Born in 1973, Augustin Kofie, or KofieOne, grew up in and has made Los Angeles his lifetime home. He has been active in the LA Graffiti community since the mid-nineties. Many of his murals and productions are still on view. As he has developed over the year, his work reflects his wide range of interests: architectural templates, deconstructed lettering, vintage collage paper, contemporary music, and 1960’s-70′s iconography. Recently he became a member of the Agents of Change, a tight crew of progressive graffiti artists, which also includes Jaybo Monk and Derm from this exhibition as well. He also is a member of the Transcend Collective with Joker, Poesia and more.
With a deep interest in process and structure, Kofie creates works of intense detail centered on the order of balance. The precision of Kofie’s “drafted” art is strongly inspired by modern architecture as well as the form and shape of deconstructed typography. In his quest for balance, Kofie harmonizes opposing and contradictory dynamics in his work by setting futuristic compositions against vintage earth-toned palettes and collaged graphics, creating organically complex formations through meticulously structured line-work and layering. His style has been dubbed Vintage Futurism.
“My work and I are in constant progression. Evolution is mandatory. There is no seam that defines a beginning or ending to who I am and what I wish to produce. I do both the Graffiti and ‘art on the street’ depending on the moment and situation and especially moods. I’m a moody cat and I tend to gravitate to what I want to do to ease my restlessness. A different attention and energy is given to each form of expression here. Sometimes I want to blast on a crew production with classic characters/ letters & background scenarios. Other times I want to take a 20 year old can of outdated American spray-paint to a refused and abandoned surface and paint triangles, circles and lines without lettering, just getting loose on the foundations of line-work. I feel like Graff gave me a voice and I’ve contributed to this art form, now I have to contribute further and test my styles as well as change my own mindset and preconceived ideas of what this art form is as much as where its going.”
Drawing from his highly developed skills at lettering, Kofie has developed an abstract style that goes beyond the traditional three-dimensions of our known world into a crafted world that builds in on itself. Letters, like buildings, are the constructs from which much of the inspiration for his forms and shapes arises. His mechanically precise line-work, organically complex structures and heavy earth-tone palette develop into a multi-layered, architecturally inspired world that is a vintage futuristic realm not subject to gravity. Like the experience of listening to a jazz composition, his work is cool and controlled yet improvisational, forming a delicate balance between the calm resolve of planned order, paired with the free flowing nature of abstract improvisation.
2012: Working An Angle, Known Gallery, LA; The Geometricks, Gallery Brooklyn, NYC; Streets of the World, Opera Gallery, NYC; Urban Legends Exhibition, LA Mart, LA. 2011: Circulatory System, White Walls Gallery, San Francisco; Rudimentary Perfection (the first Graffuturist exhibition), Recoat Gallery, Glasgow, Scotland; Unintended Calculations (with Remi/Rough, Jerry Inscoe, Scot Sueme), Becker Galleries, Vancouver, BC; Street Cred: Graffiti Art from Concrete to Canvas, Pasadena Museum of California Art, Pasadena, CA; 2010: Retrofitted & Other Forms Of Vintage Futurism, White Walls Gallery, San Francisco; OP Straat, 3 man exhibition with Mear & Retna, Willem Kerseboom Gallery, Amsterdam, Netherlands; L’Art Urbain, Addict Gallery, Paris, France. 2009: Fall to Pieces, Noni Boutique, Los Angeles; Vintage Futurism, Zero1 Gallery, LA; Dreams Deferred: Artists Respond to Immigration, The Chinese American Museum (CAM), Los Angeles, CA; Metallum, duo show with Codak, Ronin Gallery, Echo Park, CA; Manifest Hope, Group Art Show for Barack Obama, Washington, DC. 2008: El Mac y Kofie, duo show, Red Letter 1 Gallery, Tampa, FL; Dumbo Incense Japan, Live showcase with Dragon 73, Kobe, Japan; Trade Bloc, BLVD Gallery, Seattle, WA. 2007: Parco Gallery, Live Art Exhibition, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo, Japan. 2006: Electric Avenue, Bent Gallery, CA. 2005: Recent Paintings, Still Life Gallery, NYC. 2002: Abstract Reality, ICU Gallery, Los Angeles, CA.
Sources: Information and texts compiled from an artist statement by Augustine Kofie on his website; a 2011 essay by Susie Lee for Arrested Motion; A 2011 interview on BrooklynStreetArt.com; and the Working An Angle 2012 press release, Known Gallery, LA.