BECAME PROMINENT BY HIS ILLUSTRATED WORKS FOR WORLD’S FAMOUS BRANDS AND PUBLICATIONS SUCH AS THE NEW YORKER, THE NEW YORK TIMES, AND THE FINANCIAL TIMES, OLAF HAJEK EVOKES ADMIRATION.
The illustrator Olaf Hajek is an award winning artist, who became prominent with his works featured in world-renown publications such as The New Yorker, GQ, The Wall Street Journal, The Financial Times and as well as his works for fashion brands such as Miu Miu, Jimmy Choo, Missoni. Born in North Germany, Rendsburg in 1965 Olaf Hajek explores the opposition between imagination and reality in the context of Western cultures in his work. While creating his artworks he draws inspiration from folkloric elements and the concepts of mythology, religion, history, geography. He chooses to decipher the reality within a frame, which is fictionalized by nourishing on imagination and mystery. While some of his artworks show influence from master artists like Boticelli and Frida Kahlo, some bear traces of 1960s typical advertising banners. The artist creates his works with expressionist style and his work takes full advantage of the color spectrum. He portrays his thoughts by focusing on heroism, hallucinations, fairy tales and figures fictionalized through his theme ‘magic realism.’ We had the opportunity to chat with him in İstanbul and addressed our questions.
One of the mainstreams nourishing your creativity is nature. Would you like to tell us about it?
Flowers are important to me. Sometimes I find myself trying to draw a real flower. A flower is a beautiful symbol, which reflects the conflicts of nature like birth and death, beauty and evil. I am trying to resemble the life cycle by using water, bugs, thorns and animals. I like to combine man and nature in my portrayals and create a unity.
How do you find the will in yourself to create this many works with this many details?
If I did not have passion, I would not be that creative and productive. Being passionate is a blessing to me but being disciplined is also very important. There are many objects inspiring me and this forms a good motivation for success. I am glad to be able to combine my personal style with my various international clients’ wishes.
Your art almost speak for itself and seems like you do this with a great attitude and aesthetic. What affected you while developing this balanced approach?
The power of simplicity and the flaws of beauty always impressed me. I love African and South American Art and Indian miniatures. The union of simplicity and complexity is very intriguing. My approach brings out the balance and artistic influence of this union. I always presume that my illustrations have a dark side. My work might be beautiful but when people look at them for the second time that makes me happier.
Your work awakes different sensations influenced from real world to fantastic elements…
I love to take advantage of symbolic and mystic elements. I like to add some mystery to the figures and story. I get inspired by folk arts; use of materials, simple lines, disproportionality, missing sense of perspective. I cannot help myself to think how it is possible to create this kind of childish art by using complexity and intelligence.
What would you say about contemporary art?
I like contemporary art and as much as my budget and time allow I collect. I make an effort to follow the international art exhibitions and works of young artists. I have purchased an artwork by Nathan Carter the latest.
What excites you in life, except art?
Reading, going to the movies and cooking for my friends after purchasing a cookbook are among the list of my likes.
As a world-renown artist, what would you suggest to young talents who live in their own art dreams?
I think they should face with themselves by setting their passion free to create a style unique to them. This is how to exist in illustration and art world.
His most famous artwork: Black Antoinette
He started to draw one of his most famous artworks Black Antoinette after his visits to Africa. In Black Antoinette, he desires to create the opposite of Marie Antoinette, who belongs to the Western culture. He describes Black Antoinette as a woman who emerges by her sensibility to nature and its surroundings while Marie Antoinette represents money and luxury.