Olaf what is your earliest memory of you drawing or painting, how did you get into drawing/painting, can you tell us something about how it all started for you?
I was already drawing and painting as a child…I really loved drawing animals and spent a lot of time doing this as a child. At school I visited some drawing classes, but it was good luck that the teacher was not so strict and academic, he was more interested in letting us create a wonderful image, instead of taking too much care about perspective and proportions…which was the best drawing lesson ever!
What techniques do you like using?
I am a painter and use acrylic or gouache on wood
What inspires you?
The world, nature, people, design, movies….I can find inspiration in a lot of things!
You use lot’s plants, flowers, animals and insects in your illustrations? What meaning do they have for you?
I don´t use them to document nature…but I think nature is free and has its own spirit, 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.
What is a face, a body to you, how do you feel about it?
A face is important to create a special feeling and atmosphere, even if its style is completely reduced. I love to play with the contradiction between a realistic appearance and the reduced and simple idea of the human face. The body is never too much in the focus of my work! I like to change the proportions of the body!
What do you need to communicate through your art?
It’s my idea of beauty and my idea of my own world.
Do you use dreams in your work?
I can´t say this for sure, but the subconscious is certainly something which gets into my paintings.
Your illustrations have a spiritual feel to them, how do you feel about spirituality?
I feel that I am a spiritual person without following any roads or rules…it’s all in the air!
What is art to you?
A wonderful impression of my own soul and deepest ideas about beauty.
Can you name some of the people who inspire you?
I am inspired by a lot of people, but more from different cultures and art
I get an adventurous vibe form your work, travelling to far away places, different cultures…Do you like travelling?
I love travelling, but most of my travels are kind of mind travels, where I put together all the different ideas and elements of the different cultures.
I love to travel to South Africa and get inspired by big cities too.
What is the most beautiful place you have been to?
I feel at home in Cape Town, because of the most magical light and soul.
What/who influenced your work most would you say?
I was always impressed by American folk art, African and South American art, Indian miniatures and outsider artists. I love the imperfection of beauty!
What is the best setting for you to work in at a mental, spiritual and physical level?
I love the studio where I work in Berlin, but I am often kind of bipolar, so of course my work is dependent from my mental level…..but it helps sometimes to find a balance!
Was there anyone in your life that you would call a teacher/guru that opened your eyes somehow?
Like I said in the beginning…one of my early drawing teachers has opened my eyes for what a good painting is….I still believe in this!
How do you feel about commissioned work?
As an illustrator I am used to commissions, but they are all different..it always depends on the brief, the article and even on the art director. Are they speaking to you? Do they understand your style etc..all this is important..but I love working as an illustrator!
What is the best project you’ve done so far?
My wonderful last exhibition in South Africa at Whatiftheworld Gallery in Cape Town..
What satisfies you most when an illustration/painting is finished?
If I like the result it could be the most wonderful moment! But sometimes it could lead into a real fight, if you´re not sure about it.
What are your favorite colours and why?
Oh I don´t have a favorite colour, although I use a lot of blue tones, but love to combine them with earth and black tones and even some neon and bright paint!
Do you ever feel blocked? How do you deal with it if you do?
Oh yes…this can happen…I need to move then and drink a coffee, go to a bookstore or bike through town…sometimes I have to learn to let go!
Do you need routine or chaos in order to be productive?
I think I love the routine and dream about the chaos.
What drives you?
Friendship, light, joy and art!
Is there a time you would have liked to live in or is it here and now just fine?
Each time was difficult and beautiful as a period. For myself I think that I live in a privileged world and time, so I am fine.
If you could meet someone from the past who would that be?
I don´t want to meet a special someone but I wish I could travel back in time.
I would love to take a walk through Berlin before the war…that’s something I would really love to experience…
Thank you Olaf!