Grad Guide 2020: Tasmin Randall
For Tasmin Randall there was never any question that she’d pursue art. Having completed her BFA studies at Makhanda’s Rhodes University, she’s staying on this year to attain her master’s in fine arts. Her 2020 graduate work, shaped both in terms of format and concept by the limitations of lockdown, conveys her struggle adjusting to the “new normal”. The virtual world Mundane Marcadia was built around the loop-like experiences of living during the Covid-19 pandemic, with serious restrictions placed on personal freedom. In the following Q&A for our annual graduate series, we got to know Randall a little better.
What inspired you to pursue a path in art?
I honestly couldn’t see myself studying any other major. In high school, I did both design (ceramics) and art theory as one of my main subjects. I excelled in art at school, so when it came down to deciding what I wanted to study I went with what I knew best and what I enjoyed the most.
Tell us about your graduate exhibition in terms of concept, medium, process, and the final work(s).
For my grad show exhibition, I aimed to create art that’s fun and interactive. My initial idea was to recreate a game center. However, because of the pandemic and unexpected lockdown, my concept and idea of an installation had to change. Continuing with the gaming concept, I found myself recreating classic arcade games based on our everyday struggle with the lockdown and “new normal”. Through digital illustration and a bit of HTML coding, the exhibition slowly became a virtual world known as Mundane Marcadia.
Mundane Marcadia is an interactive virtual world based on the pandemic and international lockdown. Inspired by classic arcade games, the virtual realm is quite flawed and thus reflects on the dysfunctionality we call 2020. The concept of the virtual realm, conveyed through a suburban home and mundanity of choices, comments on the frustrating loop-like experiences I’ve faced throughout lockdown.
What are you currently interested in exploring as an artist?
Currently, I am interested in exploring identity politics specifically ‘Coloured’ culture, and the intersectionality between ‘Colouredness’ and Blackness. I feel it’s important to educate both ourselves and others about different cultures and identities. I often find that there is a persistent confusion and denial of ‘Coloured’ culture. Many fail to acknowledge how multifaceted these communities are, therefore they appear inaccurate and invalid to some. What’s also important to note is that cultural identity is never complete and can’t be defined, therefore I will be exploring the topic based on my perspectives and personal experiences within my community.
What are your thoughts about the role of art in society today?
Art has always played a huge role in society, from spreading awareness and educating the masses to bringing comfort and entertainment. I think people tend to look at art in a very simplistic way. For most people, art is often associated with more traditional mediums such as paintings and sculptures within a white cube or museum. Yet it is all around us, from our furniture, architecture, the apps on our smartphones to the designs of everyday products.
Who are some of the South African artists you admire?
I am a fan of Delmaine Donson’s digital portraits and her style of drawing. I also admire Karabo Poppy Moletsane’s work, her style is super dope and unique. The fact that they both collaborated with big international companies through digital and graphic design is quite inspirational. Another inspiration is Thania Petersen, I admire how she explores and expresses her identity and heritage through her art.
What are your plans for 2021?
My plans for 2021 are mainly to continue my studies and work on my craft, I’m doing my master’s this year at Rhodes University.
Follow @tasmin.randall on Instagram.
Grad Guide is an annual series from Between 10and5, profiling some of South Africa’s most exciting creative graduates across the fields of fashion, art, photography and design. Find the full 2020 Grad Guide here.