Olaf Hajek is an illustrator from North Germany who creates elegant, colourful work that references folk culture and mythology to transport us to surreal parallel universes. Olaf exhibits regularly in galleries all over the world, and his clients range from Architectural Digest and the Financial Times, to GQ and Rolling Stone.
If there was one piece of art you could feature in, which would it be and why?
I would love to be one of the quirky but poetic characters in the wonderful cosmos of Jockum Nordström. His work is a dreamy journey between worlds and eras with a strong folkloric but contemporary appeal. I am very much inspired by his power of simplicity and his naive but sophisticated composition. He has a very special oeuvre.
Who inspires you and why? An artist, a family member, someone current or historical?
I am inspired by the creative mind who is able to create his own cultural environment and lives his life nurtured by passion, so am therefore enamoured by the work and spirit of Charles Eames. Eames' design is about the natural world, expressed with less than natural materials. I am inspired by his philosophy to believe in the extraordinary power and beauty of the every day object, to be able to minimalise your life but maintain the luxury of good design.
What are your cultural aspirations? What do you still want to see, do and achieve?
As an illustrator I have worked for a lot of amazing clients all over the world, but my goal is to concentrate much more on my art work. My gallery work is becoming more important to me, and I would love to achieve a bigger focus on this personal work. This also means I would love to travel much more, and find new places to create new ideas.
What are your favourite cultural cities in the world and why?
I live in Berlin, which gives me creative freedom, and provides a pleasant lifestyle for a creative person. Berlin is home - but when I need to escape, I find my creative refuge in Cape Town, which has become my second home. I worked there for a couple of months in the Islamic BO KAAP Quarter for my second solo show at Whatiftheworld Gallery and never experienced such a creative and inspirational strength before.
What are you up to at the moment and where can we find it?
I am working on some great international projects in Istanbul and South Korea. I created a pair of limited Artist Watches for SWATCH, and they've invited me to take part at the great charity project, The Water Tower Project in New York. I'm also taking part in a great drawing show at Semjon Contemporary in Berlin.