Olbinski immigrated to the United States in 1981, where he soon established himself as a prominent painter, illustrator and designer. Olbinski's work is very similar to the work of the famous Belgian surrealist Rene Magritte; Olbinski describes his approach to painting and illustrating as "poetic surrealism". He has cited his influences as "everybody", specifically Saul Steinberg, Milton Glaser, Marshall
Arisman and Brad Holland.
Rafal Olbinski’s works are included in the collections of the Museum of Modern Art (Poster Collection), the Carnegie Foundation in New York, National Arts Club in New York, the Smithsonian Institution and the Library of Congress in Washington, Suntory Museum in Osaka, Japan, the Poster Museum in Warsaw, Poland, and others throughout Europe and the United States.
In 1996 he was commissioned by the U.S. Information Agency to design a poster celebrating the 25th Earth Day Anniversary. From 2002 through 2010, a selection of Olbinski paintings was included in the Grand Space projection in Grand Central Terminal, as a highlight of the Earth Day Celebration in New York. The other artists featured in the show are Keith Haring, Roy Lichtenstein, Robert Rauschenberg, and Andy Warhol.