Artist Interview: Ryan Hahn

Ryan Hahn

Baltimore, MD / Los Angeles, CA

Could you tell us a little about the work you create?

Most of my work is made using Illustrator, and almost all of them, in one way or another, are based in a linear and canonical world that I have been crafting since I was little. Much of the illustrations stem from experimentations with different ways of using vectors, along with references to compositions that take advantage of image and text formats.


What is the story behind the work you have up in Vol. 2?

Mamba stemmed from a few personal challenges, such as using layers of very flat and stroked vectors to emulate a sense of depth, and using mostly red and no green to insinuate the greenness of a jungle. In terms if composition, I worked backwards by starting small, first creating each components of the whole piece, and then working out their overall placements. This piece also acted as an opportunity for me to illustrate and establish a character I’ve had envisioned for a while, but didn’t have a good chance to. Mamba is the name of the mechanically enhanced jaguar present in the piece, and next to him is a character named Mukenga, who is a technological pirate that reigns from South Africa.

Stairs of Evolution, in terms of composition, was inspired by a piece of Russian constructivist propaganda by the Stenberg Brothers. The characters are original characters that also fit into the canon of my world, and their presence weigh in on a larger narrative I have established in my story. This piece was a part of a series of explorations of various classic propaganda to utilize their original contexts to create deeper meanings, as new propaganda in my own, future world.

With this piece I am establishing the natural order of the species present in my world, with the mechanical beings created by humans on the very top, humans in the middle, and an invasive alien specie on the very bottom.

What is your preferred medium? What draws you to it?

Currently, my preferred medium is Illustrator due to its vast possibilities and flexibility due to its ability to create both abstract and representative illustrations. Pathfinder and Art boards are awesome too. However, I always count on more traditional mediums like pen and pencil on paper.


Do you have any current/ future projects you’re working on?

So many and not enough time! I definitely intend on continuing my exploration of vectors and various other compositional formats from design and illustration history, contemporary topics and methods, and other techniques that I happen to stumble across through my personal work. Various other more commercial work is always on the way, from hip-hop album covers to commissions!


Your work seems to contain a lot of subject matter about exploration. Is this from a personal sense of curiosity?

Absolutely. As I am relatively new to Illustrator as a medium for illustration (about 2 years), I have been using the blank slate to flesh out as many different approaches to using vectors for art. Most of the methods and techniques are self-found out of a core curiosity for what I can do with this program, which I feel makes it all that much more personal. I think almost every personal piece I’ve made stemmed first from a simple and basic curiosity.


Do you feel like you’re able to explore vicariously through the characters you create?

Totally! I feel that characters are some of the most powerful tools/vehicles of narrative, meaning, and themes as any given character, fictional or not, can be believable through their personalities, motivations, virtues, and vices that we all have as humans. Any vessel with enough relatable characteristics suddenly takes on a familiar form, at which point the creator can build on to make them fresh and exciting. I believe this “device” of sorts allows for so much flexibility yet impact for exploring different manners in which I can reach people and convey ideas.


Do you enjoy posing challenges to yourself through your art?

100%. I always love a good challenge. When creating and making becomes your job, it is quintessentially to keep your life interesting for yourself. Art demands originality, and with it comes a necessity for creative ways to pose a threat against your own ideas and processes. I get inspired by some friendly and creative competition, and very much enjoy being my own biggest rival when it comes to art.

You can check out more of Ryan’s work @theinvisiblehahnd



  • On August 10, 2018

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