IC Interview: Masud Olufani

We wanted to check in with some of our grant winners in a series of art interviews. Masud Olufani is a prolific artist who's work draws you in from across the room. Then, up close unfolds dynamic details that will knock you over. 

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Where were you born? Los Angeles, California

What are you favorite materials to work with? The material usually follows the concept, so generally speaking whatever material I’m using in the moment.

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What is your motivating factor in creating artistic work? 

A compelling inner need to create.

What do you like most about the art that you make? 

I like the multiple layers of meaning encoded in the work I make.

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Who are your influences?

Martin Puryear; Leonardo Drew; Radcliff Bailey; Ursula Von Rydingsvard; Isamu Noguchi

The first art you saw that informed your practice and let you know this was possibility to become an artist?

Jacob Lawrence’s Migration Series

What do you feel you are trying to communicate with your work?

It varies. My work engages a number of existential concerns such as racial and social stratification; economic instability; and the soul’s aspiration for transcendence. 

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As an artist, do you think you work is political?

Not particularly.

What is the connection between protest and art-making?

Art making is the foundation. Protest is a particular goal of certain art making practices. 

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What was the seminal experience that got you to the work you are making now?

Careful observation of the world around me and a open heart.

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What are you working on currently?

A collection of sculptures which together constitute an installation titled the Katrina Suite based on the various iterations of water vis-à-vis the African American experience.  

JF