Leif. Podhajsky. Read the name out loud to yourself. You know him. The Oz native turned London dweller. Or at least you've seen his masterpieces. Tame Impala, The Horrors, Foals, Lykke Li, TOY, Grimes and … Let's just stop there before the list becomes an entity of its own. Podhajsky has psychedelified all of the above in the form of album art (as well as other artefacts).
To look into his cosmos is to send yourself on a trip - the kind that turns the sky into a perpendicular vortex (Innerspeaker?), curls the ocean into a parallel universe and sends waterfalls spluttering into each other from every which way. No DMT needed folks, it's just stare, sink and melt into his pixelated hyperbole. The artwork titles alone are enough to shoot you off in a shuttle destined for the moon (Psychonaught, Organic Orgy, Sequential Yaw to name a few).
Upon your return back down to earth and out of his technicolour, it's all but a dream until you by chance glance at your CD stack and Podhajsky's craft starts to bubble to TOY's tune Lose My Way.
What do you do when you’re not making art?
I don't really know. I feel like everything I do is somehow related and brought back to making things.
For your latest project you collaborated with Grimes and Abbey Lee – how did these ladies get involved?
I have just launched a range of silk scarves with my prints on them and Abbey and Claire (Grimes) seemed like the perfect people to wear them in my eyes. I met up with Abbey while she was London and gave her a few scarves and a print. She really loved the green Fibonacci Vortex scarf. And I've done some work for Grimes before so i got in touch. Boom.
One word to describe a)Grimes and b)Abbey Lee?
A: Unique. B: Unique.
To me your pieces almost look like the visualisation of sound – do you have a musical background?
I don't but music is a big part of my life, I use it as a way to let go and drift off into another world. It lets me breath in a way and bring back weird ideas for artworks.
A mixtape of your top five songs right now:
Goat - Golden Dawn
Swans - Mother Of The World
Om - On The Mountain At Dawn
Holy Other - Love Some1
Frank Ocean - Sweet Life
You've worked closely with Tame Impala on most of their record art, do you have any song favourites from them?
Right now its Mind Mischief because the drums! The guitar with that damn amazing bass line … The lyrics are ideal if you feel the world is kind of skewed backwards and love is the key to making it better.
The psychedelic state of mind seems like a focal point for you – do you try and take your viewer into an otherworldly experience or are you documenting your own mind-state?
Both, I'm documenting what I know and have felt, that everything is connected and there is a love and wisdom in the universe which can be tapped into. I try and take the viewer on the journey with me or create a way to cast them off on their own adventures.
The natural world is also strongly referenced in your art – what’s one natural wonder in the world that you would like to see up close?
I would like to visit the Misty Mountains with Gandalf. Imagine sitting on a pinnacle spinning some stories and blowing smoke rings.
Have you ever thought that maybe in a few hundred years your work (among others) may be all that remains to remind us of what once existed in nature?
If we exist then nature will be in us, nature will probably take control of the planet once we fuck things up enough. Could be sooner rather than later.
If you can have one piece of your work uncovered in a tomb millions of years from now – which piece would it be?
A drawing I did as a kid of a tree. I did my best work then.
What are you obsessed with right now?
A tea I made up which my housemate has dubbed "super tea". It's lemon, ginger, fresh garlic, Hot Paprika and honey … It blows the socks off and keeps away all evils, it's more a potion or soup than tea.
Favourite thing about your homeland Down Under?
Umm right now the weather, London is super bleak. It is dark at 4:30pm, everyone is angry and it's drizzling and grey. But also the people in Australia are the best (well 1% of them are rad).
Words to live by?
There's no such thing, thats not the quote either.
Hopefully some exhibitions and continuing with the scarves, there are lots of new interesting projects on the horizon. I would really like to go on a real adventure soon and not a mission to Hackney Tesco.