Studio Sunday: Chris Ofili

An aerial photo of Chris Ofili working on a very large painting in his studio


Our Studio Sunday artist today is Chris Ofil. Chris is an artist perhaps best known for his paintings working with elephant dung. His overall practice, however, is much more varied.


While not all of Ofili’s works are this large, it’s amazing to see the creation of this one in progress, with the help of a large warehouse space and several assistants. The painting here, a backdrop for a performance by the Royal Ballet in 2012, takes up most of the floor space in the studio. In addition to the sets, Ofili designed the costumes for the performance. The set designs were based on specific works by Titian. Ofili’s flowing, abstracted figural style works well to emulate the movement in Titian’s works while keeping to a more contemporary aesthetic.


I love the step ladder placed on the edge of the painting, allowing Ofili to periodically see the whole painting to check his progress. Ofili completed much of the painting himself, using large brushes and rollers on long handles so that he could stand up while working. The walls of the space are lined with shelves, probably containing supplies of every sort. On the other side of the room there are several tables, probably used for drawings and plans, or to prep materials.


Ofili was born in Britain but now resides in Trinidad. His home studio is much smaller and houses his regular sized paintings. 

[image source]

Written by: Dallas Jeffs
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