least half care about, rather than just a disposable virtual sex doll.
So yeah, that’s pretty much it for intro… I’ve been doing this pretty since the tech first appeared and tried to tell a story with the art. Although it was a lot of fun back then, I think the only artist I remember from that time who’s still around was Davo. Although I ‘think’ he’s doing more model related stuff than artwork. In fact he was one of the major influences for me getting into this stuff, him and an artist called ‘niceman’ who was doing some pretty cool photoshop work at the time.
F: It must have been such a different scene with 3DX back then! How would you compare those times to the present day in terms of how the 3DX world has evolved?
- G: It was radically different, the internet porn business was just getting started, people were excited about new things and it was a literal ‘golden age’ for the industry. The tech for running a commercial website was crazy complicated at the time – not like today where you can throw up a shopify style site and 10 mins later have a fully functioning store. I looked at it, but it was WAY beyond my technical level.
So I worked for the people who had stores and life was great back then, there were only a few of us doing the more western 3D stuff, facing down the insanely huge Japanese hentai industry, it was a great time.
It was also weird because the internet censorship stuff had not really started, there was really one rule – no kids (which is pretty obvious), but everything else was fair game; it was like the wild west with some really crazy stuff out there.
It was a totally different time, was it better? Honestly, I dunno. It was probably easier to make money back then but we lacked a lot of the 3D tech like dynamic cloth, high res textures and the models were ultra basic. The technology made you work hard for an image compared to today.
I love the tech we have to make artwork right now, but back in the early 2000’s we had a better community feel with the genre existing first on Yahoo groups, then Google groups until we got nuked there and then finally I got pissed off with groups being deleted and started an online forum called monstersandangels where people would share the erotic stories they wrote, their artwork and just chat about the genre – it was great fun. A literal wonderful group of people.
But eventually the interest in online forums started to fade and I was doing other things at the time so that site died a slow death.
Looking back if I was tech savvy I would have been a millionaire by now.
F: What would you say is the one best thing about how things were back then, and the one best thing about how things are now?
- G:Right now the best thing is the new tech without a doubt, every year we see some awesome new thing appear designed to make our life easier making artwork (but always somehow ends up making things 10 times harder). But the quality of the images artists can make now is so much better.
Back then, honestly the best thing was people were fine about paying for porn. Now we have a culture where you can find just about any kind of porn you want at the click of a Google. The thing is that this has to be made by somebody and if they do it for a living they need to earn enough to pay their bills. ‘Back in the day’ that was easy, now it is a constant struggle to make work that people are happy to pay you for. I guess now it’s much much harder to impress people than it was 15 years ago.
Here’s a really good case for paying for porn. I base my content creation on my sales data, I look at a series like Chatterley and people seemed to love that series as sales were super high (and still are). So it ran for 4 episodes to complete the arc and then as I could see people were buying it, I created ‘Chatterley: The Next Generation’.
On the other hand I could take a series like ‘7 Sins’ which started off popular and then after about episode 4 or 5 I saw a dramatic drop off in sales, so I assumed nobody was interested. I was puzzled when I suddenly received more emails asking when the next episode would be out than I had sold actual copies. Then I found out somebody had slapped it on a popular file sharing site where people were loving it. Don’t get me wrong, it’s nice for people to appreciate the work of artists, but at the end of the day we have bills to pay like everyone else.
If you want to see more of your favourite artist or story then support them and you get more. I don’t care if that artist is me (although that would be nice), but seriously you buying our work makes it possible for us to bring you content like that. Obviously it also supports the stores that bring you this content as well… without them we’re all fucked.
We’re living in batshit crazy times, if you support your artists we will do our best to keep you amused while you’re locked in your houses while Corona Virus, Godzillas, Aliens or Sewer Clowns tear up the outside world.
(After that, Gonzo briefly got up and went to get a cold beer.)
- G: It’s a lovely day here, super hot (which is weird for the UK) so cold beer is the way to go for now… Where were we?
F: It’s good to hear you’re enjoying good weather! You were in the middle of a removal, right? But due to the situation you were forced to stay where you are for now
- G: Ha… yeah. CV19 lockdown hit while we were about 80% through relocating from the UK to the Canary Islands. So, right now every day is the dance of ‘where is the (insert really important thing here)’ … ‘oh fuck we already moved it’.
But the good news is there will be a much bigger and better studio out there, so hopefully I’ll be able to bring you more awesome stuff… it can batch render while I’m surfing!
Basically without getting too political we’re leaving the UK because of Brexit (my partner is Czech so this affects her quote a lot) and the fact the UK seems to keep trying to pass some weird porn bans that makes no sense.
The UK porn bans never really have any effect, but I don’t like where it’s heading. They just need to pass one that works – the UK already has really weird porn laws. Which led to a wonderful protest of women ‘face sitting’ in front of the house of commons about 10 years ago because that was deemed ‘illegal’ in art.
F: That’s the good kind of ramble, sir.
So you’re currently split between two locations, but would you like to share with us what your setup will be like when it’s all in one place again? Some of our readers would like to enter the 3DX world as creators or are just getting started, and it’s always good to have some guidance on what hardware and software they might need.
- G: Right now the studio is definitely split, but I hope to finish the move in mid July and get everything back together. The system is a bit of a custom build and the specs are something like (going off memory): X299 motherboard, i7 7700X processor, 256Gb Ram, about 12Tb of HDD, 4x 2080ti GPUs, 1x 600w PSUs (for the board and stuff), 1x 1200w PSU for the GPUs.
This all sits in a mining rack, covered in black mesh to stop my cat from fucking with it. It looks 100% Cyberpunk meets Mad Max
Software I use, Daz Studio exclusively now, I don’t even have Poser installed.
I use HDDs and not SSD’s mainly because after so long my asset libraries are massive – like 4Tb I think and it’s just not practical to have it on a SDD. But that does have stuff that harks back to the era of pre Vict 1.
F: So yeah, the world is crazy nowadays and we don’t know what’s coming.
- G: My bet is Sewer Clowns
F: Except that there is this totally neat new scifi 3DX series called Venus Rising! Would you tell us more about it?
- G: Venus Rising is a project I am hoping to get out in the near future. I’m a HUGE fan of the Barbarella comics from the 60’s and the more recent update from a few years ago. Also, things like Firefly, Cowboy Bebop and a bunch of other stuff. So I wanted to write a comic where each episode will be standalone but also fit into a wider storytelling narrative. So you could read Ep4 without having read the others. But if you read the whole thing it tells a continuing story.
Right now Episode one is written, the idea is to make something that is both sexy, funny and serious.
The thing that is holding everything up is I left something I REALLY need to finish it on a hard drive in Tenerife, so you can blame lockdown for any delays.
If you liked the 1969 film Barbarella, or things like Firefly, Killjoys or Cowboy Bebop you should like this one, there has been a lot of work poured into it.
F: And we’re looking forward to it! In the meantime, what new releases and continuations on current stories are you planning to put out there?
- G: Right now I’m working on Blackmaled: Amy Pt3, that should be out early July; Chatterley: TNG Pt3 will be out at the end of July. I am getting various requests for the Kendra series, so I will probably finish that one up. I’ll probably finish ‘7 Sins’ and release it as a completed bundle, the series is old but deserves a conclusion after I kinda rage quit on it 18 months ago.
Also, I have been mulling over the idea of ‘THEM’ this was an erotic horror comic based around a really fucked up circus I did about a year ago and I started ‘Series 2’ but something stopped me from making Ep2, I can’t really explain why but I know how to move the story forward, I have everything ready but every time I try and put it together, something happens to stop it… I’m not saying the project is cursed. But… fuck it that project is cursed… it had kinky psycho clowns for gods sake.
Maybe when I get the new studio up and running I will shake the curse and get the project moving again. It’s a project I would like to continue because I loved the look, feel and craziness of it.
At the end of the day I will write and artwork what people are happy to pay for, of they have any requests they can hit me up on twitter @studiosgonzo.
F: Where else can they find you to see your art and support you?
- G: Twitter @studiosgonzo is the best place to catch me for the random things I am working in or bits of art I do just for the hell of it.
F: And finally, for the 3DX artists and aspiring artists that are reading this interview, especially those that are getting started in the medium, what piece of advice would you give them after all these years of gathering such valuable experience?
- G: Advice to aspiring 3DX artists? I’m a grumpy artist who’s been doing this for WAY too long so probably something like ‘GET OFF MY LAWN!’
But seriously, don’t worry too much about what other people are doing, if everyone is doing dick girls and you don’t like that then no problem. If you want to do kinky clowns, gun wielding cheerleaders, men on men or even something batshit crazy that nobody has even thought of yet… I dunno, a comic about a flying penis that goes on wacky adventures, do that.
At the end of the day remember that one of the most successful film franchises of all time started by some crazy person saying… ‘I have an idea… what if we made a film about a tornado that fires sharks at people’. My advice is in this genre you either go large or you go home, there are so many artists out there making generic dick-girl stuff (I’ve been guilty of this from time to time). But every major success I have had had involved a crazy idea… ‘let’s set an erotic comic in a demonic circus with crazy clowns’ or ‘you know what nobodies done yet… MUPPET SEX!’ (yeah, I did that, it was called ‘The Puppet show’ and yes, it sold much much better than you would expect).
Go big, go crazy, fuck the rules* and do what the hell you want… if YOU like it there will be a bunch of other people out there who will also like it and if you can create your own niche then that is fucking awesome!*
Obviously don’t fuck legal rules as that will land you in a whole heap of trouble.
F: That’s great advice that applies to all forms of art! Thank you for your words and for your contribution to the medium. Is there anything else you’d like to say?
- G: Final words…
Just for people to keep it weird. We live in a world where things are put into cookie cutter groups where things are supposed to conform to a standard (porn is no different). Feel free to break the mould and do your thing, maybe people will like it, maybe not – and that’s fine. Every major success I have had has started with a really weird idea.
F: That’s a great thought to go out on. Thank you for your time, it was a pleasure talking with you!
- G: You too.