Crossing global boundaries.

Artist Olaf Hajek juxtaposes a wealth of different cultures in evocative, painted patterns and picturesque scenes that tell magical stories – and takes his pick from entire cultures and continents.
Text: Sissy Dille
Photos: Pablo Ruiz Holst
  • Crossing global boundaries.

  • A born and bred artist.

    Berlin-based artist Olaf Hajek knew right from the start what he wanted to do with his life. Just like his illustrative oeuvre, his artistic career, too, sounds like a veritable fairytale: after early drawings and a degree in graphic design at colleges in London and New York he moved on to his current love and profession – painting and illustration – and a new abode in Amsterdam. Not the easiest way to make a living? Perhaps. But Hajek was not to be deterred and simply spread the word and subsequently, his works, to all corners of the globe, soon making a name for himself on the international art, advertising and editorial scene.

    The artist studied graphic design in New York and London.
    The artist studied graphic design in New York and London.

    Vibrant and prolific parallel realms.

    Naturally, success did not come entirely by chance. After all, the hypnotic quality of his paintings – from commissioned illustrations to independent works of art – is simply outstanding. Whether flora and fauna, mythical creatures or opulent riots of colour: Whatever populates his images is itself quickly overshadowed by the sheer brilliance of Hajek’s stunning details. Somewhere between an image’s rich colours, meticulous brush strokes and multi-layered appropriations, we can smell the luscious scent of his blossoms.

    Strong colours and meticulous brush strokes – works by Olaf Hajek.
    Strong colours and meticulous brush strokes – works by Olaf Hajek.

    In this spirit, Hajek takes inspiration from botanic illustrations; Indian miniatures, African art or Southern American legends to craft intense and vigorous parallel realms oscillating between graphic art and illustration, baroque and Modernity to rebalance the precarious relationship between wishful thinking and down-to-earth reality – a daring visual tightrope walk that asks the viewer to keep a respectful distance, and then delve right into this overwhelming cornucopia. The resulting luminous intensity, this lively ethnic mix with plenty of references to travel, books, films, art and – most of all – foreign cultures, stirs up a singular, incomparable aesthetic. Applied to primed wooden panels or thick cardboard, all of Hajek’s influences and citations morph into collaged fantasy realms firmly rooted in concrete references or commissioned topics.

    Thanks to this precise, yet exuberant and uncompromising vision Olaf Hajek counts among the world’s most sought-after and successful illustrators.

    Hajek counts among the world’s most sought-after and successful illustrators.
    Hajek counts among the world’s most sought-after and successful illustrators.

    Now living and working in Berlin, the Schleswig-Holstein-born artist looks beyond the airy atmosphere of his home/studio to glean inspiration from all those familiar, yet alien aspects this world still has to offer.

    For 8 million Mercedes-Benz Facebook fans.

    For his latest piece of art, a celebration of the milestone “8 Million Mercedes-Benz Facebook Fans”, we borrow his talent to blend fact and fiction: This time around, the page’s fans serve as a multi-faceted blueprint and starting point for Olaf Hajek’s imaginative talent.

    The above image gallery will give you a glimpse of the artwork’s creation and into Olaf Hajek’s charming studio.

    And if you would like to take a closer – and more in-depth – look at Olaf Hajek’s colour-drenched oeuvre, please check out his high-quality monographs “Flowerhead” and “Black Antoinette”.

    More on the artist.

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