Artist Spotlight: Kobe Hansen
by Michael Won·
Born, raised, and currently living in North Seattle, Kobe Hansen is a multi-disciplinary creative with years of experience in front of, and behind the camera lens.
In an interview taken with him after a shoot in the Likelihood studio, he described himself in straightforward terms - “I’m just a North Seattle kid who wants to create and capture stories.”
Despite his focus now, Hansen’s entrance into the creative world was actually through music - namely production and engineering. The time Hansen spent in studios with artists is what eventually motivated him to pick up a camera - to capture the unseen and candid moments that happen behind a studio’s closed doors. While his original intent was to become a musical artist himself, Hansen soon discovered the great satisfaction that came from telling someone else’s story through visuals. In our time together, Hansen spoke to the fulfilling moment when he realized that it’s possible to retain his own voice, even as he narrates someone else’s story.
With approximately 6 years of experience in modeling, photography, and videography, it’s clear that Hansen’s work within these different creative mediums are mutually informed by one another. When asked how his work in front of, and behind the camera have helped to shape his creative outlook, he highlights something he refers to as the ‘dance’ between photographers and models. “I really enjoy shoots where photographers give me a sense of control and agency… When they show interest in my own personality and story, and find ways to make that cohesive with their own brand and story. This has made me mindful of how I direct models I’m taking portraiture of. I never want to push someone so far out of their comfort zone that they become uncomfortable, because that inevitably gets communicated to the viewer.”
When asked where he draws inspiration from, Hansen was quick to name a number of peers and local businesses. Harry Clean, Richie Le, Ralph Romeo, Chase Hart, and Paradice Avenue Souf were just a few of the names mentioned. When speaking about Paradice Avenue Souf in particular, Hansen stated, “It [the brand] feels very true to who they are and who their surrounding community is. If you’re someone on the outside looking in, you can really get a feel for South Seattle when interacting and purchasing what they have to offer. This sort of branding and storytelling is really exciting to see, and it inspires me to tell the story of North Seattle - the area I’m from.” Hansen spent additional time sharing about his best friend from high school, Cristian O’Riley, and how he was a huge reason why Hansen picked up the camera in the first place. “He was an immensely talented photographer who had a magical gift of seeing people.”
Most creatives have, in one way or another, reached a point of burnout in their creative journeys. “Why aren’t I getting better? My work is never going to get picked up…” are all thoughts many of us have had to wrestle with. When asked what keeps him coming back to the creative field and committed to the process, Hansen’s answer was simple. “The community keeps me coming back. I’m always inspired and motivated by the diversity of voices and stories that are out there. We live in a time where new ideas are so accessible, and with this, sources of inspiration are endless. We can have conversations with people around the whole world. That’s pretty amazing.”
At the end of the day, Hansen’s motivating factor is simple. “I want to help individuals and artists around me tell their stories - the beauty, the grit, the pain, all of it. As someone who’s always put a high priority on relationships, my ‘why’ has always been to foster a deeper sense of connection, understanding, and love for others.”
Follow Hansen on Instagram @dopekob to keep up with his latest projects. There, you can find a mixture of his photography, videography, and modeling work.