We met Fox in Brunswick Square where he was selling his work on a little stand with Kate Shields who we blogged about last week. Having done a bit of research online we then discovered that Fox had founded Studio Salute. We wanted to find out a little more about it:
Firstly tell us a little bit about Studio Salute, what sort of things go on there and how did it all come about?
Salute involves adventures in design, illustration, screen-printing, paste-ups and stop-frame animation. I set up Studio Salute after completing my MA (Design & Illustration) in 2007. It’s a lot of fun.
Where do you get your inspiration from?
Over-prints at the studio where I work are really inspiring. I work closely with Ink Spot Press as a tutor of digital prep, as well as founder of New Blood Print Club (a one day Screen Printing course for newbies). I also do all their design. The best thing about coming into such an open studio, is there’s always something interesting going on. At the moment of writing this, there is a letterpress course happening. I love experimental and collaborative print-work.
Other inspiration comes from photography, Brighton history and a wish to try new techniques either digitally or in print. Experimentation is the driving force, whether it’s with metallic inks, painted backgrounds or drawing directly onto transparencies.
We love ‘By Beast or By Bicycle’ what was the thought behind this piece?
Thanks! ‘By Beast or By Bicycle’ was one of the first large prints I created. Printing large pieces of work, takes a lot more effort as there is much more to go wrong, so it was an experiment in large format printing. ‘By Beast or By Bicycle’ was the first of my prints to be taken on by Art Republic; selling the edition was one of the first times I felt like a real artist. I like creating print which are pleasing to the eye and have a deeper meaning. The print explores themes of transport, travel, time, movement and the mythical (the unicorn in the print).
Your work is mainly multi layered screen prints, using a combination of illustration and photography, talk us through the process of creating a print do you start with a plan and concept in mind?
I will usually start in the realm of the digital, mocking up layers in Adobe Illustrator. The reason screen-printing ‘clicked’ with me is because of its’ versatility from photography to the hand-drawn. Once you put it through a screen, it takes on another feel. Layering up images mean that the brain tries to connect the two, and it can also create new colours and textures.
Recently, I feel like I’ve stepped up a gear in printing. That was partly from my latest edition of one-offs on Japanese plywood. I didn’t have to clamp the screen into the print bed, I would simply print it directly onto the wood, which felt extremely freeing. Also, if anything wasn’t quite right, I could either sand it down or keep layering up.
I know a lot of artists print through large print houses like Coriander or Harwood King. Perhaps in the future I would outsource my printing, but I feel that you relinquish too much, especially when you’re still experimenting. The thing I love about screen-printing is you are constantly learning new techniques. I’ve been printing for over 7 years and I feel like I’m just about getting to grips with the art of screen printing. Outsourcing the print aspect (and just concentrating on the designing) means you miss out on the best part of the process: seeing your designs come to life and the ability to change aspects as you go along (like colour or layering).
How important to you is it to mix with other artists and do you ever do collaborations?
I love creating work with other artists. I’m currently working with Jane Sampson (the legend that taught me screen printing and runs Ink Spot Press) to create some really tasty prints. We sat down one day and created a list of everything that inspired us. It’s a very long list.
The aim is to step it up a gear, with all our collective knowledge, to become an Andy Warhol style screen-printing factory.
Collaboration is fantastic, as it takes away some control, you get more done in a shorter space of time and I feel more comfortable about ‘bigging’ up the work. I find it difficult to blow my own trumpet.
What has been you proudest moment in your artistic career so far?
Initially selling my work at Art Republic was a real achievement. I’ve also done extremely well with every competition I’ve entered: I was surprised to win the cut & paste 2-D Design Competition and it was a real boost of confidence to represent London in the global championships in NYC. More recently, winning the Adobe Tshirt competition (which included £5000) enabled me to buy a Canon 5D.
Having my first ever solo show after being artist-in-residence at the Artist Residence Hotel & Gallery, felt really special. Art Directing the Dark Horse music video was pretty awesome too.
Fox Appeared on My Transsexual Summer, which was a channel 4 documentary we were addicted to when it came out, and was a huge achievement which led to the Fox’s creation of My Genderation Film series which documents peoples experiences and stories about their gender and journey to happiness.
Recent arty interviews:
Emilie & Jen