Chris Ofili’s quote, which is also the title of this post is a line that encourages me as an art student. I am person who likes to have an idea before I start anything. Whether its sculpture, painting or writing a creative piece, I am most motivated when I at least a vague idea of what I wish to express. Thanks to Ofili, I now know that I no longer have to waste time wondering if my idea is worthwhile. Instead I can stick to a specific idea and spend more time being concerned about how to make the final product signify what I am trying to say.
Ofili is a British artist whose work received world fame when he began to use Elephant dung in his work. There are a few reason why I love this about him.
- As suggested in the video, the Elephant dung was from Zimbabwe. This is therefore directly relevant to me.
- I can completely relate to Ofili’s use of weird material in his work because I recently realized that I love to mix non traditional materials with my paint. For example, I mixed soil, dirt and laundry lint in my gesso before I painted. I love the materiality of Ofili’s work, because I love materials that challenge flatness.
- Elephant dung is something that connects us to the past. This is because in Zimbabwe people have used cow dung to cover the walls and floors of their house. After a while it does not smell. With urbanization, less and less people do this.
So I suppose that I don’t find dung disgusting, after all elephants are herbivores which makes their excrements less revolting. Dung is completely functional.
I learned that Ofili draws his ideas from his surroundings. It is therefore not surprise that he uses themes like death, sorrow, prostitution and hip hop culture in his work. I thought it was interesting how I could make out the faces of Lauren Hill Buster Rhymes in a few of his pieces.
I really liked Ofili’s Last Supper series with the monkeys. This is because I am currently trying to use monkeys to signify links between my grandfather and I. Family identity and oral history. Even though people may immediately think of monkeys as silly, mischievous animals I am trying to show them in a more respectful or ambiguous light. I don’t think Ofili’s monkeys in the Last Supper work are supposed to be completely ridiculing the famous scene.
Ofili reminds me of Peter Doig. I know that their work is extremely different in terms of style; however it is the way in which they work, and the things that they portray that enable me to compare them. First of all they both currently live in Trinidad. When one looks at both of their work, after moving to warmer climates, the light and the colors in their work intensified and became less cold. This shows that where you live can affect your work. As a side note, I am hoping that the work that I produce doesn’t become gloomy as the winter creeps in.
Both Doig and Ofili have referenced famous musicians in their paintings. They both claim that they like to constantly change style so that they don’t become predictable. They both inspire me to keep trying to produce strong work that can make people have at least a brief emotional attachment to my work.
This is an artist whose work I will continue to research as I develop my work.