These days, it can be difficult to remember that artistic illustration is not the product of software programs like Adobe Photoshop and Adobe Illustrator—art is produced by human hands. In the case of the September/October 2012 issue of Orion, those hands belong to Olaf Hajek, whose painting “Mind Flowers” illustrates the magazine’s front cover.
“I am a painter and I don’t work digitally,” he recently told an interviewer. “This is one of the biggest pleasures—to feel the paint, touch the surface, and work on it. The only digital thing is to scan the final work and send it to the client.”
Hajek has been working as an artist for nearly eighteen years; in that time, he has developed a personal style infused with (as he likes to put it) “a folkloristic naivety and freshness.” It’s a style that brings to mind magical realism, with its explosion of color, and layering and twisting of form.
“I love to use natural elements—like flowers, insects, or birds—as my own symbols to create ideas of life and death, fertility or sexuality. I try to combine modern, contemporary elements, in addition to folkloric and old elements,” he says. “Mindflowers is the free translation of a very nice German word, geistesblüten. I wanted to create a painting that shows the power of fiction, the power of the mind and literature. The tree grows out of the book and surprises with the diverse flowers and fruits of life.”
“Mind Flowers,” which was produced without the aid of digital tools, is painted with acrylic on wood.
See more of Olaf Hajek’s work at www.olafhajek.de. His monograph Black Antoinette was published in August.