Olaf Hajek

Olaf Hajek is a renowned illustrator and fine artist from Germany. His work is inspired by mythology and the natural world, with influences ranging from Frida Kahlo to Boticelli. He has collaborated with Karl Lagerfeld, Pirelli, Swatch, Forbes, LA Times and now Yuyo – each of the heads that appear on Yuyo packs was hand painted by Olaf.

Hi Olaf, so lovely to share a yerba mate with you. So, Great Escapers is all about us getting to know people who have escaped the ordinary, and what inspires and moves them. Can you tell us about one of the most jaw-dropping things/landscapes/views you’ve ever seen?

I am in love with South Africa...for me, it’s a second home. I feel an amazing energy from the nature and the landscape. It somehow has a "déjà vu" with its Mediterranean flair, but with African characteristics. I always get inspired! But I also love the dreamlike landscape of Joshua Tree in California.

Yerba mate is a social drink, traditionally consumed in a group of people who talk, laugh and share ideas while passing the mate in a circle. Who would you like to be in your dream mate circle?

To meet amazing personalities is the greatest gift. It’s a bit sad that the most individual and a bit eccentric people have nearly all disappeared. So my dream group would be a nice dinner with Peggy Guggenheim, Iris Apfel, David Hockney and Maggie Smith.

Are you a risk taker, or do you like it to play it safe?

I am certainly a combination of both. Maybe it’s about my star sign; Sagittarius with ascendant Virgo... somehow a schizophrenic combination. 

Would you say you are led by your head or your heart?

I love to listen to my intuition and I have a lot of empathy, but my head has to finish the work.

Who do you think truly escapes the ordinary / or has escaped the ordinary? It could be an artist or performer, a political leader, someone you know...

I would not be able to pick out one special person. I always admired personalities who are able to live without boundaries and follow their passion without losing their social conscience.

What’s your perfect great escape?

Riding my bike through the green countryside outside of Berlin.