Emi Haze is an artist and graphic designer based in Monfalcone, Italy. He combines his artistic abilities with digital technology to create these soulful and mesmerizing digital portraits. Each his work is closely connected with the elements of nature, which, give birth to quintessential beauty when brought together with elegant human figures. In Emi’s work, the human beings are fused with ethereal substances to evoke senses of mystery, dream, fantasy, and ecstasy.
Emi’s work has been featured in Adobe Photoshop’s 25th Anniversary – ‘Dream On’. Besides scores of print and online features, his works have been selected for book cover and other promotional and editorial materials. Emi is here with us to tell about his sheer artistic talent, workflow, and preferences:
Hello Emi. Please tell us about yourself:
I live in the north-east of Italy. I began with painting and drawing when I attended the art high school. Then I discovered the digital art and I connected this great passion of mine with technology, taking a degree in graphic design and commercial art at the Design Institute Palladio in Verona. Now I’m a freelance digital artist and illustrator.
Do you have an artist statement?
In my works the human being melts with nature and its four elements to give birth to my inner world, ethereal and imaginative, hanging in balance between reality, dream and fantasy, in which color and sensibility have the predominant role. A harmony that binds man and nature in a perfect way and which unfortunately nowadays seems to be a utopia. Piles of tree branches, clouds forming hair, faces that melt with air and sky, human silhouettes that arise from expanses of earth and roots… this is my visionary world.
You have developed a signature style of your own. How did this style evolve?
Photoshop gave me the chance to combine drawing, painting and photography together to make my dreams and ideas come true. Nowadays there are not limits to what we want to create… the only limit is our imagination.
What is your method of creating a digital illustration and how do you get the best from your models and collaborating photographers?
My work starts from a photo and the first phase is its retouching. Afterwards I digitally import various hand-made elements such as scratches, ink marks, acrylic or water-color stains.
Before working into digital art and illustration I begun with drawing, painting and later graphics. I always loved the gesture and the warmth of the sign in a sketch, in stroke with acrylic or oil color, in the splashes of water-color or ink.
When I start developing an image I try to include my manual skill in the sign and in the use of color digitally importing it into my artwork. I combine hundreds of Photoshop layers with many and many graphic elements and textures in a single image. All the blend modes, layer masks, adjustments layers I use make the starting image less digital and more similar to a painting or a drawing.
This phase of manual elaboration is then merged with a strictly digital one. By selecting parts of different photo images, I try to blend the human body with nature and its four elements, fire, air, water and earth with the double exposure technique.
To find the subjects of my works I collaborate with professional photographers. Sometimes I use stock images sites. In any case it’s always important to have a clear idea of the subject and the pose that I will go to develop in my artwork.
Tell us about the equipment and software you mostly use. Which traditional tools do you use in your work?
Photoshop is my main working software. If it were not there my works wouldn’t have probably been real and would have existed only in my mind, or, at least, they couldn’t have been as they appear today.
I use an iMac with an external display in my studio but my favorite and best tool is Wacom Cintiq. It’s my digital canvas - the place where my ideas come true. Drawing directly on a display makes a more natural and speedier workflow.
Water-color, acrylic paints and ink are some traditional tools that I always combine with my digital artworks. I have a big collection of different brush strokes, ink marks, spray pains, acrylic paints, washes of water-color created by hand on textured papers. I have built these up over time and scan artwork at a high dpi ready to be used during the digital process.
What do you think are the most distinct and challenging aspects of your work?
Innovate and create something that has never been seen before, something original… be the exception. Have your own style that represents yourself and in which you can be identified.
Do you have a favorite work or a project having a great story behind?
Cosmogony Reloaded (see below) is one of my artworks that I think fully represents my style, my world, my sensitivity. In this artwork I wanted to give my representation of the origin of the universe. A girl that comes out and materializes herself from the sky, through a heap of clouds and an explosion of colors.
It is also the work that allowed me to make myself known to the general public because it is on the Adobe Photoshop 25th anniversary “Dream On”.
Tell us about your achievements, awards, clients, and publications, etc:
I have collaborated with the agencies: Goodby, Silverstein & Partners of San Francisco to be part of the Photoshop 25th Anniversary special advertising campaign commissioned by Adobe. They licensed two of my artworks and one of them “Cosmogony Reloaded” is on the Adobe Photoshop 25th anniversary “Dream On”.
Oscars Spot was featured during the Academy Award Oscars 2015 ceremony and was also used in other media as part of an international bigger campaign. It has been watched over 2 million times on YouTube and recently has achieved three awards at Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity 2015; a Graphite Pencil D&AD Award; two AICP Awards and a nomination for Outstanding Commercial at Emmy Awards 2015.
Taking part to this big event is a huge honour and representing my main working tool is a great personal satisfaction. It makes me proud to see my work on all promotional content Adobe is creating for this special 25th anniversary.
A few months ago I worked on the cover design (see below) of the Italian edition of “Vanishing Girls”, the latest book by the New York Times best-seller author Lauren Oliver. Planning and designing the cover of a book is always a big challenge and responsibility as you are supposed to represent the content and the soul of the book in a single image. At the same time it must be intriguing and attractive in order to catch the attention of readers who usually read other genres.
This summer I was approached by Wacom Art Studio of Washington to license two of my artworks “Cosmogony: Origin of the Universe” and “Mnemosine” for the new Wacom Intuos tablets advertising campaign out now.
What are you future plans/projects, ambitions, inspirations etc.?
I’m currently working for many clients and new projects. A few weeks ago was approached by Penguin Random House of New York to create the cover jacket of a new young readers’ novel. The project is still secret so I cannot give the details.
These days I’m working on the cover jacket of the Italian edition of the book “Panic” by the American author Lauren Oliver (also known for “Vanishing Girl” and “Delirium” trilogy), which will be published by Safarà Editore for the first time in Italy. The success of this novel is so huge in the States that the Universal Pictures has already bought its movie rights.
I’m also working on the cover album for an American singer.
I have many ideas to that are to be tested in the future. I’d like to work on different subjects. My style is in constant evolution.
Please share your favorite stuff: artists, photographers, quotes, film, music, etc.:
I love Impressionists for their use of color and Surrealists for their themes. I could name many artists, painters and digital artists that have influenced me, at first in my painting and later in my digital art. Mentioning only few of them wouldn’t be appropriate because all the art world is the fundamental source of inspiration in the creative process, and I’m referring not only to visual art but also to music, film-making, photography and fashion.
In my opinion everything in every moment has an artistic side, the aesthetics of things, people around me too. For me everything has its own importance, images, textures, sounds, fragrances. All these things keep on stimulating my creativity.
Music is one of the key of my creative process. Listening to my favorite artists like Sigur Rós, Radiohead, and Bjork helps me to immerse myself in my creative world and to have a right inspirational mood to delve in a new work.
One of my favorite film is “Drive” directed by Nicolas Winding Refn.
Art does not reproduce what we see; rather it makes us see
Something to say to our readers or aspiring digital artist:
My school was fundamental for my education and learning the software was necessary for the development of my work, but it is the consistency and above all the passion that I have for this job that allowed me to achieve excellent results.
The advice I would give to young artists is to have patience but also be persistent. Have an open mind and try to always inspire your creativity.
All photos © Emi Haze : Website | Behance | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram