Ole Aakjær was born in 1962 – into a troubled family, to a difficult childhood and youth. He was a wild soul but also a sensitive child, longing for stability and calm. Early on, he started to express himself creatively. He loved to draw and paint, and creativity became his safe zone – a mental free space, a bubble where he could escape the noise of the world – and his family.
He learned to draw professionally, and his technical skills and creative talent earned him a comic book release and a job at a design studio, where he quickly advanced. More responsibility, more work, more money. But the dream of becoming a “real artist” – and escaping the commercial world of design – was always lurking, behind the impressive career and the financial success.
At the age of 29, Ole travelled to Berlin with a friend to experience Pink Floyd’s The Wall. In Berlin, they ran out of money, so he sat down in the street and started to draw and sell portraits – and people loved it. With his pockets full of cash, he experienced a new and liberating freedom. The decision to start his own design studio – and become a free agent – was made then and there.
From then on, Ole Aakjær ran his own advertising agency for 25 years. His creative talent made the agency a huge commercial success and the company grew rapidly. His creative mind managed to constantly adapt his business to the ongoing changes of the advertising industry, but life as an agency CEO was too much board room and whiteboard – and not enough art and creativity.
He tried to escape. He sold his agency and started over – with a new smaller agency. Again, he was a great commercial success, and again he was eventually stressed out by the demands of the clients, the never-ending meetings and the boring budgets. The lack of creativity and art with time stole his inspiration and joy of life.
Through the years, Ole had always surrounded himself with art and artistic souls; he ran a gallery, exhibited and collected art, helped and inspired artists. Art was always there, constantly intruding, but the expectations of the world and the pursuit of commercial success had always won – drawn him back, when he tried to escape. Until now.
In the summer of 2014, Ole took a long vacation to recharge and regain his inspiration. In the family summerhouse he borrowed his wife’s watercolors and rediscovered the serenity that creativity and deep concentration had always given him. Managing the watercolors took all his focus and forced him to shut everything else out. Suddenly, he rediscovered the creative bubble of his childhood – and the joy and inspiration that came with it.
He posted his first painting on Facebook – for the fun of it. It sold immediately. He then posted a second and a third. They also sold. And with that, Ole’s soul finally left the advertising industry for good.
A gallery owner from Copenhagen quickly spotted Ole’s unique talent, and the first exhibition turned into a solo exhibition. Which sold out. As did all of his exhibitions. Within a year there was a waitlist to buy an Ole Aakjær orginal.
Shortly after, sold-out exhibitions in i.e. Montreal, Oslo and Paris, led to an international breakthrough and permanent gallery representation in New York and Montreal. And then the museums followed.
In 2021, Ole Aakjær will open his first museum exhibitions – in Denmark and in China. Just 7 years after his creative and artistic mind and his crave for freedom finally won the battle.
Ole Aakjær is internationally recognized for his signature figurative paintings of women painted with great psychological empathy, unique colors and highly symbolic and storytelling tattoos. The portraits explore the complexity and strength of women – always vulnerable however empowered, sensual, fearless, alluring and untamed.
In Ole Aakjær’s work the female face is a gateway to the soul. Although she courageously meets the eyes of the spectator with energy and obstinacy, her inner life and secrets remain intact. Her body is tattooed with texts and characters – a multilayered symbolism revealing her secrets, inspired by music, literature, films, religion, psychology and cartoons. His work contains a subtle influence from the world of graphic design, observing the margins of framing and the presence of oversized keywords and poetry.
Ole Aakjær’s popularity is primarily rooted in the fact that his pieces touch people and trigger strong emotions – because they invite the spectators and their own story into the painting.
His large scale watercolours and techniques are unparalleled. The combination of ink and watercolour require great mastery because there is no room for error or corrections, the desired result must be achieved on the first application. This is in many ways the poetry of the watercolour – and of Ole Aakjær’s work.
He is in many ways a quirky artist. He has his own way, he provokes, he goes against the flow and challenges norms and conventions – in art and in life. Not just for the sake of it, but because it is his core and nature. He has a great creative and artistic hunger – he explores, plays, develops and changes all the time. He is unsnobbish and generous, but at the same time a sensitive soul with an enormous vulnerability and empathy, that emerges in his art and touches his audience.
In his studio, he becomes a little boy again. Equally obsessed, equally ambitious. In perpetual pursuit of focus, tranquility and new creative paths and detours.