Jadé Fadojutimi's gorgeous, ethereal paintings caught my attention right away for their subtle detail and layering. I love how she creates a semblance of a thin film, like condensation on a pane of glass, which allows us only a measured amount of certainty about what we see. Currently on exchange in Kyoto, Japan, she is currently enrolled in a Masters program at the Royal College of Art in London.
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Hi there, Jadé! Tell me about yourself! You're currently an MA student at the Royal College of Art in London. How has that experience been so far?
My experience at the RCA so far has been challenging but also a lot of fun. The atmosphere amongst the painting department is very friendly, but also at the same time very serious. Everyone works very hard and that energy can be contagious, so whilst making a lot of friends, I feel like my stress levels have gone up significantly since being here. Two years is such a short amount of time to refine and develop your work.
Where did you attend university previously, and were you always interested in painting?
My BA was at the Slade School of Fine Art which lasted four years. I’ve always been interested in painting and painted whilst I was at Slade too. Whether that changes in the future, I would pretty open to, but for now painting is favourite medium.
Can you tell me a bit about what your studio is like right now?
My studio is chaotic. It mainly consists of paper plates filled with paint scattered across the floor along with brushes and felt tip pens. I often leave open paint tubes on the floor and then accidently step on them whilst working, then sigh in disbelief that that’s happened again for the tenth time. There are also various paint finger marks on the walls from when I’ve been too lazy to wipe get a towel. The floor harbours a lot of evidence of accidental spills. I hate bare walls so I hang as many of my works as possible surrounded by various notes and drawings as well as testers. I need to be surrounded by imagery to stimulate my ideas. Perhaps everything being covered in paint is just as important.
My studio is currently based in Kyoto at Kyoto City University of Arts while I am on exchange and residency.
Do you share it with others? What is your favorite thing about it?
I share my studio with three other students currently. We are in at different times of the day, so often I’ll have the whole space to myself, but at RCA I share with more students. I prefer sharing a studio space than being in my own bubble. Being surrounded by other people’s work always acts as a push to challenge your own painting. The best part is the natural discussions that occurs about each other’s work and the open criticism as well as comments that can stimulate a new way of thinking about what you’re trying to create. We have different approaches to making and thinking about art, providing different perspectives. We learn a lot from each.
What do you feel that you most need as an artist -- or as an art student?
I think space. Space to think and space to work is something I struggle to do without. I need to be able to spread my ideas from my head to a physical space to be able to really grasp what the centre of my thought process is.
Is there anything you feel that you don't get enough of?
Time can be very restricting. Usually the moments when I want paint, I’m not able to and when I have to work, I’m not ready to.
What is your process like? How do you begin a painting?
I’m actually in the process of changing how I begin a painting. In the past I would begin with a wet watercolour layer, just canvas prepared with canvas sealer only, then find form through the various layer of colour created. However, exploring using different types of linen and gesso to smoothen the surface and then I use a medium with a chosen base colour to coat the surface, followed by the use the various brush marks in different tones to divide the paintings into sections. Once dry, I create a collage of line and form taken from various drawings as a starting point.
Where do your ideas stem from?
My work draws upon a lack of understanding and worry about one’s place in society and the subsequent romanticising of an alternate place; whether it’s of the physical or imaginary world. My personal awareness and interest in this subject comes from my own experiences, and also from a long-standing interest in Japanese art and subculture. Wanting to explore a wider societal understanding of what brings us comfort and sense of place; my paintings become intimate, engaged by the process of painting itself. The material translates these ideas onto the surface of the canvas with their delicacy and fragility. They hold their own environment that creates momentary harmony between the viewer and the space. There’s a fascination with how the material itself can become familiar, perhaps nostalgic, that allows us to relate to the paint’s disposition. I want to illuminate the vulnerability and illusion of our own sense of self by creating unfamiliar familiar environments that invite through the language of paint.
Do you use any specific source material?
I don’t usually use any specific source material. I’ve always wanted my paintings to remain slightly ambiguous in use of shape and form and would let the paint guide the outcome of the work. I enjoy finding form within the work in relation to the next mark and often work from memory. However, I’m starting to change this slowly during my residency. Now my works experiment with line as an initial guide then freeing the space with the paint afterwards making the what was there unrecognisable.
What do you consider your most significant accomplishment or moment of success so far?
So far, I would say being shortlisted for The Woon Painting and Sculpture prize 2015 and going on to win a prize was my most significant accomplishment. However, being able to work in Kyoto this Autumn is my most treasured personal success. The aesthetic quality of Japanese art and animation has fed my painting for a long period of time. Japan's unique adolescent sensibility has influenced my work greatly. Artists such as Makiko Kudo and Nara Yoshitomo are examples of a few artists that engage with the concepts which my practice explores. Doing this residency is an opportunity to understand the significance of Japanese art and subculture in my work and challenge its function and relatability.
Have you found any part of pursuing art to be particularly challenging? How have you dealt with that?
The most challenging part of the pursuing my art has probably been my eagerness to develop and push my work beyond what I’m capable of at the time. I’m very impatient. There’s a lot of inner frustration that comes with making every painting. I often raise the bar high in each work to change or resolve what the other work haven’t managed to achieve. I end up temporarily unsatisfied with a lot of my work because I want to solve everything at once. To be honest I’m think I’m try to deal with it now by trying to focus on one thing at a time but then I become greedy and do too much at once. Those moments are valuable though. I don’t think my work would have developed this far otherwise. I’ll probably never be satisfied and I’m okay with that.
Are you from London originally?
Yes, I was born and grew up in East London. It means I can save money living at home for the moment luckily.
There is a lot of discussion about how difficult London can be as a place to pursue art -- inspiring and active, but expensive, etc.! What are your thoughts on this, especially as a current student?
I think London tends to price out artists with rent and it’s a huge shame for the growing art community. However, I think this has also provided a unique opportunity for artists to come together to form converted art spaces. It is harder to survive on your own in London, but when you have a group of artists together, you can save a lot of money. The struggle is there, but I think the various opportunities available to us as well as the countless galleries balance it out quite nicely. However, I don’t think I would be saying the same thing if I weren’t from London. I think it’s easier on me because I don’t have to worry too much about a roof over my head. Others would argue differently. I’m pretty sure what I consider to be cheap in London, others would call expensive.
Do you have any upcoming exhibitions or projects that I can share?
• Art Attack Winter Exhibition - The Crypt Gallery, 28th-30th November, London
• The International Student Exhibition - Kyoto City University of Arts Gallery, December 1st -11th , Kyoto, Japan
• The Royal College of Art Graduate Show - The Royal College of Art, June 2017
Find more at jadefadojutimi.com!
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