Who are you and what do you do?
My name is Emi Haze and I live in northeast Italy. I began painting and drawing when I attended an art focused high school. Then I discovered digital art and I connected this great passion of mine with technology. I received my degree in graphic design and commercial art at the Design Institute Palladio in Verona. Now I’m a freelance digital artist and illustrator.
My school was fundamental for my education and learning the software necessary for developing my work, but above all the passion that I have for this job has allowed me to achieve excellent results.
Photoshop gave me the chance to combine drawing, painting and photography together to make my dreams and ideas come true. Nowadays there are no limits to what we want to create.
In my first works I focused on a graphic style based on construction and deconstruction of the human body using various tools and graphic effects that render it almost a sketch. In my recent works I tried to merge the human body with nature or rather with the four elements of fire, air, water and earth, and even with a fifth esoteric element: the Aristotelian ether. This includes all the others, the essence of celestial bodies, eternal and unchangeable in comparison with the earth as a place of change. 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.
I collaborated with the agency Goodby, Silverstein & Partners of San Francisco to be a 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, which was featured during the Academy Award Oscars 2015 ceremony and was also used in other media as part of an international campaign. Today 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 in this big event was a huge honor 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. My work “Cosmogony Reloaded” was also used on adobe.com to present the new features of Adobe Creative Cloud 2015.
A few months ago I worked on a cover of the Italian edition of “Vanishing Girls”, the latest book by the New York Times bestselling author Lauren Oliver. Planning and designing the cover of a book is always a big challenge, as you tend to represent with one image the content and the soul of the book. 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.
Currently, I’m working on a secret project for Penguin Random House of New York to create the cover jacket of a new young adult novel. I’m also working on the cover jacket of the Italian edition of the book Panic by the American author Lauren Oliver (also known for Vanishing Girl), which will be published by Safarà Editore for the first time in Italy. The success of this novel is so huge in the United States that Universal Pictures has already bought its movie rights.
What is your favorite medium?
Photoshop is my main working software. Without it, my work would only exist in my mind or they wouldn’t appear as they are today. I use an iMac with an external display in my studio, but my favorite tool is the 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.
Watercolor, 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 painting, acrylic paints, washes of watercolor created by hand on textured papers, which I have built up over time and scanned at a high dpi ready to be used during the digital process.
Where do you draw your inspiration from?
I love Impressionism for the use of color and Surrealism for the subjects. 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 a few of them would be reductive, because all the art world is the fundamental source of inspiration in the creative process, and I’m referring not only to pictorial art but also to music, filmmaking, photography and fashion.
In my opinion everything in every moment has an artistic side, including the aesthetics of things and the people around me. For me, everything–images, textures, sounds, fragrances–has its own importance, so my creativity is constantly stimulated.
Music is one of the keys 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 the right inspiration mood to develop a new work.
What is your creative process?
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 watercolor stains. Before working into digital art and illustration I began 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, and in the splashes of watercolor or ink. So, today 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 in a single image hundreds of Photoshop layers with many graphic elements and textures. All the blend modes, layer masks, and adjustment 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 the strictly digital one.
Selecting parts of different photo images, I try to blend with the double exposure technique the human body with nature and its four elements: fire, air, water and earth. To find the subjects of my works I collaborate with professional photographers, and other times I use stock image 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.
Is there a specific theme/message/emotion you aim to evoke?
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 sensitivity have the predominant role. A harmony that binds man and nature in a perfect way, which unfortunately nowadays seems to be a utopia.
What motivates you to continue to create?
To innovate and create something that has never been seen before, something original; be the exception.
When you encounter creative blocks, what do you do to overcome them?
I think it’s common to get them in every artistic process. However, I have to say they are more frequent in the beginning, when you are still in an experimental phase and you are looking for your own personal style. Afterwards, everything becomes more natural and fluid. Any small block is overcome the very moment in which you develop your creation.
What are your thoughts on the future of art?
Digital art is nowadays becoming increasingly important and it will exponentially grow in the future. The potentials offered by technology are endless and they can perfectly fuse with our manual skills. The only limit is our imagination.
What is something you have had to learn on your own that you would like to pass on to the next Creative?
As an artist it is important to promote your artwork and get it seen.
First I have a personal website where I showcase my portfolio in a better way. For many potential clients the artist’s website is still the best way to judge his/her work. I use every social network, especially Facebook and Twitter to promote my artworks and update my fans and followers to all news, publications and much more. But, the most important network for me is Behance. I think it is a very useful platform and a huge community. Every time you publish a project, you’re not just showcasing your work, you’re showing the world a little bit of yourself as a designer, and your presentation reflects this, so give it personality.
Pristine image quality is a must. Make sure that all your images are crisp and at a good size when you post them on Behance. Posting detail shots is always a good idea. Include “the making of”, style frames, explorations, rejected versions, color versions, detailed pics, etc. Your work isn’t just the final image you created…the presentation is everything.