Born and living in Little Rock, AR, Trey Trimble is an American artist, photographer, and multi-instrumentalist with a huge talent for bending pixels and creating the most incredible 3D renders.
A self-taught artist, Trey picked up techniques and influences from his experience and personal studies. He has earned recognition thanks to his amazing daily renders, which he consistently posts on his Instagram account. He also works as a freelance graphic designer on many different projects, from logo design to television opening sequences.
Trey’s nostalgic art takes you back in time, as he draws inspiration from 80s and 90s aesthetics, his love for anything 8-bit, vintage items, and apocalyptic atmospheres. He has a lot of interesting things to say about his influences, learning the craft of 3D modelling and daily renders… enjoy!
How did you get into graphic design and 3D modelling? Who are the artists that influenced you the most?
It’s sort of an odd story. I had zero interest or even thought about it growing up. I wanted to be a Wrestler in the WCW, I wanted to be a professional Baseball player, I wanted to be a studio musician, I drew some and sketched my favorite video game characters and cartoon characters, and I wanted to be a photographer.
In the midst of the photography venture, I sometimes would take pictures of myself standing like the main character on a movie poster, then photoshop myself into scenes as best I could haha. Thats how I got my first graphics job. Saw my randomness on Facebook haha.
The graphics part of the job went on, which turned into me wanting to elevate their logos and things into 3D and THAT began my peeking inside the world of 3D rendering.
I would have to say Beeple (Mike Winkelmann) influenced me THE most. I found him through trying to study everything I could in the 3D space. I emailed him asking questions about HOW does he manage to do it every single day and he actually replied to my email super encouraging and relating to creative block, etc. And since that email, I’ve been going at it. That was….I believe in 2016 haha.
How would you describe your design style and what do you think makes you unique in your field?
Hmmmmmm…good question. I would maybe describe as hopelessly nostalgic haha. A lot of my renders are aimed at the 80s/90s and the feelings of a simpler time, when people were way more social in public, we could all relate and talk about whatever was on all of our TVs. The CGI and graphics were bad, there wasn’t a trillion options, and we were happy. haha
When I first started rendering it was SUPER abstract, off the wall things, just experimenting with it all. Then when I started wanting to do more relatable renders, I noticed nobody was really covering the super nostalgic space. So I felt it was perfect because I long for those days again haha.
A lot of artists in my area do the 80s Synthwave imagined theme, which is great and I love those beautiful renders. A lot do the 80s/90s over-consumerism, lost, melancholy, Vaporwave theme, which is also great and I love.
I tend to mix them a bit in my renders, especially with the VHS look and emotional words floating. Also on my end, I tend to throw a lot of throwback gaming from the 90s in my renders, set in 90s bedrooms/living rooms, with gameplay on the box crt tv.
I’ve seen some of my followers render my style, including the VHS and emotional text andddd thats a pretty cool, flattering thing to see.
We know that besides your work as a designer, you are a musician. How do you think your passion for music has influenced your design work and vice versa? And what are the main similarities you have found between graphic projects and music composition?
I’d have to say one thing I’ve noticed or learned would be, they are similar for me, in that I shape and build it as I go. Sort of like a sculptor. It can be a messy blob at first, even after a little bit of working at it and that IS okay. You keep going, smoothing out areas, reshaping this or that, cutting this out, adding this, etc, and end up with something you’re happy with.
Same with song or solo writing, or starting with what I call the black rectangle, which is the blank computer monitor that you are to create art within.
Your use of retro aesthetics conveys a strong sense of nostalgia that resonates with those who grew up in the 90s. What are your sources of inspiration from the past, in music, cinema, and art??
Oh boy, I use my Pinterest boards, I have folders of inspiration on my computer where if I randomly come across a nostalgic image that inspires me, I save it. I have countless Tumblr pages saved, archive.org pages, old video game reference pages. I go to flea markets fairly often.
I have ALL of my original, old, SNES, NES, Gameboy, Sega Genesis, N64, Playstation 1, 2, and 3, Gamecube and their games.
Andddd I still own plenty of old Prima Official Game Guides, Nintendo Powers, and Game Informer Magazines. I pull from any and all things haha. When doing daily renders, you sort of have to 🙂
Your popularity on Instagram led you to some interesting collaborations. Which brands did you like working with them most? And what do you think is your most important work to date?
My very first big job ask would be YSL (Yves Saint Laurent). I got asked to do an 80s, surreal, neon render of a car driving through a city street at night and driving into the Black Opium perfume bottle, which had to be textured, etc by me haha glitter is super tricky to get accurate.
The absolutely biggest and which has been the most important to me would be Sony. My first Sony gig came in 2019 when I got told my art style would fit with Stranger Things 3 promotional pieces. Naturally I said absolutely haha. Since then, with Sony, I’ve gotten to do 2 jobs for ACDC, 1 for Prince, and for Future.
How do you imagine the future of design? And what role do you think artificial intelligence will play in that future?
Good question.. Initially, I thought it was a really neat thing. That it would be super handy for brainstorming ideas and getting some inspiration from anything you could think of. Then it became scary pretty quickly to me haha. It started quickly turning out really good art pieces. It learned really quickly. Also I have a problem with things like Adobe seemingly having an option within settings you have to find and uncheck that has it’s AI learning from how you create art within the software.
So from what I thought would be an amazing asset hastily turned into something that I feel needs to be reigned in ridiculously fast. haha thats my take. And thats with AI in EVERYTHING. Being able to clone a persons voice from a small clip of them talking, then faking a phone call. It’s just too much too fast.
Are you someone who draws inspiration from the environment around you and your daily life, or do you use art as a form of escape?
I do a bit of both. I live in a pretty small town in Arkansas. So I probably mostly use art as an escape, but I also love my area. Not a fan of huge city life haha. But I also will be driving around here and a sunset hitting a landscape just right will inspire a render idea.
Which 3D modelling software do you prefer to use and why?
I use a mix of Cinema4D+Octane Render. I started with C4D because I had access to a small free version to play around with, plus Greyscale Gorilla (Nick Campbell) that I found, had tutorials in C4D. That’s the reason I started with it haha. If I hadn’t had access, I likely would’ve started with Blender, since I couldn’t have afforded the giant lump sum at the time for C4D Studio.
But I’ve learned C4D and absolutely love it and how well it works with Octane. Although I MAY sometimes wish I had learned Redshift since Maxon bought it and it’s now PART of C4D haha, but oh well. Octane has been amazing to me and I’ve no problems.
What is a piece of advice you would give to a young 3D artist who wants to follow your path?
JUST START CREATING. I’d recommend doing Everydays (daily renders) if you can. It’s super, super helpful. Try a new tool and try to make a render using it, then post it publicly. It can absolutely be awful looking. The point is you’re learning, getting used to creating every day which helps your brain push past creative block.
You won’t always feel like rendering something daily, but you just do it anyways. Your hard work WILL pay off. Just know that when the hard days come at you. And with the semi-recent developments in GPU rendering, it’s hard to find an excuse not to render something daily haha.
But go find artists whose work you love and try to replicate their renders. Any effect you want to do, try and solve it YOURSELF first before just searching for a tutorial. It makes a huge difference in learning the software and solving issues. You’ll also find other tools and what different things do along the way for later use.
Practice, practice, practice. It works. You WILL get great. Know that.
What are your plans for the future?
Getting a house haha. I’m moved into a rental when I moved out of my parents house and now my landlord is selling this land as commercial.
In other news, doing more work with Sony. We’re talking Stranger Things again. So that’s definitely a blessing.
I’ve got more plans for my Patreon Producers (patreon.com/treytrimble) to do giveaways of 24×36 posters of my renders, etc.
I’m wanting to vlog some more as well, so people can get to know me and my personality behind the renders haha, if they want. I want my followers to know I’m genuinely glad they’re here with me and my art. It means the absolute world to me.
We hope you enjoyed this interview with 3D artist Trey Trimble as much as we did. We couldn’t recommend more that you go out there and have a look at his work and his daily renders! Check out Trey’s website, Instagram account and Patreon page to see what he’s up to, and we’ll catch you soon with another episode of Indieground interviews!