We came to learn about Funmi through her striking collages, which have been featured in Black Collagists: The Book by Teri Henderson, and exhibited at the Tate Modern, no less. However, it’s clear that Fumni’s ability to communicate, and dig into, complex social ideas goes beyond the medium of collage. She’s also a freelance journalist, having written pieces for industry-leading publications, including Cosmopolitan UK and gal-dem. Here, she shares a little of her journey so far, including how she started out collaging. Plus, some helpful thoughts on the importance of knowing your stuff and seeking mentorship, especially from creatives who share your background. Enjoy!
Funmi, what’s your creative occupation?
I’m a collage artist and freelance journalist. I started writing and creating art consistently in 2018. As an all-round media professional, communication summarises most of my work.
Where have you been?
I have a multidisciplinary career, evident in how I move seamlessly between different forms of communication. I started collaging when I was in primary school, mainly making mood boards based on fashion, or interesting landscapes. Then, I started submitting my work to places like the now-closed Rookie Mag by Tavi Gevinson, to feature on their site and Instagram. They had these collage kits that I would use to create the collages I would submit. My practice grew from there to where I am now; building my online community on Instagram and getting commissioned by brands and institutions like the Tate, Tinder and more. Additionally, I worked in student media at The Tab Edinburgh for almost two years, as well as interning at The Tab HQ in London.
Where are you now?
At the minute, I’m rounding off my bachelor’s degree and awaiting results. I study English Literature and have enjoyed improving my critical thinking and literary analysis skills over the years. In the meantime, I’m doing any freelance writing and art projects I can get my hands on before moving into the PR industry later this year. I enjoy writing features, where I can give more context behind the news and spotlight key social issues. For instance, I recently wrote a feature for gal-dem where I got to dive into the historical biases behind TikTok beauty trends. I like stories that are conscious of history, and that can track solutions, to see what responses to social issues are and aren’t working – and why.
Where are you going?
I plan on expanding my creative practice in whatever ways feel most natural, and committing to working in line with my values and interests, whatever project comes my way. I don’t like setting specific goals, e.g. working for a certain company, because I like to keep my horizons open.
I’m invested in society and the issues that lie under the surface of what is readily discussed. I love pop culture and finding the answers to questions about what people consume, in terms of ideas and material things.
Finally, what’s occupying your thoughts today?
Different industries require different skills and, at the beginning of your journey, it’s vital to understand what those specific skills and experiences are so that you put yourself in a position to make progress. In my case, I’m a Journalist and started out freelancing and volunteering in student media to learn how to put an article together; the fundamentals of media law, image editing, SEO optimisation and publishing content using WordPress as a CMS. I also joined Twitter for the more invisible, long-term process of networking and sharing my work. Also, seek mentorship from people that look like you. Even if they are from a different background, their insights could be useful if they have a career you aspire to.
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