Fluoro Interview with Warren J Fox
Inspired by music, black and white imagery and a range of mediums, Warren J Fox spoke to fluoro about music, the diversity in his work and the day his heart skipped a beat.
Warren J Fox was born in Melbourne, Australia. He now resides in London, UK.
(f) Many of your subjects relate to music. Can you tell us about the relationship between music and your art?
(WJF) Art to me is just like Music. You can easily lose yourself in it. Music emerges and grabs you just like art does when a artistic creation comes to life. You hear a song, which didn’t exist one day, then the next it does. It becomes a theme song to life – a masterpiece that relates to me. Like the first time I heard my uncle, playing Jazz, on his classic reel-to-reel audio tape player. Captivated by the sax, I learned to listen to the beat, the tempo, the trumpets and soulful sounds. In essence, its all made up. Personal interpretation based on the individual critic. Whether you love it or not, musicians put their hearts out on display. Art to me is the same.
(f) You work across a variety of disciplines, what draws you towards choosing a particular medium?
(WJF) There’s magic in the world of the black and white image. A picture illustrates a message with emotive tones, whether it is soft or strong light pin sharp or utilising depth of field – important ingredients in the recipe of any image. Understanding tones and detail, and relating them in an illustrative manner, lured me to using the black and white medium. Whether its hyper realistic drawings using pencil, or pointillism via ink technical pens, the depth of the image comes from the sourced image.
I lose all sense of what I’m working on and immerse myself in the art of capturing this. Black and white has a special magic. That richness in color is my next challenge.
(f) Has your decision to move from Melbourne to London changed your work?
(WJF) New adventures, seeing the world, opened my eyes to the possibility of becoming an artist once again. My love for Melbourne extends to family and friends. Difficult choice to leave everything and start again. New town, new challenges. London’s definitely different to the warmth of back home. Intuitive whispers keep me going. This bohemian path is part of journey.
For me, art has a richer essence in London. Its history is amazing, with its cultural depth and not to mention, the rest of Europe on its doorstep.
(f) Does your history in graphic design play a role in your work today?
(WJF) Yes it definitely does! I guess I’ve always loved art. Objectively, graphic design in the world of advertising kept me parallel to a creative path. Typography, design, colour, layout etc are all part of this rich tapestry. The flip side? My creative passion diminished. I lost a sense of self and craft. This path needed exploring. Working for others is rewarding. Giving it all up to live on the other side of the world, to create for yourself, extremely daunting! Picking up my pens and pencils and pushing my illustrations, I can only draw on the gifts received from the world of graphic design.
(f) You rediscovered your love for pencil illustration through Herman Leonards work’ tell us about your admiration for him and your experience?
(WJF) I contacted Herman Leonard, letting him now my admiration for his work. Describing my illustration skill couldn’t be conveyed via messages/email and jpegs illustrating my depth and detail.
Little whispers told me I had to send him an original. Tension rises, ‘Give him an original!” At first I couldn’t. Few weeks I bit the bullet and mailed him my Miles Davis illustration. He received this warmly, saying he’d send me a gift.
Sadly, a week or two later he passed away.
Seeing the two New Orleans street processions conveying the love and respect for this man, illustrated his impact he had on family, friends and the Jazz world at large. Time passed on and the vision of expecting a gift, like a signed book diminished.
A few months later, I received a 7am knock at the door. I opened it to see a Royal Mail postman with a flat pack covered by US Mail stickers too thin to be one of his books.
Opening the package, a heart beat skip revealing something greater. A personally signed print. The magic of this story came with the gratitude of a signed print (see image opposite).
(f) What are your plans for the future?
(WJF) 2013 has a Portrait theme to it.
The body of my portrait photography is growing. People with unique presence are intriguing me more.
The façade of the typical advertising rhetoric shifts my focus to the true soul individuals. Capturing this is a vision of mine.
Shifting my illustration focus from black and white to colour is also part of the plan. A fusion, drawing on bright colors merged with the depth of photo-realism, the end result.
Developing an e-course is on the agenda too. I ran a few prototypes last year, which brought people to their own artistic heart, igniting a passion within them, not to mention me. The shifts and results scared me a little. I have never been one to teach. My course illustrates two avenues of focus to creating art.
The power of this reality is palpable, creating a platform to allow others express their own art. Art from their heart. Artists creating art they truly love.