Speed Date / PETER HAJDIN, graphic designer

Where are you from?
Here from Bratislava.

Where did you study?
Primary school at Jesenského Street, high school at Vazovova Street, pedagogical school for a while and then graphic design at the Academy of Fine Arts, all in Bratislava.

Who was your best teacher?
My father. And right after him Ľubo Longauer.

Who were/ are your parents?
My father was the most decent rebel I know. He faced obstacles in his life, but he always found the strength to defy them, and he overcame them all with honesty and integrity: in an exemplary manner. He was born in the Zagorje region in 1930, in a beautiful oasis between two world wars. As a gifted child, he actually had only 2 perspectives: teacher or priest. In the 50’s he finished theology and then dug brown coal as a punishment (a real Black Baron). A Catholic priest and later a parish priest, he and a friend built a Corbusier-inspired church in Radava in defiance of the communists. After a hopeful beginning and an embarrassing end at the Second Vatican Council, he changed his mind, left the church ministry, studied economics and married his lifelong fictional love: a Hungarian woman from Pressburg, a medical lab technician – my mother. A year later I was born, then a brother, a sister, then 7 granddaughters-snowflakes, and finally 1 grandson-dwarf. He taught us that love like in a novel can be real. That the most precious things in life are the most ordinary. That you have to keep hope even when everything looks hopeless. That it’s worth holding on, because after the difficult moments come the beautiful ones. He taught us how important it is to keep the family together. And most of all, that each of us has a chance to start over, with a clean slate. He has only recently completed his story in the Universe as we know it. He has been, and forever will be, the greatest role model for me.

What don’t you enjoy in design?
Sloppy work.

And on the contrary, what do you?
I still love that feeling – to find myself somewhere I’ve never been before. And I like to go back to places where I’m comfortable, too. I enjoy the kind of design and architecture that can do that.

What do you listen to?
Everything, but lately I guess I enjoy silence, or more accurately natural white noise, the most.

Your favourite film, cartoon, series?
Interstellar. The Humorist. Anything by Miyazaki. Chernobyl, I’m curious about Mandalorian… There’s a lot.

Who do you respect as an authority in and out of your field?

What thing did you last buy?
A cottage and everything that goes with it to make it cosy.

Do you buy professional literature? What was the latest book?
I was excited by Yuval Harari’s book Sapiens and recently I received the book Amnestie [Amnesties] by Fedor Blaščák. I recommend them both.

Do you vote?
So far I have been voting regularly.

Who throws the best parties?
I don’t remember the best ones.

Your favourite dome?
The one on the basilica in Esztergom.

Party dress. Made by…?
Ideally from someone who wears the same size as me.

Your hero from the past?
My grandfather on my mom’s side.

Best/nicest house?
We have this log cabin deep in the mountains – it may not be the best, but everything there is gorgeous.

Do you have any stereotypes when you work? How do they show?
Caterpillar manic-depressive trajectory. But I’m healing.

What’s on your desktop?
Definitely less of a mess than it used to be! Dominated by a 20+ year old unwritten (and unfinished) book, a folder with vintage photos of the house we live in, and a template for invoices.

Best exhibition, work of art?
Last time I was amused by the exhibition Spitzmaus Mummy in a Coffin and Other Treasures that Wes Anderson had in Vienna.

What do you respect both from the local and foreign design scene? And why?
If we’re talking about graphic design, I like what Žltý and Co. are doing in Milk, and I’m also pleased with the things Ďuro Demovič and Pergamen are doing in Trnava. Their work is close to my heart, I perceive a harmony of good ideas and that initial spark on the one hand, and hard work and honest craftsmanship on the other. I like the things that Ján Šicko does, this year I discovered Boris Kudlička for myself. I also have Martin Pecina from the Czech Republic in this folder, and I could go on like this. And then there’s Peťo Biľak: I enjoy seeing how, year after year, project after project moves in often unexpected and interesting directions. I enjoy the fact that he’s a (Czech)Slovak who plays in the world league. I love that the few times we’ve had the opportunity to collaborate (both graphic designers), he’s been in charge of the set design and I’ve been in charge of the music for the dance performance (graphic design boundaries humbled!) 🙂 And I also enjoy those endless debates with him about the immortality of the greyhound. I’d say there are few authors in the world with this approach to their work: but then again, there never really have been many. There are slowly 8,000,000,000 of us now, so I guess there are still some to heroically balance that global toxic contagion with superficiality. Oh, yeah.

Ethics or money?
Hehe. Poor fucker.

Extraordinary book?
The Sapiens by Harari, that one got under my skin.

Optimist, pessimist, nihilist?
Skeptical melancholic.

Do you have any hobby?

Solo or in a collective?
Always prefer to be in a good collective (even if I end up alone anyway).

Slovakia as the Promised Land?
Maybe one day it will be loved again.


26 / 11 / 2019
by MAG D A
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