Interviewing Idols: Gonzalo Miranda

Madrid based Art Director & 3D artist, Gonzalo Miranda, creates a whole range of incredible artwork utilising his skillset of set design, environmental design, and even VR modelling. His works vary within different branches of design with a deep knowledge of space and lighting, usually used in advertising, product and interior design. I’ve been chatting with him for years now, and he’s certainly been a huge inspiration for me.

Gonzalo has been on my Instagram feed for as long as I can remember. I think he’s pretty much become a permanent feature when I look for inspiration online now, and his work always just makes me want to get designing! His work is already known well in the community, but with the new popularity of NFT’s — his work has been shared all over!

Working with clients like Facebook, Oakley, Microsoft, Google and many more, and studios like Man Vs Machine, Tendril, Serial Cut, The Mill etc... But with the level of his work, it’s no wonder these studios want to work with him. There’s one thing for me that typically sets apart designers, and that's their website. I cannot get over how good his website looks, and I’m sure that's been a key thing for clients when they have a look at his work!

Why does he inspire me?

As I mentioned earlier, I’ve been following Gonzalo’s work for years now. As a former product design student, seeing his initial work on Instagram back in 2018 was a big influence for me. The still life work too! It was so clean and still looks like something that would be just as (if not even more) popular if he posted it now.

One project that really stood out to me was his interior design project about Japan — something I cannot believe is now 2 years old! The project was a set of illustrations that were influenced by his adventures walking around Japan. Mixing architecture, set design, art direction and environmental design, Gonzalo created a series of images that just stood out instantly (they even inspired a design I put on my Instagram back in the day!)

More and more of the work I seem to drift towards is interior and art direction based. I think it might be the product design part of my brain shining through. Gonzalo’s work always stands out to me. He has so much work and a huge skillset, and it’s a dream going through his projects. Bright colours, realistic designs full of texture and clean renders sum up Gonzalo’s work pretty well. Because it’s all damn good!

Another thing I love is Gonzalo’s website. You can tell a great designer instantly by their website, and Gonzalo’s is outstanding. It’s playful, displays the work well and is just a joy to search through!

The Interview part

I was lucky enough to be able to ask Gonzalo some questions about himself and his career. I hope this’ll give you a little bit of an insight into his life, personal and commercial as well as his design process. It’s not every day you get to interview an idol!

1. Who are you, and how did you start your journey into the world of design?

My name is Gonzalo Miranda, better known as “Gonzzzalo”. I’m an Art Director & 3D artist working as a free-lancer, mainly focusing on composition, light & materials. I don’t have a fixed style, I tend to create whatever I feel like! I do get bored quite easily with the typical trends, but with that being said the things I enjoy the most are set design, environment creation and when I’m not so lazy, some VR modelling. Apart from 3D, I’m a huge videogame nerd and lately, I’ve been trying some concept art stuff!

I started in the design world at 16. By this time I was mainly creating banners for my online friend’s youtube channels. This is where I discovered Cinema 4D, my program of choice currently. I took a break from that as I literally had no idea about what I was doing and simply forgot it was a thing. After dropping out of Law School, I started studying Graphic Design and then I met my friend Davide Pastor, who was learning Cinema 4D at the time and something inside of me just made me want to really want back into it!

We learnt together for a year or so until I was lucky enough to land an internship at the amazing studio Serial Cut. I met a lot of amazing people and friends during my time there, they taught me basically everything I know, especially the 3D master, Nicolás Canellas, who runs Spot Studio. I felt like I needed a change and left the studio open to working in another one. Soon after this, freelance requests started to hit my inbox and here we are now.

2. Could you give some insight into your creative process? (As much detail or as little as you’d like e.g. Do you sketch ideas or go straight to digital media?)

I usually sketch a lot after gathering some references. Lately, I haven’t been doing much of that, and I typically will go directly into C4D and start messing around with the ideas I have on my mind. I’m really trying to learn Houdini at the moment, so I jump inside when I have the time and see what I can do with the little I know. It’s great fun, even if it’s hard to learn, but sometimes magic happens and you can’t help not spending hours on it!

3. Where do you get your inspiration for projects? Who inspires you!

Obviously, we are surrounded by tons of talented artists which I admire and they inspire me greatly. I try not to get inspiration from other 3D artists and look for other fields of design and arts which could be implemented in 3D. As I said before, I’m currently trying some Concept Art, so I spend a few hours every day just looking at simple concept arts. It’s helpful looking at designers outside of your main field because you take different viewpoints and see the artwork in a different way compared to the original artist!

4. What are some of the largest challenges you had to overcome during your artmaking process?

Learning anything is a difficult journey. Many times in you career you’ll find yourself with a lot of amazing ideas but lacking the technical abilities to make them real.

I struggled a lot with this problem when I was starting and it still happens from time to time. The way I deal with this is by having an always improving mentality. You should just keep going, eventually, everything will make sense and your art will improve.

5. Do you have any big designs/projects in the works or anything that excites you about the future of your career?

Not really, I’m just experimenting with my own work. I don’t have much time nowadays to do personal work so I rather keep exploring different kinds of images rather than focusing on a project as I know that’ll consume my mind and my time. Personal projects are really important and I think all designers should be doing them if they can!

6. I remember asking you about your ‘Japan 2019’ project when you released it! Absolutely love it! Is it one of your favourites?

Definitely! I loved how those images turned out. I was really happy with the end result, especially the interior shots as I was starting with that style of design. It meant a lot to me accomplishing that quality of images. I still look at it and really like what I made (even though I can’t believe it was that long ago!)

7. I know you’ve worked with the Microsoft Design team a few times — how has it been to work with the people there?

I worked with Tendril on those projects so I spoke little with the Microsoft Team directly. All I can say is they give a lot of freedom and positive feedback, that’s why I think all the Microsoft projects we’ve been seeing lately are so good. The designers are all great, and the teams work together really well. It was a great experience having the chance to work with the people there!

8. I love the work you did with Brave London for Orluna! You created so much content and it must have been a fun project to work on!

Oh no, it was not fun at all haha!! We created more than 260 product shots, 6 videos, 5 interiors. It was exhausting. The interiors part was really fun though, and I had all the freedom in the world! I worked closely with the Creative Director of Brave, Oli Geal, to make them happen and also Michael Guerrero, who was the producer and made everything super smooth.

(Charlie here! I love this project, It’s amazing how much content there is for the project and you can tell that the artists are just next level!)

9. You’ve got so much work! What do you like to do in your time away from creating?

Lately? Oh, I’ve been playing Zelda again! In my free time, you’ll see me sitting in front of my pc trying new stuff. It’s annoying but when you don’t have much time to do your own personal work, it’s hard to forget about the computer and just do something else.

Buuut, when I do leave my pc, I really enjoy cooking, drawing and tattooing.

(Charlie: I’ll link Gonzallo’s other Instagram pages below, his tattoo’s are great!)

10. I know I’ve asked you many times before, but do you have any advice for students trying to get into the world of 3D and Digital Design?

Don’t rush it. Excellent work doesn’t come until you have a lot of experience. Just do your own thing and enjoy it.

The main thing I'd do is ask a lot (that’s a really positive thing about social media, you can go ahead and ask anyone about some tips if you need some! Be sure to hit my Instagram or Twitter if you are starting and need some help or guidance, I’ll be happy to help)

I also recommend that you try to learn at your own pace. Don’t feel anxious about people with 10 years of experience doing amazing work and compare to your own work. It's just a matter of time. I sucked BIG time when I was starting, I gave up many times but in the end, I kept going. There’s no magic or secret behind learning anything, it’s just a matter of time.

11. Thank you for taking part in this for me, Gonzalo! For the people who will read this interview, what are your social media links for people to follow your future work?

Thanks for having me Charlie, you are going to kick everyone's asses in 3D sometime soon, I know that for sure.

(Thank you, Gonzalo, you’re a legend!!)

Here’s my Website, Instagram and Youtube!

If you haven’t seen his work before, I urge you to go check it out! Gonzalo is an amazing designer and an absolutely lovely person to chat to! He was one of the people who inspired me to pursue 3D design, have they inspired you to check it out?

Want to see more from me? Follow me on Medium, or my Instagram :)

https://www.instagram.com/c.ellis3d

Trying to make my way in the world of design. Nottingham Trent Graphic Design Student.