Chris Ofili Quotes.
I was brought up a Catholic and was an altar boy.
When I left the Royal College, I decided I would only make paintings that I would want to look at myself, that felt close to my life.
Moving to Trinidad was a great experiment. I never knew what it would do to my work or even if it would be accepted by people and not be seen as me just falling off the edge of the earth.
I wouldn’t say even that I’m a broadly political person. But on occasion, I have felt that I have no choice but to paint something with a strong moral stance.
I’ve always set out to embrace all that I am.
I’m black, and it’s a very important part of what I am. I’m not embarrassed about it.
‘Death & the Roses’ came out of ideas about flagellation and guilt and from looking at Piero della Francesca’s ‘The Flagellation of Christ.’
I’ve always found music inspired me in the studio to try to do new things. If someone comes out with a new album, it’s like, ‘Gosh, they’ve been working hard – so should I.’
I was listening to a lot of hip hop, music like Public Enemy that was about raising consciousness, and I realised I could feed that directly into my work, using images in a way that was a bit like sampling – taking images from diverse places, exploring the contradictions without trying to hide the seams.
I believe in God, but I’m not dominated by it.
The church is not made up of one person but a whole congregation, and they should be able to interact with art without being told what to think.
The studio is a place where I can experiment before I’m prepared for an idea to become a body of work, or a new way of working, or a way of working that can sustain me over a period of time.
I think visual seduction is really a lovely thing. To be able to look at something and feel you want to get closer and closer to it, and as you get closer to it, the more you drop your guard.
Trinidad was an opportunity to start all over again, to have another stab at it. The mystery and atmosphere of the place have entered my palette a lot more than I thought they would.
I try to bring all that I am to my work and all that I experience. That includes how people react to the way I am – the prejudice and the celebrations.
I was an altar boy and heard the Bible being read out repeatedly. The stories have stayed with me, although they’re completely remixed in my head. And often, when I do further reading, I’m quite surprised by the difference between the real story and my memory of the story.
I don’t think I met anyone posh until I went to London.
I love Manchester. I love Manchester United. But I would really struggle to be creative there. I feel a bit lost, over-familiar maybe. Maybe too stuck in my own web of history.
Change is not indecision.
There was a point in time where the thought of people even talking about me made me anxious. Physically.
I just hope that when black people look at me, they don’t see someone superhuman. They see themselves.
Love is a blissful state, but it’s not a utopia.
The studio is a laboratory, not a factory. An exhibition is the result of your experiments, but the process is never-ending. So an exhibition is not a conclusion.
I’m aware that success can overwhelm you. The perception of you can be elevated to such a status that it’s not you any more.
Doubt is important because it suggests progress. Total certainty can mean there’s no assessment of things. Doubt, if you don’t panic, can allow newness to come in and challenge something that’s an established mode.
There’s a magic that comes from playing entirely to who you are. I’ve got my specialist subject – in the Mastermind sense – and I wouldn’t change it, or who I am.