Olaf Hajek Offers a Year of Creativity
This year, grocery chain Vom Fass was looking to create a calendar that was inspired by what they do: food. They linked up with painter Olaf Hajek to have him create imagery from a series of recipes, one for each month plus a cover image, but they didn’t demand parameters that were more constricting than just that. They wanted it to be a completely creative venture by the painter, giving him a huge amount of freedom to explore his artistry. “I got the twelve recipes and I was totally free to get inspired by the ingredients of what was in the recipes and that was the only direction I got,” Olaf explains. “They never wanted to see any sketches, they never wanted to see anything before. I was a little bit afraid.” Olaf obviously didn’t want to let Vom Fass down, but once he realized they were purely fans of his work and wanted him to explore, knowing that whatever he came up with would be perfect, the pressure was relieved and he went all in.
Thirteen paintings isn’t anything to scoff at, in fact it ended up taking up his entire schedule for a month (and Olaf works pretty quickly as it is). This was a significant project that he had the luxury of devoting proper time to. “It was like creating a little exhibition myself,” Olaf says. “I was free to create 13 paintings without sketching, without talking to the clients, and I knew the kind of style they liked from my work, so I knew what it was related to, but I was completely free.” That freedom translated into a series of images that are drawn from the inspiration Vom Fass requested, but are richly in their own world while being honest to Olaf’s style. Vom Fass even bought each of the original images (before even seeing the completed works) so they could display them on their own.
In many ways, creating paintings around food is a natural pairing. As a process, cooking and painting are very similar in that they are creative ventures, something that Olaf is clear to point out when discussing this titanic project. “It’s all about pleasure and of course, being a cook can be very creative,” Olaf says. “Cooking is very relaxing and very social and very much also creative. And I think in this case, being a creative person and being a creative cook is the same idea. You work with your technique, you work with your style, and you work with your ingredients.” Whether those ingredients are oils and spices or paints and canvases, we’re always creating. If each dish is like a painting, this calendar invites you into Olaf’s creative world and guarantees the results will be delicious.