The composite art of Jason Hahn
Jason Hahn is a photographer and digital artist living in Phoenix Arizona.
In his own words “[I’ve been there] for most of my life, with my wife and three sons. I operate a family owned Marble and Granite company for a living in north Phoenix, but that doesn’t stop me from immersing myself into my passion for digital art and photography when I find the time.
I started out as a pencil artist first before photography. Drawing and painting was something I did as a kid and never stopped loving, but after I got married and started to have kids, I had to put the pencil down. Around 2002-2003, I received a copy of Photoshop from my father in-law. I dabbled with it for a while and used it to digitally paint some of my old comic book drawings, but having young children, I just didn’t have time for it.
It wasn’t until 2009 that I got back into Photoshop because my wife became a fitness model and competitor. I bought my first camera and started to take pictures of my wife and edited them to help her to build a modeling portfolio.”
DIYP: Who are your influences?
JH: My Original influences were some of the great comic book artists such as Todd McFarlane, Greg Capullo and Jim Lee to name a few. As for Photography influences, it would definitely have to start with Joel Grimes. Once I saw some of the composites he was doing, I was blown away, not to mention, he only lives a few minutes from me. I was able to go to his workshops and learn from him in person. Then I started to research other Photographers, compositors and digital artists. That’s how I came across, Tim Tadder, Adrian Sommeling, Calvin Hollywood, Glyn Dewis, Renee Robyn, Clinton Lofthouse and many others.
DIYP: Some of your images have multiple composited elements, on average how long does an image take to complete?
JH: My composites can have more than 100 layers if I build the entire background from scratch and add in extra elements such as clothing and accessories on top of the models. Most of my images take an average of 4 to 5 hours, but I have worked on some that took days to complete.
DIYP: How long did it take you to evolve your own signature look?
JH: When I look at my images side by side on my website, It doesn’t look like I have a signature style to me. Then when I talk to people, They’ll say they recognized the image as mine when it showed up on their Facebook or Instagram feed. That surprises me because I don’t feel I have created a signature style yet. I think I’m still pretty new to this art and continue to evolve as an artist.
DIYP: How important is Photoshop in your workflow. Does your work rely on it or could you still create your images without it?
JH: Photoshop is the most important tool for me and I wouldn’t be able to create anything close to my images without it. And Honestly, I wouldn’t even want to continue as a photographer if I didn’t have Photoshop.
DIYP: Do you shoot your own images or do you use stock?
JH: I do shoot my own images of models and backgrounds but I use more stock pictures to create my composites mostly because I don’t have the time to do photoshoots. I also, don’t get out of Arizona much so pictures of the desert landscape can get old.
DIYP: With the rise of Photoshop, and most people these days having access to it, do you think it is harder to stand out from the crowd?
JH: I do think it is harder to stand out from the crowd with all the digital software and the growing industry of photography, but I believe if you are always worried about standing out from everyone, you never will. You have to just enjoy the creation process and love your own work. Once you forget about trying to stand out or be better than someone else, You’ll be the one standing out from the crowd.
DIYP: What would be your best piece of advice to people just starting to use Photoshop for the first time?
JH: My best advice for anyone starting out with Photoshop would be to learn the tools, one by one. Really take time to play around with each tool until you understand what it’s capable of and how to use it. I went years avoiding certain tools either out of fear or just felt I just didn’t need them for my work. Once I learned them, I realized the creative possibilities were endless.
DIYP: Where would you like to see yourself in 10 years time?
JH: In 10 years, I’d like to see myself still passionate about creating images. That is all!