A Q&A with artist Rosie Mudge

SMITH: Please can you tell us a little about your journey as an artist thus far?

RM: As quite a young artist my journey has been brief. But I think that an artist is only an artist in so much as they are a person. And as a person I spent a lot of time in my bedroom on the farm I grew up on, then at boarding school, then at university and now I spend a lot of time at work and in my studio. I try and travel as much as I can, and the internet is also great. To be honest I'm not even 100% sure that I altogether get what an artist is at this point, aside from being a person who articulates something. But most people do that in one way or another.

SMITH: Can you tell us a little about your creative process and approach?

RM: I draw a lot of inspiration from people's lives, personal memories, popular culture and fictionalised human emotion. Thoughts developed from these sections of life drive me towards objects, images, sentiment and materials that I use to create my work. This ranges from old telephones, pop songs, milky pens and glitter glue, video and more recently nail polish, glitter, slime and resins.

SMITH: How would you describe your work?

RM: Girly.

SMITH: What informs your choice of subject matter?

RM: A lot of my subject matter comes from experiencing the world through my own skin, and having to understand what that is and what that means. I would say the work shows an exploration into ideas of the human condition, but really I think it's more specific than that most of the time. I like to think about how we see ourselves and how we fantasize ourselves into being someone else. I like to dream about escaping - your life, your situation, your body, even your mind. I like to talk about Zombie Apocalypses because they are yet another situation in which you don't have to be yourself anymore - all bets are off at that point. There will be no bond on your house, no career to master, no marriage, no kids probably - everything will be gone. I think there's something really positive in that.

SMITH: When you’re not making art, what are you likely to spend your time doing?

RM: I would probably be curating an exhibition of someone else's art under the name Jnr. I run an independent temporary gallery with my partner James King as a non-commercial, alternative project space.

SMITH: What is your favourite city and why?

RM: I think this question is interesting considering my work for the currents show both romanticises and deconstructs the romanticism of the desire for other places, focusing on cities. I love the idea of other cities - most of them actually - and especially the art capitals of the world: New York; London; Los Angeles; Lagos; Hong Kong; Venice; the list goes on. But what I really like about these other cities is the imagining of oneself in them. Sometimes they seem so far away that you see yourself as a whole other person there, filled with the successes of the place itself. Living in South Africa means that economically those places are a lot further away and for the majority of people they will only ever be a dream.

Photograph by James King