Ole Aakjær (b. 1962) is a Copenhagen-based, internationally-renowned watercolor and ink artist best known for large-format, highly symbolic works that celebrate the power of women. His distinct figurative paintings rely on bold colors and symbols to convey deep psychological empathy, while exploring the complexity and strength of their subjects. Ornate ink work comes into play with tattoos often sprawled across the face, neck, shoulders, and upper body. Text and characters, inspired by music, literature, poetry, film, religion, psychology, and cartoons are painstakingly applied with ink.
Influenced by comic book writers and artists Milo Manara, Enki Bilal, and Jean Giraud (pseudonym Moebius), Aakjær in the mid-1980s published an album at Carlsen, Denmark's main comic book publisher at the time, fulfilling his childhood dream. He operated an illustration studio since 1992. After 25 years as CEO of his own advertising and design agency, Aakjær was burnt out creatively. Reclaiming his childhood fascination and playfulness, he turned to watercolor painting in 2014. With a brazen nod to his previous career in his use of oversized keywords, Aakjaer’s large scale watercolors and techniques are unparalleled. The combination of ink and watercolor require great mastery as 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.
International success came quickly, when Aakjær’s first paintings sold and his first solo exhibition sold out. Many subsequent shows in Montreal, Oslo, Paris, and London, sold out, leading to an international breakthrough and permanent gallery representation in Coppenhagen, New York, Paris, and Montreal. His first solo museum exhibition was held at the Vejle Kunstmuseum, Jutland, Denmark, in 2021. Upcoming solo museum exhibitions include the Chinese Contemporary Art Museum, Chongqing, China, in 2022. Aakjær has participated in more than 70 solo and group exhibitions since 2014. The artist lives and works in Denmark.
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