Interview with Modupe Fadugba

Using my creative sight to sort of rationalize why people would choose to present it as round other than flat. So, it wasn’t until I was about 16 that I realized that the earth is not flat even though I was a science student. So, I just talk about it as being a sort of revelation that turns everything you think you know upside down and just taking time away from the busyness, the ever learning, ever striving and ever building upon wrong things to just do nothing. So, that’s where* _______ comes from. It’s sort of unplugging.

This is a childhood experience. Now, as an adult, you know it was wrong and you’ve known the earth is round for a while. So, it’s no longer a reality because my concept of the exhibition is that everyone is trying to depict his or her own realities. This is a reality that you faced as a child but it’s been between 20 to 30 years now. No, I’ve actually felt the world was flat longer than I’ve known that it’s round. I’m 29. So, I found that out when I was 16.
That was 13 years ago? Yes, 13 years ago.

Why that concept and not something more ‘now’?

I think it is ‘now’. It is also work in progress, all of these sort of nude ladies and this series. I think as I go along, I will reveal more but this is definitely a start to say that there is an unplugging of sort; building on what you’ve grown up with, the information that’s implanted that you’ve just been building on and you look for things to confirm your existing bias. So, this sort of represents the unplugging; it takes me from 16 to last year on just talking about compounding and adding more busyness and learning more. It has taken me to this point where I can say I left my job in 2014 and unplugged from the busyness and I just took time out…

You left your job? Don’t you do art fulltime?

I’m a soft sell artist. I studied Chemical Engineering and also Engineering Education.
Which schools? In the UK and the USA. Mostly in the USA; I had my primary education, university and masters degree in the US while my secondary education was in the UK.
One would think you’d practice engineering. Why are you in the arts? I think I just woke up one day and was like life is short…
So, you do art fulltime now Yes.

What medium do you use?

Mostly paint.

That’s a graphic quality. Where did you pick that?

I don’t know. I did a series in 2010 called lady. It was painted but it had just 2 colours, black and white, like a silhouette type of thing. I edited it using Photoshop, I actually got my cousins to edit it and they were like it just did lots of different colours to it and I didn’t use
it for anything. So, I think just digging back into my self conscious, it came up here.
There’s this painting I saw, you used 2 colours: red and blue, as a graphic and decorative quality. Is the woman you? No. laughs. One keeps asking.

Has someone asked you before now?

Everybody has asked me, especially today when I set up. My dad has asked too.
So, who’s the woman? Someone in my head. So, I guess it could be me.
That’s the woman who’s trying to figure out whether the world is round or flat? Yes and No. Well, I don’t think it’s so much of the woman trying to figure out whether the world is round or flat. It is that she realizes that there’s a tendency for her to build up on things that are wrong and that tendency while it got corrected at some point, still exists. So, she’s still building on things that are not necessarily true and she’s just trying to unplug and make sure she’s aware of that tendency.

To you, apart from the earth being flat, what other things have you experienced in your life, would you say your education as an Engineer, for instance has pulled you towards visual arts?

I would think that, but not even as strongly as maybe my view on religion. I think it will be my next topic. Again, I think it takes time for me to fully connect all the dots and present it in a way that it makes sense because I’m a bit slow. Religion is one of those things and that’s slowly unfolding. For my education, I won’t take any of that back; I think it makes me a stronger artist.

You mentioned Photoshop earlier… No, I don’t use Photoshop. What I mentioned was, I did something quite simple before, and I wanted to see what it would look like in different colours before I would proceed to do it again. So, my cousin changed them for me in such a way that I had 12 colour permutations. I don’t even know how to use Photoshop.

Do you mean that you have a computergenerated image, which you now paint?

I was saying that this particular series was inspired by something very quick that I did in 2010 that my cousin sort of edited for me. I was just playing around and I think it stuck in my head.

Explain the process. I don’t know how to use Photoshop. Maybe my cousin will show you.
Sometimes, artists work with photographs or they upload images on the computer*(…. which they then paint from.

Is that how you start your work?

No. Well, it depends. Not this but most of the time, if I’m doing something more realistic, then I work from a photo. I usually change the contrast and lighting so that it comes out better. It’s a lot of *______with this type of thing. I’ll draw the figure first, then sketch out, then I’ll play around with colours for maybe 3 of the *days that you’ll see; If you look closely, there are so many layers of paint because I didn’t like the way the colours were flowing at each other. Maybe one was purple or red and then ended up being like blue and orange. There’s a lot of challenge and it gets easier as you move along because you’ll sort of know how they go.

Lady (2010). I did this and this is the original… I did it with acrylic. I was at home; I wondered what this would look like. So, I did it.

It really interests me how you derive your images. These ones?

Yes, do you have a model or are they computer generated? No, I drew this. This is the one of acrylic on black board.
So, you’re just playing with shadows. Yeah, I was just playing around with shadows, poses.
Did you have a model? No, I didn’t have a model. Honestly, I don’t even know how I came up with this one.
Have you seen this outside? Did you get to open it?

… This one?

I saw something in the magazine coming up with this one.

Which one? What did you say?
Is this on paper?

It’s on c*________. It was big, massive.
*So, how do you … Laughs… I just feel I like I don’t want to necessarily give away the whole process.
*I won’t give away your trade secret. It’s not about that… I just feel it’s taking me a while to reveal… to put together… to connect.

26*….12:38… You know what though… when do you have to submit it?
In about 3 days. I could draft something and send it to you. The reason I said that is because I’m better at writing. Let me see if I can find something. I sent a few things to Helen and they are all quite different. It might help… We’ve been doing interviews non-stop since Wednesday and honestly I always tell…
-Chat with a French speaking lady
I feel a little bit of over-exposure.

How do you mean?

Maybe this time next year, you’ll get a ‘boom’ statement from me. You might be able to get more meat… laughs

Do you have the artists’ statement?

Day One, Acrylic on Canvas, 48’’ x 36”, 2014 queen1
29. I don’t like the artists’ statement because they are already worked out; it’s the same statement everyone uses.
So you like the inside scoop… 15:34

Have you seen my magazine? Omenka?

Yes, I have 3 copies. So, there’s one that I don’t have.
We have this one for outside Africa. Why is it so big? The ones I get are really small.
Yeah we’re growing. Oh dear! Did you have one that was smaller, same cover as this?
No, different cover. The last one was on _______ Hajaj. Maybe I’ve just seen it but I definitely didn’t buy it.

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