Born in Montreal, Canada, de Hahn moved with his family to Vienna, Austria at a young age, and at nine to Switzerland. Eventually he trained as an architect in Lausanne, Switzerland, completing an M. Arch before moving to New York City. When he was invited to join the faculty of architecture at the University of Kentucky, he discovered this region of the country and the vernacular art form called Folk Art. Fast-forward twenty years, and a move to Virginia via California, and an unexpected fall storm covered his downtown Christiansburg lawn with a variety of tree limbs of different dimensions and sizes. De Hahn’s attention was drawn to a 13-foot-long branch. The form demanded attention and he decided to transform this amorphous form into a reptile and give it a new life through color and pattern. His first folk art snake was born.