Influenced by… “Everybody”

Born in Kielce, Poland in 1945, Rafal Olbinski studied architecture in Warsaw before dedicating himself to painting and design. He immigrated to the United States in 1981. Olbinski is best known for his role as an internationally acclaimed designer for opera houses worldwide and for creating artwork for the covers of hundreds of magazines, including TIME magazine, Newsweek and THE NEW YORKER.

Commissioned by Allegro Music to complete a series of album covers for their opera series, Olbinski has achieved a reputation as the image-maker of opera. The Nation hails him as a “latter-day Dali” and The New York Times remarks that if you don’t know his name, “Odds are you know his paintings.”

With a reputation that spans the globe, Olbinski is involved in projects on nearly every continent. In Poland, he completed three public murals which were unveiled in the spring of 2007. In Bangkok, he juried the 2006 International Film Festival; from 2009 to 2010 in Germany an exhibition of his work traveled across the country and his works are included in the collection of the Museum of Modern Art (poster collection).

Olbinski’s lush images are layered with complex psychology. He does not paint the landscape of scientific reality, but rather maps the interiors of the mind. Like Dali and Magritte before him, Olbinski’s work has a poetic resonance. He depicts the mind as a theater of dreams, with new attractions around every corner.

“Poetic humor is a quality rarely found in the fine arts,” says Andre Parinuad, President of the International Arts Salon in Paris. “Rafal Olbinski has this gift. He wants to show us that our imagination is a magical world which we are recreating forever. He draws us into a different universe, and forces us to use our eyes to participate in a marvelous world which is the true dimension of dreams.”

Olbinski is on the faculty of the School of Visual Arts in New York City.

The lobby of Paragon Cineplex at Siam Paragon during the 4th World Film Festival of Bangkok, featuring a poster exhibition by Rafal Olbinski.

The lobby of Paragon Cineplex at Siam Paragon during the 4th World Film Festival of Bangkok, featuring a poster exhibition by Rafal Olbinski. By Curtis Winston (Own work) [GFDL, CC-BY-SA-3.0, CC-BY-2.5, GFDL, CC-BY-SA-3.0 or CC-BY-2.5], via Wikimedia Commons