Legato :: Olaf Hajek
le•ga•to :: in a manner that is smooth and connected
by Jenny Doh
Olaf Hajek lives in Berlin. A big city filled with beauty that ignites his imagination as an illustrator and painter. He describes himself as complex, which is how many describe his paintings, where he masterfully packs the space with layers of imagery and color. "With my images, people actually have to enjoy the process of delving in and decrypting them," he says.
JD :: The faces in your art ... they are gripping. They grip me. How do you do that?
OH :: I am happy that you see it that way, but ist hard to say how I do it. I don´t have a real explanation for it. I just try to combine realistic and simple, nearly naive elements with each other.
JD :: I love the diversity of the people in your paintings. Some have lighter skin. Some have darker skin. And some feel like bright and sunny while others feel darker and cloudy. Tell me about how you think diversity of culture relates to your work. And also your thoughts about what you may have observed in different cultures that you've been around.
JD :: I'd really love to know what your process is like when you paint. I know it sounds like an elementary question ... I'm interested in anything you might feel like sharing ... like what comes first in terms of your process ... or maybe what the studio feels like when you're creating ... and maybe what is going on in your mind when you are in the process.
JD :: For an artist of your stature and experience, do you still feel that experimentation is part of what you pursue or do you feel that it's more about refining what you know?
JD :: I know that you were born in a small German town. Where in Germany do you currently live? For those of us who haven't been, describe your town to us. And tell me ... do you fit in?
JD :: Do you feel that you are a complex person, much like the way some regard your paintings?
OH :: Of course I am..who isn´t?
- protest :: commitment
- tattoo :: skin illustration
- cigarettes :: smoke
- Germany :: native country
- New York :: energy
- California :: sun and size
- beard :: nature man
- dress :: fashion
- skin :: canvas
- mask :: mystery
- caterpillar :: butterfly
- snow :: winter
- coral :: jewelry
- Kurt Cobain :: rock´n´roll
- Playboy magazine :: client
- human :: dignity
- divine :: heavenly
JD :: Tell me about the piece or pieces that you are working on right now. What stage are they in? What do you plan to do next to them?
OH :: I am working of a series of 5 Antoinette figures. It´s a personal commission from a collector in Israel. I am working on the 4th painting right now. My next big thing will be a new monograph about my work at the GESTALTEN Publishers. It will come out in June and there will be a book launch and a show in berlin in July. I will work on a new gallery show in berlin for autumn this year and have a new solo show in South Africa next spring.
OH :: Winter.
JD :: Is there anything in life that you feel ought to happen slower than it does?
OH :: Sunshine.
All images shown here are provided courtesy of Olaf Hajek.
To learn more, visit www.olafhajek.com.