Jason Hahn Interview
Tell us a little about yourself:
I was born in Maryland but have been in Arizona since I was about 5 years old. When I was around 9 or 10, I was watching my brother draw on his school books and was fascinated with it. I’m not sure what clicked but I was instantly obsessed with art. I spent all my younger years learning to draw. I loved sci-fi and fantasy art, movie poster art and comic books. I even worked in a tattoo studio at one point, but could not get used to the environment.
When I’m not creating art, I’m busy running a Marble and Granite business or spending time with my family.
When I was in my 20’s, I used to create comic books and flash art in a tattoo shop. Also just created fantasy images for fun.
I resisted for a while but once I learned how to use the program, I was hooked.
When did you first start using Photoshop and how did you learn?
In 2002, my father-in-law was an editor for a company retouching and color correcting images for catalogs, books and magazines. He gave me a copy of Photoshop to download and said I should try and use it to digitally paint my images. I resisted for a while but once I learned how to use the program, I was hooked. For the next 10 years, I played with it on and off. Not until 2008 when my wife started to model, did I really start using Photoshop on a regular basis. That’s also when I picked up my first camera. Again, It has been an on and off learning process for me.
What inspires you?
Oh Gosh! I get my inspiration from so many artists. Conceptual artists, comic books and Movie posters, but anything fantasy, sci-fi or surreal catches my attention.
Well, when I was younger, I loved comic book artists like Todd McFarlane, Greg Capullo and painters like Boris Vallejo. Now, I’m inspired by Glen Melling, Brandon Caywood, Robert Cornelius, Renee Robyn, Adrian Sommeling, Calvin Hollywood, Glyn Dewis to name a few.
I’m learning that the more research and planning of an image, the better it will turn out though.
What is your typical process when creating a piece of art?
I usually have a concept in mind, but almost always evolves while creating it. I know how I want the final image to look but the image evolves from the type of stock photos used to complete the image. I’m learning that the more research and planning of an image, the better it will turn out though. If you shoot the subject in the right pose and have the lighting where you want it and you have a background already prepared or at least have the background elements ready, the final image comes to together quicker and ultimately will have a story or an emotion that attracts peoples liking to it.
I think most digital artists would love to shoot all elements of their images, but it’s just not possible for most.
Where do you get your source materials from?
This is a question that comes up often. As a Photographer Photoshop or manipulation artist, People often wonder if I’m using my own Photography or using someone else’s images. Of course I use someone else’s images. I use backgrounds shot half way around the world and use elements such as fire, particles, background textures that I couldn’t possibly have time or want to shoot. That’s why they have stock photo sites. I think most digital artists would love to shoot all elements of their images, but it’s just not possible for most.
What is your favorite Photoshop trick/method at the moment?
I don’t have a particular trick. I use almost all the tools of Photoshop to complete my images. I do like to use the puppet warp, warp, perspective and any of the manipulation tools though. I also use liquefy a lot as well.
…the images I’m most proud of are the images that have my kids in them.
The plugin I use the most is Google Nik Color Efex Pro and Analog Efex. The thing is, I don’t create my images completely nondestructive, Once I start using these plugins, I’ve committed to the image and not looking to go back for correction for a particular element. I create my images for me so I typically don’t need to go back and make revisions unless I want to. When I am contracted for someone else on an image, I try to make sure I work as nondestructive as possible though. They almost always have at least one or two revisions.
What work of your own are you most proud of?
Honestly, I don’t really have one image that I’m most proud of. Usually its the most recent image created. If I had to give an answer to that, I would have to say, the images I’m most proud of are the images that have my kids in them. They may not be my best quality work, but they will be the ones talked about 20 years from now.
I just finished up a few projects for JWalk Entertainment. I created a series of promotional movie posters that included Imperium which is a sci-fi TV series and Invisible Intelligence which is another series about Harriet Tubman. I am scheduling a couple more photo shoots this month but cannot say much about them at the moment.
What would you tell someone who is starting out making Photoshop art?
I would say “Enjoy the learning process”. It can be difficult, and discouraging at times, but so much fun too. You have to create for yourself first. If you are trying to please other people or compare your images to other artists all the time, you will never enjoy it. I always create an image with the intention of just bettering my own skill level. I try new tools or techniques and different plugins and filters just to see what I end up with. I always say, you can never be another artist, but they can never be you.