(by Grace Haynes) Olaf Hajek’s work has always played an inspirational role in my own work. His incredible usage of color, composition, African themed subject matter and ability to make amazing work out of acrylic paint has taken the Illustration industry by storm. I knew that if I was going to Berlin, there is no way I could leave without visiting his studio.
I emailed Olaf Hajek as soon as I found out I was going to Berlin. He was so nice in his email, and I couldn’t wait to meet him in person. I knew his visit would be the highlight of my trip, and an inspiration to me as an Illustrator. Olaf’s studio was in quite a nice spot with a large window. The spot was small, but just enough room to have a place for his books, desk, and most importantly his paintings. He had paintings of all different sizes ornamented around the room, and little cool toys placed on top of his shelves that showed his personality and style.
Olaf was very energetic, friendly and eager to show us his amazing work when my classmate Serena and I first met him. He showed us such a wide range from finished pieces, to paintings in progress, commissions etc. He even had plenty of books published with his style. He has such an abundant amount of work, and you could really see how much blood, sweat and tears went into making his art that gained the reputation he has today. We were even lucky enough to see some of the large pastel paintings in progress for his upcoming show in South Africa.
I made sure to ask a ton of questions out of pure curiosity, and yearning to know about the life of a successful Illustrator and how to be one myself. I knew this was a rare opportunity and I wanted to take advantage of every second of my visit. As the trip came to an end we hugged and waved good-bye to Olaf. I am very satisfied and inspired from my trip, and Olaf has even taken the time to give me advice on my personal work as we still stay in contact. He is an awesome guy and very talented Illustrator, and one of the highlights of my trip was being able to visit his studio. It was a wonderful time indeed.