The Mastermind Behind The Lens
It was a bold move to say the least. Intricately packing up a few essential belongings, leaving behind friends and family, and transporting yourself to another part of the globe may seem crazy, but not when destiny is calling. Armed with only a handheld camera, this young Panamanian arrived in the concrete jungles of NYC and began to lay the groundwork for photography and cinematography genius. After shooting over 150 album covers, directing 12 music videos and holding posts as an Art Director at Jive Records and Creative Director at the Nu America Agency, this visionary is ready to take himself and his novel organization to the next echelon. Introducing Daniel Hastings and his Atomicus Creative Group.
“My uncle was a photographer, and kind of inspired me to do what I do,” explains the 35-year-old wiz. “But being the son of a Latino family, it was like, ‘you can’t be a photographer seriously, go study engineering’. So off I went to college in New York where I focused on engineering for two years. But when I started taking pictures of musicians, it was like man, I found what I really came here to do.”
And the road has been virtually non-stop since. After his first gig with House of Pain for the Source Magazine in the early 90’s, Daniel has since shot and designed an unprecedented number of album covers for some of the biggest names in the biz, and worked alongside artists as diverse as P. Diddy, Marc Anthony, Jodeci, Wu-Tang, Eminem, KRS One, Jay-Z, Tribe Called Quest and Jeru tha Damaja to name a few. Utilizing his rolodex and personal expertise of cinematography (studied at NYU), the young sage began directing music videos soon after. Bold and cutting edge, his videos mirrored the same originality and intensity found in his photographic work. Hitting heavy rotation on networks like BET and MTV, the innovative videos like ‘Definition’ for Mos Def, solidified Daniel’s stance as a mutli-faceted artist.
“I’ve never had a problem with anyone I’ve worked with,” he says. “I get along with everybody. I think somebody said that once about me, that I bring out the best in people. It’s definitely been a fun ride. If it’s not fun, then why do it?!”
Steadily building an unparalleled reputation through the years as an independent freelance photographer and video director, Daniel made a 360 shift into the corporate side of the industry – rarely heard of before. Honing his business acumen, Daniel served as the Art Director for Jive Records from 2002 – 2005. Dealing with accounts and budgets, commissioning work and seeing a project develop from start to finish; he effortlessly mastered the art of utilizing both sides of his brain. Following several years at Jive, he went on to lead the multicultural advertising and marketing group, Nu America with their corporate clients. It was only a matter of time that the man with no limits established his own imprint.
“I’ve always been the creative type since day one,” he explains. “But it was good to be on the exec side of things as well. I realized that this is something I can do on my own; have a creative boutique so we can service all of the large corporations and agencies with our work.”
Hand-picking every single member of his team, Daniel diligently runs the Atomicus Creative Group today. A refuge for sculptors, graphic designers, story board artists, wardrobe stylists, makeup artists, website designers and any other visual art you can think of, Atomicus is a thriving creative hub with unequalled potential. And with the backing of an inventive, business-savvy legend like Daniel, Atomicus will redefine innovation.
“It’s weird, but the first picture that ever inspired me was of Salvador Dali, called Atomicus Dali,” he says. “And the word atomic has a lot of energy, almost like you’re freezing time and intense energy together – and that is after all what I do.”
Daniel dedicates his work to his two young boys whom he spends every moment possible with during his off time.