Hassan Rahim is one of those rare, enviable talents who can work his own style into seemingly any format, and has been doing just that for years. A 27-year-old, self-taught artist/designer from Los Angeles, Rahim’s stark images and objects have appeared on magazine covers, gallery walls, record sleeves, t-shirts, concert stages, hats, street corners, and, of course, all over the Internet. The Shabazz Projects publishing platform shines a light on his deft curatorial skills, releasing books and more from emerging contemporary artists.
Ghostly couldn’t help but get involved with such an unstoppable and distinctive creative force; to start off, we tapped Rahim for a contribution to our line of tees (now available). The artist has also given us a fantastic flier design for the next Ghostly15 event, held at legendary Berlin club Berghain, which follows the work of Andy Gilmore and Robert Beatty for our Detroit and London events, respectively. Suffice it to say that we’re immersing ourselves into the world of Hassan Rahim, so what better way to dig deeper than to ask the man a few questions about his life and art.
Tell us a bit about your background as an artist and designer.
I downloaded Photoshop when I was 16 to make some skateboard shirts, and graphic design just fell into my lap. Didn’t go to school, didn’t really experience the “post-high school career decision” moment. It was either this or photography that I was really interested in at the time, but cameras are expensive. Fast forward to now, and I have obviously evolved from skateboard shirts. But it all started in the same place.
You use a lot of degraded imagery, pop culture references, and stark contrast in your work. Where do these visual and conceptual interests come from?
I’m interested in reproduction, and the degraded imagery is a consequence of that. I do a lot of collage, a process which I like to compare to music production; sampling stems from other songs to make a new song. Mastering aside, the final product will almost certainly have a degraded quality.
How does designing for someone like Jay-Z compare to, say, designing for Delroy Edwards’ L.A. Club Resource label?
Pretty similar in a lot of ways, actually. Both projects happened to have a theme that made sense for me to work on. The Jay project was through Willo Perron, a rather low-key guy who has done great stuff in the music world, so he has the leverage to get very creative with big artists. Delroy is a natural. His ideas are always perfect, and I just jump on board to help whenever it makes sense.
What was the inspiration for your Ghostly t-shirt?
The inspiration was a 24-hour stint at Berghain last year, eight of them being a Par Grindvik set that I’d have to say was the best live DJ set I’ve heard. It’s a magical place.