Olka Osadzińska – Interview

We are pleased to present you for the second time the excellent Warsaw-based illustrator Olka Osadzińska. We interviewed her to talk about her great collaboration with the sneaker/sport brand Reebok. She explain us her approach and process of this collaboration. We invite you to read and discover her interesting work…


Hi Olka, how are you since last December?
Hi Dennis! I’m great, thank you! So much happened since we last talked…

I saw your sneaker project with Reebok (the Betwixt Mid Collaboration Ambassador Program).
It’s really nice! What was the idea behind? and can you tell us more about the project?
Andy Warhol was wearing Reeboks! I make full color, pop illustrations but I wear monochrome. If I wear sneakers they have to be all white. But I thought, I’m not a fashion designer, I’m not a jewelry designer, I’m an illustrator, I have to draw something. I took photos of the shoe and drew my own templates. I imagined the shoes were canvas surfaces. From that moment on I had to stop myself from adding more and more elements to it. It had to be a statement piece for my drawing style, but also for a girl that chooses to wear the shoes. I wanted them to be sexy, funny, colorful, while keeping the maximum of the pure white sneaker. I also wanted them to be surprising and have these unexpected features. This is why I decided to use different illustrations for both lateral sides, different for the medial sides and something completely different for the rear side. The triangle design on the back of the shoe has quite a story.

For one of the dolls I created a pattern made out of triangles in different colors. Once I decided I will do illustrations for the lateral and medial sides of the shoe I couldn’t decide if I should put anything on the back. My dear friend and absolutely amazing graphic designer Damien Vignaux, with whom I consulted almost every idea I had – suggested that I develop this triangle pattern for the back side of the shoe. It was a terrific idea. Once I decided to add one more element – the golden chain – he said “Only Lil Kim and Japanese teenagers will wear it”. And I guess he’s right. It’s not exactly the worst fan base and target group one can imagine. But can you imagine a true street style spirit without the chain?!

My most important inspirations are Mark Hunter’s – The Cobrasnake’s – photos. What I see there I could never find myself. Mark has an amazing eye for catching the spirit of the youth and all the colors of the rainbow. He’s my true inspiration. I wouldn’t do a single drawing without him!

Shoes design, is it a new creative process that interested you?
When back in 2008 I made illustrations for the Reebok Freestyle World Tour I could only dream about creating my own shoe design for the brand. When Reebok invited me to work on this project it was dream come true. I said “yes” before I thought “yes”. This project, from the first design ideas to the last moments of the production, was a pure pleasure and definitely one of my most enjoyable collaborations. I have never experienced so much support and understanding from any other team I have worked with. Definitely working so close with a product is an amazing experience. Everything from the shoelaces to the type of leather was of my choice.

More generally, are you a sneaker-head and do you have a favorite sneaker?
I’m not exactly a sport/streetstyle person. The furthest I go with the sport style is wearing trainers and TOMS haha. I do follow all the sneaker collaborations and cool streetstyle/lifestyle projects. I worked closely with Highsnobiety on their “favorite sneakers of the month” series and it’s amazing how many great designs are out there.

Have you new projects to come ?
A few. I was just recently featured in the Commons&Sense magazine from Tokyo – I had 4 full page editorial illustrations showing Marc Jacobs Fall Winter 2012 collection. One of my works is currently on show in the Center for Contemporary Arts in Warsaw. I work on a few poster series and editorial illustrations. Also I will run a Fashion Illustration workshops at the Art&Fashion Festival in Poznań alongside Barbara Hulanicki!

Which books are on your bedside table ?
“Thinking the Twentieth Century” by Tony Judt with Timothy Snyder; “Precursor” published by Gestalten and “Będzie Strajk” by Krystyna Zalewska.

The last word…
Come to Warsaw!


>  aleosa.com

/ Interview : Dennis Moya – September 2012  // All illustrations/designs are © Olka Osadzińska.