Daz Artist Interview Series: Marshian’s 10th Anniversary

a collage of artwork by PA Marshian

All of us at Daz 3D would like to congratulate Jay Marsh, also known as Marshian, for 10 years of creating 3D content with us. To celebrate this momentous milestone, we interviewed Jay so you can learn more about the artist behind the stunning sci-fi, light, and nature-inspired products.

And if you haven’t come across Marshian products in the Daz shop, take a look at his artist store! For a limited time, you can get up to 56% OFF Select Marshian Items.

The Interview

Let’s start with the basics. How did you learn about Daz 3D?

I met an artist at a Stargate convention who was selling her Daz 3D renders as prints. When I visited the Daz 3D website for the first time, I was impressed by the amount and variety of content.

We’re glad we caught your attention all those years ago. How did you pick your artist name? 

It’s derived from my last name and a play on being from Mars.

How did you get into design, art, and 3D modeling? 

I remember being into art at a very young age — my parents are artists and encouraged it. When I graduated from Ringling School of Art, I did sci-fi illustration, CD covers, corporate photography, body painting, light sculptures, and murals and eventually followed my parents’ lead with graphic design. 

I got into 3D work when I met my wife and was inspired by her yoga practice to make yoga paintings. Daz Studio was my choice to pose, light, and render figures for my painting references. 

a cool-toned acrylic painting by Jay Marsh

It seems that you’ve done just about everything! Where do you get your inspiration when designing a product?

I draw a lot and frequently envision new objects in my head. I only have to close my eyes and I see images. My daydreams and visualizations keep the door open to new ideas. I also have several Pinterest boards and will occasionally get ideas from Instagram. My love of sci-fi definitely inspires my style.

And speaking of your style, how would you describe it?

For my painting and the 3D renders for my product promos, I would describe it as kinetic, flowing, light glowing from inside, vibrant colors, and lots of curves. I like to focus on weather, atmospheric effects, lighting, and the dramatic chaos of nature stuff.

So what does your artistic process look like?

When an idea hits me, I start sketching either in a sketchbook with black paper or in VR using Google Tilt Brush. I look for references online or create my own with Daz Studio. I dig for product ideas that are unique and try to lean the product towards a utility or tool for Daz Studio. The last steps are a back and forth between creation and refinement, watching out for scope creep along the way. 

a sci-fi render by Marshian

It’s always interesting to hear how other artists approach their work. Is there an artist or style that inspires you?

I have always loved the Art Nouveau style, and my current favorite artist is Julius Horsthuis. I also really enjoy the work of Ben Conallin

Both are phenomenal — thank you for sharing! When you sit down to design a product, what’s the most difficult part?

Trying to find what the majority of customers are interested in while I’m trying to create unique products within my skill set. Around 2012, when I started creating content for Daz 3D, I felt like I could wake up and create just about anything as long as it met Daz 3D quality standards. But now, I am flooded with so many ideas that it can be challenging to narrow them down and develop those that will be most successful and well-received. I’m working on refining my time management to be as productive as I can. 

From working with so many different artists, we can assure you that you’re not the only one. And on the flip side, what’s the product you had the most fun creating and why?

Tornado of the Four Elements was the most fun to work on. By then, I was getting a feel for the amazing Iray surfaces, my modeling skills had evolved, and I just love all the curves.

a render of a hand reaching out of a water vortex by Marshian

It’s such a versatile product too! How has your work changed over the last 10 years?

As my skill set has evolved and technology has changed, I can create a wider variety of products that render more realistically. Switching from using an iMac to a PC has enabled me to be quicker and more efficient with product development too. 

And what should we expect from you in the future?

I have dozens of special projects in various stages of completion and plan to focus on unique tools, shaders, elements of nature, and lighting. I’ve also enjoyed working with Jack Tomalin on products for Daz+ members.

We can’t wait to see what else you bring to the Daz shop! Now, what’s something we might not notice or don’t know about your products?

Most of my products start with a pencil drawing or drawing in VR with Google Tilt Brush. My acrylic paintings and 3D products start very similarly. 

Oh, I also don’t cut any corners on my 3D products. I test them thoroughly myself when creating promo images and do my best to make sure they are stable in almost any environment and in any light conditions.

a sculpture of a sun with a face by Jay Marsh

Those are both great insights into your work. How do you know when a product is finished?

When the Validator script shows no errors and I’m nearing my deadline goals for a project.

You’re definitely thorough! What challenges have you overcome as you’ve developed as an artist?

It hasn’t been easy, but with a lot of dedication and hard work, I have taught myself how to create art in a 3D world. Previously, I was primarily an acrylic painter, and taking my passion from the canvas to the screen has been a revelation. It can be challenging to temper my ideas with creating products that will also sell well. It’s a process that I am always refining. 

We’ve enjoyed seeing your transformation over the years. And for those who would like to follow your other artistic endeavors as well, where else can we see your artwork, products, and other work? 

You can go to my portfolio, Facebook, and Instagram.

There’s also my pendulum painting and my interview for the Local Artist Guild.

Thank you! The Local Artist Guild interview is awesome to watch. Now, what advice would you give to someone who wants to become a PA? 

If you want to get into this kind of work, you’ll have to really love it in order to break through the blocks toward learning new skills. Join the Daz 3D forum community and Facebook groups. I started using Daz Studio in 2012 and frequently posted what I was working on. A current Daz artist noticed what I was doing and suggested I try to become a PA. So that’s when I reached out and it’s my main source of income now. Work hard to create promos of your work by checking out other Daz artists.

a warm-toned acrylic painting by Jay Marsh

That’s solid advice! Now, on a less formal note, what do you like to do when you’re not making awesome products or renders?

My wife and I explore restaurants and like to cook together. I ride a unicycle, paint, and hang out with a local artist guild. I’m also really enjoying painting in virtual reality with Google Tilt Brush.

And what advice would you give your younger self?

I know there are a lot of questions that you don’t know to ask. Follow your dreams is a bit vague, so I’d remind myself that you can make something work if you really love it enough. If you don’t love it or are doing it for someone else, the obstacles can weigh you down.

When you were younger, what did you want to be when you grew up?

I always wanted to be a successful artist with traditional materials (acrylic, color pencils, etc.). 

I imagined I’d like to work on movies and TV sets, but I find that working from home on 3D content is a much better fit for me. There is more freedom and less commitment. 

a mural created by Jay Marsh

So you really haven’t deviated too far from your childhood dream! What are some fun facts the Daz community would be surprised to learn about you?

My history is mostly working with traditional art materials, sculpting, and photography. I’ve painted with my unicycle before by pouring paint over the wheel and riding around on canvas.

I also love working with music playing. My favorite bands are Ott, Caravan Palace, Ozric Tentacles, and Devin Townsend. 

What’s your spirit animal?

I am the spirit animal most of the time, it is me, and from time to time, I become human to interact with the world.

Haha I think we all can relate to that in some way or another. And last of all, you can choose one superpower — what is it and why?

Telekinesis or moving things with your mind. What an incredible way to create new art!

That would be awesome! Jay, thank you so much for your time, and we’re glad to know you better. Thank you for an incredible 10 years — we can’t wait to see what you come up with next!

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