This book traces the fascinating trajectory of Augustine Kofie s work, from his early figurative pieces executed in an illustrative style with emphasis on the figure, to his more recent forays into geometric forms and abstraction using collage and found images. Sketches, initial drawings and a grouping of paintings on clipboards give a strong sense of not only the working process of this incredible artist, but help document how he achieves such enduring finished paintings. KOFIE s background growing up as a graffiti writer in Los Angeles in the 1990s has further informed his amazing outdoor murals, including a featured signature piece from Mexico City.
Introduction by Rafail Schacter. Designed by Penderson Projects in Claremont, Claifornia and Published by Zero +.
"Inspired by the basic building blocks of the geometric world, Augustine Kofie has formed a retro-futuristic aesthetic which transplants these shapes and angles into a soulful, organic, yet highly mathematical form of abstraction. Merging his traditional graffiti education, his inclination toward “certain colour forms and certain application techniques”, with his deep love of illustration and preliminary design, his fondness for “drafts, architectural renderings and pre-production concepts”, Kofie plays with form and line, with balance and depth, twisting and manipulating his murals, his illustrations, his compositions, into ever new and dramatic arrangements.
Born and raised in Los Angeles, Kofie’s instinct to draw was cultivated through the creativity of his mother. Whilst she was studying fine arts at UCLA, Kofie was using the supplies that lay around his house to start experimenting on his own, he starting to excel in drawing by the time he had reached middle school. Whilst his art education never went further than high school, Kofie’s real training was garnered through his time spent painting graffiti, he coming to prominence in the Los Angeles graffiti scene by the mid 1990s. Giving him an extensive understanding of both “colour and layering, points of perspective and arrangement”, graffiti not only gave Kofie his technical foundation however, it also provided the underpinning for his love of construction and form: Through drafting and sketching wildstyle pieces, “stretching the letters out and rebuilding them, giving them varied points of perspective and basically building shapes out”, Kofie began to understand the architectural basis of writing, an understanding pushing him to focus on the linear rather than alphabetic aspects of his work. Having also felt that he had made an honest contribution to the LA graffiti scene, Kofie’s evolutionary drive meant he soon began to “distort and manipulate” his work, attempting to “re-contribute and redistribute something new”.
Developing his aesthetic into an almost pure abstraction then, dominated by the simple squares, triangles and circles that make up our structural universe, Kofie’s relentless desire to experiment and explore his visual surroundings meant he was forced to engage in a constant test of his own mindset and preconceived ideas, each work an attempt to find a geometrical solution to a graphical problem. Putting his entire soul into his work, into his craft, Kofie has thus formed an intensely layered, earthy, dynamic style of contemporary muralism, an illustrative practice which digs deep and looks forward, a practice, like the Roman God Janus, which surveys the future and the past at very the same time." - Rafael Schacter , honorary research fellow at the Department of Anthropology at University College, London, 2013.