i n t e r v i e w - y o u n g j i n h a h n - a r t w i z
An Interview with Youngjin Hahn - Artwiz
By Greg Sanders, 23rd April 2000
Youngjin Hahn, better known to many as 'Artwiz' is the subject of our first interview. For those of you that do not know him, Youngjin Hahn is one of the best GIMP artists there is; he truely lives up to his nickname. He has worked on several projects, including themes.org; created numerous (and excellent) Blackbox themes; and supplied the community with countless backgrounds, icons and other images.
(ElCoronel) First, thanks for taking the time to talk with us. Having seen your work, I must say your nick, Artwiz, is well chosen. When did you first get into art?
(Artwiz) I first got into art around 1st grade. A good friend of mine, Josh, was quite a cartoonist, and I pretty much started out imitating his work. As far as my nick goes, well, I picked it up when I was 11 or 12. Two of my friends were working on a game, and needed an artist, so I joined up with them. The programmer at the time had the nick "CompWiz", and so logically, I chose "artwiz". I don't like it all that much anymore, but it's stuck so I still go with it.
(ElCoronel) Sounds like you've been an artist for some time. When did you first get into computer art?
(Artwiz) To be honest, I made my first computer art when I was about 8 or 9. Using Microsoft Paint, I made a fish with some oval shapes and polygon drawing things. I also tried some pixel by pixel painting, making tiny characters. I only started getting into serious graphic design about a year ago.
(ElCoronel) Microsoft Paint, wow. So when did you start using the GIMP?
(Artwiz) GIMP was the reason I started using Linux. I installed Linux about 2 years ago, so that's about how long I've been "fiddling" with the GIMP. I've only really been using it seriously for about 8 or 9 months.
(ElCoronel) How did you 'discover' GIMP?
(Artwiz) Well, I found out about its existence somewhere on the old linux.org site. Or maybe it was the E site. Either way, I ended up at gimp.org with a big grin and a "WOW!"
As far as getting a passion for GIMP, I looked through some of tigert's stuff and was completely blown away. But I figured, hey, if he can do it, I can do it too. Of course, that's not exactly how it works =)
(ElCoronel) Well, you're obviously good now, so how does it work? What techniques have you used to increase your knowledge of GIMP and become a better artist?
(Artwiz) Most of it comes from just fooling around. Learn how things work, learn what to use when you want to create a certain effect. A lot of people have asked me about tutorials... I really only used one of tigert's text beveling tutorials and a few simple ones on gimp.org to get me started. And of course, experience is a big factor. One of the things I gained from working with pixel painting years ago is a decent eye for pixels, alignments and so on. Practice makes perfect, as they say.
(ElCoronel) Good advice...so you mentioned you have a passion for GIMP, could you explain more why you developed a passion for it?
(Artwiz) Hard to say. I guess to put it simply - Everyone likes eye candy. That's the whole reason themes.org exists, anyway =)
(ElCoronel) Of course, but why specifically GIMP, why not Photoshop or some other product?
(Artwiz) I use GIMP because it's free. I've never been able to afford any expensive software, such as Photoshop, and shareware programs just don't cut it. The quality of GIMP is just excellent for an open source project, and its stability and performance fits my bill too.
(ElCoronel) So was GIMP your first introduction to the 'Free Software/Open Source world'?
(Artwiz) Yes, in a way. When I was first learning about linux a few years ago before installing it, I was under the impression that it was almost entirely console oriented and that X was a primitive and useless system. GIMP was the evidence to me that this was not true.
(ElCoronel) And now you use GIMP to make Linux even 'prettier'...for those that might not know your work, give us a brief list of some of the things you've done.
(Artwiz) Let's see here... I've made a handful of site themes for Themes.org, logos for friends and various acquaintances, a few web sites, some banner ads, wallpapers, and way, way too many Blackbox themes.
(ElCoronel) Hrm, 95% of all the images used the in the Themes.org layout is more than a 'handful of site themes', but thanks for being modest. =) From what you listed, what are you most proud of?
(Artwiz) Technically, probably some of the wallpapers I've made. I'm really proud of some of my Blackbox themes though, because I've felt that I've stretched its theming capabilities to the limit sometimes.
(ElCoronel) Explain what you mean by 'stretching it's theming capabilities'?
(Artwiz) Well, Blackbox is meant for speed and simplicity, not eye candy themes. For not using pixmaps, the theming system is quite extensive and thorough, but getting certain lighting effects and such is near impossible. So it takes a bit more thought when theming Blackbox than say, making pixmaps for the same idea in gimp.
(ElCoronel) So is there a new project in the works for you?
(Artwiz) Yes, I guess so. A friend of mine, Ryan Butler (rampage), and I have started a sort of community graphics design site. Basically free stuff for free projects. Otherwise, I'm just sort of freelancing right now, doing graphics for Linuxpower and various other projects.
(ElCoronel) Any artists, computer or otherwise that you look up to?
(Artwiz) Way too many. Tigert, Garrett, Bowie and ]d for being so incredibly creative with GIMP. As far as real art goes, I love a lot of the anonymous and unknown watercolor & caligraphy work from China, Korea and Japan. Also, I look up to stuff by Ellen Haffar, my incredible art teacher. And of course, I can't ever forget about Greg Sanders, Mr. Kickass tiles and Sexy-Woman wallpaper images.
(ElCoronel) Heh, I'll never live that down! :-P Guess it's time to wrap this up...I do want to ask the one question that everyone burning to know the answer to: What's your favorite flavor of ice cream?
(Artwiz) Haha, well, I rarely eat ice cream these days... but I must say double mocha-chocolate chip with hot fudge and caramel whipped topping and a sexy cherry on top always makes my day. Really =P
Themes.org would like to thank Artwiz for taking the time out to answer our silly questions. If you need graphics or page designs be sure to stop by his web site, ArtRamp.
o t h e r i n t e r v i e w s
Garrett LeSage - garrett
By Greg Sanders, 2nd May 2000