[Melbourne] WMSG vs Leif Podhajsky
Your work is astounding; it totally takes my breath away. Where and what do you draw your inspiration from?
I gain inspiration from life, its complex array of sights, sounds and feelings… A lot of insight comes from natural environments and form which I often mimic in my work, using symmetry and recursion to convey the sense of perfection and balance, not only in nature, but the balance needed in one’s own life. I feel at the moment that we are out of sync with both nature and the natural cycles of the Earth and have forced an inharmonious and delusive view of time upon ourselves. I like to re-emphasise the importance and need to appreciate every moment. I also like to draw from and visually communicate the knowledge and wisdom one can receive from altered states of mind and higher planes of reality in my work.
Tell me about the artwork cover you did for Tame Impala ‘Inner Speaker’… The dreamy, timeless and psychedelic quality of your work is so perfect for their music. Was it a project you were approached to do or one that you propositioned?
Well the story actually has a slight twist to it. Out of the blue I was asked by Modular [Record Label] if I wanted to do the artwork for the album and singles and I jumped at the chance as I am a fan of both Tame Impala and Modular’s aesthetic.
The strange thing was that I actually emailed Tame Impala’s manager Jodie months before they approached me, begging them to have a look-see at my work but I am pretty sure it went in the pile with the rest of them somewhere (probably the trash bin). So when I called Kevin from the band to discuss concepts I mentioned this to him and they tracked down the lost email, which sort of showed them that I liked there music and really wanted to work with them.
So the two incidents were totally unrelated and this just shows how if you put an idea out there into the universe it can come back to you in strange ways.
With the artwork we wanted to create this dreamy, acidy vortex where time had slowed or ceased to exist, an altered state so to speak. An exploration of nature, time and higher states of awareness. This fit perfectly with themes which reiterate throughout my work. I also really wanted the artwork to reflect the dreamy flow of their music and its reference to old psych but with–like the album–a very fresh approach. I submerged myself into this world and pretty much thought of nothing but the artwork for about 6 weeks, it got kind of unhealthy. But I am super happy with the results.
At what age did you decide you wanted to be an artist and graphic designer, or was it something that was always in your blood?
I’ve always been creative and from a young age and loved to draw and build things with my hands, especially Lego. I would just create these complex worlds that I would sink into and disappear for days. I never liked school and used to beg my Mum to let me stay home so I could be in my own world.
So what I do now is a continuation from that time. I became an artist as a way of putting image to my thoughts and imaginations and as a means of exploration of the self. It’s a tool, a means of self adjustment and reflection.I still think my best ideas and work were done as a child, and now I am sort of just chasing that openness and nativity towards things.
What advice would you give to others starting out on this path?
Just to always follow your dreams. Do things for the love of it and your rewards will be greater than any materialistic or monetary commodity. In saying that a need for balance is important: Sometimes I forget to eat, sleep or interact with other people as I get so involved in my own little space. Experience and knowledge are key to growing as a person and this will facilitate your creative output and personal goals.
How did you get involved in this year’s Semi-Permanent?
Once again I got a random email out of the blue asking if I wanted speak. It nearly blew my socks off! I sat staring at the email wondering if they may have got the wrong guy. So I am honoured to be involved and can’t wait to have an audience to my ramblings…
How important do you feel it is for artists such as yourself sharing their life experiences with emerging artist and designers in events such as S-P?
It’s an integral part of the creative process. Sharing your experiences and ideas benefit the whole community, helping to establish new ways of thinking and developing outcomes across the whole creative society.
Personally I love the really humanistic value of talks like Semi Permanent, we often forget that people whom we hold in esteem didn’t just magically appear where they are. There’s a history of ups and downs which have shaped them into who they are, and it’s these that give the real essence of their practice or profession. I am looking forward to meeting and hearing all the other speakers at this years event.
What’s next in the pipeline for Leif?
I just got back from Europe but I am already thinking of a new adventure somewhere…that’s if i can find some time, things have been pretty crazy lately. There will be some new artwork for an array of bands, I am also working on some sculptural pieces for an exhibition coming up in Melbourne. Hopefully I’ll be selling limited edition prints through my website soon. I also want to start doing some motion work, and I am in the early phase of an online site/project/blog.
As always here is the quick fire round!
Favourite colour- Forest Green.
I love- Love.
I hate- Never being content.
Death bed song- CAN - Halleluhwah
If you only read one book in your life, I highly recommend- These are hard…The Wind Up Bird Chronicle, by Haruki Murakami is really good…
Film to see before you die- Paris Texas.
Describe yourself in 5 words- Complex system of simple energy.