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I recently discovered the work of Dutch artist Mattijn Franssen. I must admit, I did a double take on his amazing photomontage work. Photomontage is the technique of making a composite of several different pictures with a photo editing software. It is commonly used by Photoshop users but few people can create such stunning imagery as Mattijn does. He creates this amazing fantasy world where he, and his cat, are the protagonists. It may be this human element that makes his work so unique. I was blown away by his imagination and talent and I keep going back to some of his images to discover new interesting details. He not only learned the technique on his own, it is only one of his many talents. He is also a painter, a drawing artist, a musician and song writer. I interviewed him recently for the dPS readers. I hope you enjoy his work as much as I did. You can learn more about Marttijn Franssen by visiting his website.
Is your background in photography? No, my background is oil painting and drawing.
What made you decide to do photomontages? I started using the camera as a tool to help set up compositions for possible paintings. I liked the result so much that I haven’t painted much since then. A friend got me a digital camera and I started taking pictures of everything.
How do you work from concept to creation? Sometimes I start working from an idea, I make a little sketch and then go out to find the necessary photos. Other times I take photos of an object, a tower for example, and then build a world around it.
Do you work with Photoshop exclusively? For the photomontages, yes.
Once you are in the digital darkroom, how long does it take to create the final image? It can take a few hours or a few days depending on the number of pictures and the complexity of the montage.
How did you learn the technique? I learned the technique on my own. I had worked with layers for animations I had made with Flash. I did a lot of experimenting and got better at it over the years.
You and your cat are the protagonists in most of your creations, what prompted you to do that? My cat and I are in all my personal work. It’s like a trademark. Also, I like the idea of being able to visit these worlds and experience these adventures myself. I often put my cat on a montage the way she is when I take the pictures unless I need something specific.
Who are the artists, visual or other, that inspire you the most? I’m inspired by movie makers like David lynch, Michel Gondry and Terry Gilliam painters like Breughel and Willink
Digital Photography School readers will want to know what photo gear you use. I shoot with an Olympus SP-800UZ
What is your next project? I’m showing my work in various galleries. I am also working on short photo animation projects, it’s basically animating photomontages and I’m learning how to create 3d animations
What do you see yourself doing in 5 or 10 years? I would like to do something with film or animation. I may still make photomontages once in a while.