Born in Germany and raised in the Netherlands, Olaf Hajek studied graphic art and illustration in Düsseldorf and began his professional career in Amsterdam as a free-lance illustrator.
In his paintings he explores the relationships between imagination and reality, drawing on a rich variety of sources to construct an always colorful, often surreal and slightly off-kilter world. Interested in nature, he loves to paint flowers: “Flowers are such symbolic elements for me. They can be such a strong symbol for birth and death, for beauty and poison and the diversity of nature. I try to combine them with animals and insects and thorns and water: a whole circle of life!”
Introducing two Swatch creations Hajek designed:
The watch Flowerhead takes up a fascinating series of Olaf Hajek’s recent paintings, vibrant portraits of black women. The dial presents the face of a black woman clothed in a lush tangle of plants and flowers. The idea, said the artist, was to create an image of luxury, opulence, and beauty which has nothing to do with wealth and prosperity. The beautiful black woman “is wearing the idea of the whole of nature on her head—the beauty as well as the birth and death and the evanescence.”
The second of Olaf Hajek’s two works for Swatch is Nature Man. Like its partner, the work features a face on the dial, this time a formal portrait of a blue-green man gazing into the distance from a surreal landscape dense with spiky plants and brightly colored flowers. On both timepieces, curling leaves that appear to float above the faces serve as hour and minute hands.
A further example of Olaf Hajek’s unmistakable style takes the form of the special packaging designed by the artist to hold the two new Swatch Art Specials. The box lid is a multi-colored print presenting a fascinating world of plants and flowers. Half-hidden in the undergrowth is a bird whose feathers are a natural disguise, concealing and revealing at once. Like all of Olaf Hajek’s work, the new pieces camouflage a wealth of detail and surprising discoveries, well worth the time they take to uncover.