A regular collaborator with brands, record labels, and musicians around the world, Australia-born, Berlin-based visual artist and creative director Leif Podhajský recently took his first steps into overlanding with the creation of the Hawkes signature camouflage.
Exploring themes of connectedness, the relevance of nature, and the exchange between organic systems and new technologies that strive to inspire and stimulate thought, Podhajský’s Grammy-nominated work aims to push boundaries and communicate engaging ideas.
Hawkes recently sat down with Podhajský to learn more about his work, his reimagining of camouflage for the modern age, and his ideal overlanding itinerary.
Hawkes x Leif Podhajský
How do you balance life in the city and your love of nature?
During the pandemic, it’s been extremely difficult to get out into nature as much as I would like. The best I've managed is doing some day walks/lake trips outside of Berlin as a quick reset. I also managed a camping trip to Sächsische Schweiz national park on the border of Germany and Czechia.
Before lockdowns and travel restrictions I had a group of friends who would meet up a few times a year in a remote location and hike and hang out. Snowdonia, Scotland, etc. I was planning a hut to hut hike in Austria and a few climbing trips to Fontainebleau before things went south.
Hawkes x Leif Podhajský Subaru Crosstrek
What inspired the Hawkes overlanding camo?
My work has always been inspired by the patterns and shapes found in nature – I’ve also always been fascinated by optical illusions. So for the Hawkes overloading camouflage designs, I was really interested in developing patterns that harnessed those two concepts, but in a more modern style than some of the traditional camo that's been developed in the past.
The idea was to develop an optical system that explores abstract pattern based camouflage designs, whilst utilising a subtle combination of depth-based pattern mimicry.
At its core, these designs look to break up form by not using smooth sharp lines and mimicking the fractal-based patterns found in nature. Digital distortion is used to create a scattered and unstructured optical illusion, helping mimic a range of vegetation and environments.
I used different colour combinations to reflect the tones found in varying terrains.
I’m really happy with the outcome and think they offer a new approach to camouflage patterns, something that can be adapted and used for car wraps to outdoor apparel.
Your ideal overlanding trip, where would you start and end up?
I would start in Santiago, Chile and drive south down Highway 5 and then 7 into Patagonia. I’ve often spent hours exploring with Google Maps, the area just looks unlike anything I've ever seen with only one road continuing all the way to Villa O’Higgins. I’d love to somehow cross into Argentina and continue down to the tip of Tierra Del Fuego.
Hawkes x Leif Podhajský Lexus LX
What are the five overlanding essentials you’d take along on a trip?
I’m a complete overloading novice so would probably end up taking the wrong equipment. But I think a good camera, good coffee, and good friends will more than make up for my equipment shortcomings.
What are your favorite outdoor brands?