Ohhh, for the love of art!
fluoroDIGITAL interview 2013
WARREN J FOX
Inspired by music, black and white imagery and a range of other mediums,Warren J Fox spoke to fluoro about 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 from nowhere and grabs you, just like art does – it happens when a artistic creation comes to life. You hear a song – it didn’t exist one day, the next it does. It becomes a kind of theme song to life, a masterpiece relating to me. Like the first time I heard my uncle playing Jazz. He had this classic reel-to-reel audio tape player. I was captivated by the sax, whilst listen to the beat. The tempo and the trumpets weaved themselves through the soulful sounds. In essence, Jazz is made up, with personal interpretation based on individual critique. Whether you love it or not, musicians put their hearts out on display and art to me is the very much the same.
(f) You work across a variety of disciplines, what draws you towards choosing a particular medium?
(WJF) There’s magic in the realms of the black and white image. A picture illustrates a message. Emotive tones, whether it displays soft or strong light, pin sharp or obvious depth of field, are all 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 the true essence. Black and white has a special magic but the richness and vibrancy of 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. A difficult choice to leave everything and start again, but a new town brings new challenges. London’s definitely different to the warmth of back home, but intuitive whispers keep me going. This bohemian path is part of a greater journey. For me, art has a richer culture in London. It’s history is amazing, with its cultural depth, not to mention 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 and objectively, graphic design and the world of advertising kept me parallel to this creative path. Typography, design, colour, layout etc are all part of this rich tapestry. The flip side? My creative passion diminished, losing a sense of self and craft. Working for others is rewarding, but this path needed exploring. Giving it all up to live on the other side of the world, to create for myself is extremely daunting! Whilst picking up the pens and pencils to push 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 know my admiration for his work, but describing my illustration skill couldn’t be conveyed via messages or emails. Jpegs illustrating my depth and detail couldn’t the replace the real deal. One day, little whispers rang loud and clear, ‘Send him a drawing!’. Silence gave way to the tension of further whispers, ‘Give him an original!” At first I couldn’t. Why would I just give it away? Few weeks passed, and I bit the bullet. I mailed him my Miles Davis original illustration. He received this warmly, saying he’d hadn’t seen this depth of detail before from any illustration depicting his work. And in signing off, he said he’d send me a gift. Sadly, a week or two later the great man passed away.
Seeing the two New Orleans street funeral processions, conveying the love and respect for this man, had an impact on me. It illustrated his love he had from 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 revealed something greater. A personally signed print, showing his own gratitude became the magic to this story. (see image opposite).
(f) What are your plans for the future?
(WJF) 2013 has a Portrait theme for me. The body of my portrait photography is growing, with people oozing unique presence becoming more and more intriguing to me. The façade of the typical advertising rhetoric shifts my focus to the true soul individuals. Capturing this is a vision of mine. Shifting my focus from illustrating black and white to colour is also part of the plan. This fusion, drawing on bright colors, merged with the depth of photo-realism, is my 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 their own creativity, not to mention mine. These shifts and end results scared me a little as I’ve never been one to teach. My course illustrates two avenues of focus, when we create art. The power of this reality is palpable, creating a platform to allow others to express their own artistic style. Art from their heart and art they truly love.
Mon 18 Feb 2013