We catch up with Adobe-featured artist Emi Haze to unearth the secrets behind double exposure and find out how Adobe can help launch a career
If Emi Haze’s work looks familiar to you, it’s really no great surprise. So far, the Italian artist has been featured by Wacom, created two book covers for best-selling author Lauren Oliver, and was even chosen to take part in Adobe’s huge 25th anniversary television commercial. But what are the secrets behind such a distinctive style? We asked Emi how a double exposure image is born.
If you had to describe the atmosphere of your artwork in five words, what would they be?
Ethereal, imaginative, dreamy, colourful, eternal. In my work, the human being melts with nature and its four elements; there’s a balance between reality, dream and fantasy, and colour and sensitivity has a prominent role. There are common themes throughout my work too: tree branches, clouds forming hair, faces that blend with sky, and human silhouettes that rise from Earth. I like art that binds humans and nature.
You’re perhaps best known for double exposure images. What is it that you love most about them?
Bringing together two or more photos creates a coherent image that can be beautiful, nostalgic or unsettling, depending on what photos you use and how you combine them. With double exposure, you can create something really surreal; the reason for using the technique varies from picture to picture, but I find that I can create beautiful and unique work with double exposures.
Can you share your secrets about how you approach creating images like this?
I combine hundreds of Photoshop layers with so many graphic elements and textures. I use blend modes, layer masks and adjustment layers, and the starting image becomes less photographic and more like a painting or drawing. I like selecting different images, such as trees, plants, leaves or clouds, and try to blend them with the double exposure. I love depicting nature and the four elements.
Which tools are key for this process then? And which blend modes are best to use?
I use blend modes all the time, mainly Multiply, Overlay and Soft Light, to form a distinctive look for each photo. Blending allows me to combine different elements in different ways, and it can add colours and shapes that wouldn’t normally look natural enough to appear in that picture. Adjustment layers are another essential tool; for me, colour is absolutely vital to the final artwork, and thanks to colour adjustments such as Curves, Levels, Hue/Saturation and Selective Color, I always have complete control of the colour.
How did it feel being involved in Adobe’s 25th anniversary?
It was a huge honour! I was approached by the agency Goodby, Silverstein & Partners of San Francisco to be part of the Photoshop 25th anniversary special advertising campaign, and they used Cosmogony Reloaded in the Adobe Photoshop 25th anniversary ‘Dream On’ commercial, which was broadcast during the Oscars. It was amazing to see the piece in the whole campaign, but the ad has been watched over 2 million times on YouTube, won three prizes in Cannes and been nominated for an Emmy. I’m so proud to have been a part of something this big.
Your work has clocked up nearly 2,000,000 views on Behance – are you surprised by the reaction?
Yes, it’s awesome. The advert gave me massive visibility. Every day I receive news of publications on websites, blogs and digital art magazines, and I get loads of requests. People are still discovering my work, becoming fans and starting to follow my new works. Behance is a fantastic 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. Presentation is key.
What does the future hold?
I’m very proud to have just created the Italian covers for two books by bestselling author Lauren Oliver. I’m going to be working on the cover of Glitter too, a new, young adult novel by Aprilynne Pike. I have lots of ideas I want to try in the future, though. My style is constantly evolving, too; I hope to work and collaborate with so many different people. Digital art is nowadays becoming increasingly important and it will grow even more in the future. The potential being offered by technology is endless and it can perfectly fuse with manual skills. The only limit is our imagination.