The urban environment fascinates me. I love the everyday objects- buildings, power lines, cars, train tracks- for their complexity and function. We co-exist with them, yet take them for granted and they go unnoticed. We interact with these objects everyday, but overlook the role they play in defining the city’s appearance. This idea inspires much of my artwork. To create these pieces, I shoot large format digital photographs and bring them together in a digital environment. Each collage takes the individual objects out of their normal context and places them into one that more clearly expresses the beauty of the urban landscape’s form, color and structure.
Uncharted Territory: A Foreword on Haastyle Digital Collage
by Nate Winter
As a culture we are fascinated by the notion of life beyond the human gaze. Since the days of a Zen koan about an unseen tree falling in the woods, we have pondered the state of the world outside the human context in which we know it. Today films, television, and literature expose us to the likes of toys, dinosaur fossils, wax statues, and other objects coming alive to pursue their own autonomous motivations right before our eyes. While engaging, many of these representations are limited by their failure to see past a human-centric view of the world. The result is the personification of animals, objects, and nature with unabashedly human traits such as physical gestures, verbal communication, and facial expressions—showing us a version of the world remarkably similar to the one we already know.
The idea that drives this Haastyle digital collage collection is the expression of a truly original perspective on the world around us. It is in this way that the Haastyle work succeeds where others have failed. Nick Haas’ art undeniably represents the urban environment, but gives it life through a uniquely non-human focus. Rather than infuse architecture, vehicles, and roadways with human traits to make their animation more accessible, this collection takes a divergent route, opting to express life using the city’s own visual language. The art’s industrious scenes echo with the foreshadowing of Asimov, Bradbury, and Kurzweil about a world so mechanized and automatic that its human characters are scarcely an afterthought, if relevant at all.
It is this treatment that creates the foundation for Haas’ original context in which the city is free to move, emote, and appear as it wishes. If ever the goal of visual art was the encouragement to perceive the world around us in a new way, Haas strikes directly at the heart of this urge. And following that urge is our own gaze: drawn closer by the intrigue of visuals so vividly illogical, and yet hauntingly, seductively familiar.