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ART & COMMERCE
“Black Antoinette,” the second monograph by Berlin’s internationally active illustrator Olaf Hajek, is a cornucopia of beauties and beasts, flora and fantasy, and multicultural crossovers and contradictions.
The book also spans the worlds of art and commerce, Hajek’s signature “magical realism” as much in evidence in his advertising and editorial assignments for the likes of Montblanc, Universal Music, Design Hotels, the New York Times Book Review, Rolling Stone and Vogue Japan, as in his growing oeuvre for art galleries and collectors. The 144-page, full-color tome from Berlin publishing house Gestalten launches July 5 during Berlin Fashion Week.
As for the title’s Black Antoinettes, Hajek, a frequent visitor to South Africa who also had his first gallery show there, sees them as “symbols of power and beauty, and the pride of African culture.”
On the commercial front, Hajek’s projects also include a fabric pattern he designed for the Swedish brand Minimarket, wallpapers for Vienna’s 25 Hour Hotel and an animation of his images for TV Globo Brazil.
“All my commercial work is influenced by my artwork, because I do show my art to clients, prompting ideas,” he noted.
If there is a split between the worlds, he suggested it has more to do with size than style. “Plus, my art is more painterly and focused on a different composition. In today’s world of illustration, I’m one of the only people still working as a painter and not digitally,” he added. “It’s a question of generation. I wasn’t educated on the computer. But having original work helps me take the step into doing more art.”
— Melissa Drier
Black Antoinette, Gestalten Space, Sophie-Gips-Höfe
21 Sophienstrasse, 10178 (Mitte)
Hours: Opening July 5, 6 to 9 p.m.
July 5 to Aug. 5: Sunday to Friday, noon to 8 p.m.; Saturday, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.