Artist Interview: 3/16/2009  

The Illustrations of Alyson Fox

I can't seem to remember where I first saw Alyson Fox's work. No matter. The important part is that we found her. I was immediately drawn to her illustrative skill and found her work to be haunting but strangely familiar. As a general fan of a "less is more" aesthetic, I'm also drawn to Alyson's restraint. She always seems to stop working on a piece at just the right moment. My wife and I quickly realized that we wanted to live with her work in our house. A few days after emailing her about an art trade, the piece below arrived in the mail.

So, Alyson Fox, who are you, where are you, and what are you up to?
I am a stay home puppy mom (I say that jokingly, but it's half true). When I am not swooning over my little man Stache, I am making all sorts of things. Drawings, Objects and Photographs. I live in Austin, Texas with my super talented husband Derek. Currently I am working on a series of photography portraits and my collaboration with friend and designer Caitlin Mociun. We have a small underwear line coming out in a month.

It seems almost as though you are compelled to make beautiful things. Like you can’t help yourself and it all just spills out. Are we romanticizing things a bit?
I wish I could say you were not romanticizing at all, but the truth is there are good weeks, great weeks, o.k weeks and crappy weeks. I definitely try and make something everyday but it's not always beautiful or even interesting. It's all part of the process and I try to stay focused and work through things. I live a very healthy (some might say boring) lifestyle that works best for me to insure that I am at my best most of the time so I can create on a regular basis. I don't do well with lack of sleep or unhealthy habits so things are always pretty calm for me. I do let loose every now and then, but trust me I am still fun. Ha.

You seem to end your drawings at the perfect place, how do you know when to stop?
Something in the drawing comes to life and tells me to stop. I’m kidding. Thank you very much for that compliment. I’m glad it works for you. I honestly stop when it seems like something else is about to happen. Something just sort of clicks in my head and says stop.  I think less is more which is why there is always a raw quality to them and a sense that something is about to go wrong.

What can you tell us about your art-making process?
It's fun. I look at old images, read poems, go to thrift stores, daydream, sketch, erase, play with new materials, eat something, think about my past (present and future), put my head on my desk, turn on music, stretch, turn off music, tap my pencil, look at old drawings, get on the computer, cuss, roll my head, start a drawing or two, then I sit with the image and go from there.

Much of your work feels familiar; domestic, feminine and strangely inevitable. At the same time, there is something haunting going on as well. What can you tell us about these elements?
In my work I mostly explore memory, the space between childhood and adulthood, sexuality, aging, violence and gender roles. All of those fall somewhere between familiar and Alarming for me. Half true stories that unfold into interesting dynamics.

Can you illuminate the faceless people in some of your old pieces and the coffins and shadows in some of your new ones?
The faceless people for me are about not defining identity. I think my drawings work better when they are simplified. They become more universal when a face is left to fill in. The coffins and shadow are very new to me so get back to me on that.

What is the relationship between fashion and art? Does one precede the other? Do you even make a distinction?
Fashion can definitely be art. I’m not there yet though personally with my garments. I have always been interested in Fashion but I think I am more excited about the art direction of it all. Creating a bigger picture. Hence the videos on my website. I am now only making wearable designs with Mociun so I can focus more on my art. Art definitely feels more home to me than fashion.

Tell us about your new photos and sculptures.
"Ghost Series" compiles images of sheets that are covering up plants in people’s yards to keep them from freezing. That's what people in Texas do anyways (when we happen to get a cold spell). To me it's finding something haunting in the everyday. They have a very lonely, lingering feel to me. I have noticed them for years and finally decided to document them this winter.

My sculptures are found objects from thrift stores and the streets that I forged together and painted. They are titled "Tools/Weapons". I am going to make molds of some of them after my show and do limited edition porcelain pieces as well as take some elements for jewelry pieces out of metal. I am very excited about them. I just made one today. My goal is to make one a week.

What does your husband think about all this art stuff?
I think he loves it. Maybe? I'm sure he loves it more when it's my really great week. He definitely encourages it by supporting me emotionally and financially. What more could I ask for?  We met in Grad School so he knew what he was getting into. He is also very creative and driven. He co owns Coloring Book Studio, which is a interactive design firm. We balance each other out nicely.

What is the art scene like in Austin? Being from Texas, did you still vote for Obama?
Hell yea, I voted for Obama! I have a major crush on him and Michelle. See I told you I was fun. Actually most of Austin is pretty smart when it comes to Politics. Thank god. Austin is definitely a different part of Texas. The Art and Design Scene here is good. There are a lot of talented people living here and the momentum is strong. We have some great galleries (bigger as well as more independent ones) and they keep getting better and better. It's a great place to be creative.

What are you reading right now?
Franny and Zooey and this Vocabulary book I got at Goodwill from the 40's. 

Any good bands we should know about?
I'm listening to a lot of Antony and the Johnsons right now.


Check out more of Alyson's work at AlysonFox.com

Alyson was interviewed for Sezio by Eric Taggart

Tags: Artist Interview, Illustrator, Alyson Fox, Austin, Texas


vintage day dreams
petti made this post on 4/6/2009 at 2:04 pm
yes ma'am.
jordan made this post on 4/7/2009 at 9:35 am

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