About the artists
Artist Q&A: Alyson Fox
Photography, illustration, sculpture, textiles, animation - and many more
Neskowin, Oregon with my husband Derek and our pup Soot.
We left Texas because we wanted a cooler climate near water and many trees. The ocean was calling, so here we are.
I work in a wide variety of mediums (photography, illustration, sculpture, textiles), but the overarching goal is all the same – to make things that feel both familiar and uncomfortable and call forth some sense of mystery. I also collaborate with companies on various forms of product design.
As stated above, I work across and around many forms. My hands like to stay active, and my brain likes to experiment. Right now, I am slowly learning animation and doing a lot of ceramics that are meant to be interacted with - dressed in things you collect outside or motivate other acts of patience.
Despite working with many different tools, the process is always the same. I am invested in the in-between more than the result. I try and stay very loose and just go with it. I always have a thought and feeling behind the work when I begin, but I like to let it unfold in whatever way feels right. I get bored sticking to just one thing and find that I like the same idea presented in multiple ways/mediums because that is how I learn what it is I am trying to say.
(On her rituals) I eat a lot of snacks and put energy into plating them in fun ways. Dark chocolate daily. Hugging trees on hikes, and full moon projects.
What is your day-to-day like?
A walk outside, some emails, attempting to make something, procrastinating, staring at walls, music, making food, conversations with my better half, writing lists, narrowing down goals, collecting things from the beach, puppy time, Wordle….
How did you get started making art?
I’ve always made it. My mom said she found me in a closet with her makeup pencils before the age of two, drawing all over the walls.
What did you do before?
Before making the jump to full-time self-employment, I did visuals for Anthropologie. I have my husband to thank for the continued support so I can keep on experimenting.
Where do you find your inspiration?
Mother Nature is my favorite gallery. Traveling, food, grocery stores, well-written sentences, hardware stores…
Before I turned thirty, I did a series of portraits of women wearing the same shade of red lipstick. To my surprise, these women began telling me the most honest and vulnerable stories of their life. The individual portraits turned into a community of fantastic women and their beautiful stories. I took their portraits, but the stories shared between myself, and the 175 other women is beyond anything my camera could capture. I think of those women often and am so thankful to them. I have also tried to think if there was a way to capture those stories, but there is something that happens when nothing is planned or asked of someone in an imitate exchange that would have been entirely different if it was. So those moments are only private ones, and the best behind-the-scenes stories to date. The series was, thankfully, published by Chronicle Books.
I got an email from someone who had some of my earlier work on dinnerware telling me how it helped her get through her divorce. Getting emails from people who own my work is the best part of the gig, but this one felt very healing and emotional. To be able to support someone, even just a little, during a trying time and inspire someone else is all you can ask for as a human and an artist. I was so thankful to her for her vulnerability and strength and really enjoyed our exchange.
The simple act of reaching out and connecting to someone else has a profound ripple effect. Those emails are big motivators.
Connecting with other humans. Since graduate school, I have always done personal, collaborative projects that rely on other people’s stories to guide the work. I find myself gravitating to those kinds of collaborations more these days.
To keep myself open to things, to connect with people, and to exercise that supremely powerful tool of the imagination so it stays in good working order.
They’re mostly about creating and combining simple shapes that somehow, through their forms, call forth a kind of myth you haven’t heard or seen or read about but that feels like it has always been there, somewhere under the surface.
I hope, mainly, that someone just feels like they want to take the time to stop and look. We move so quickly from this thing to that these days, if a piece of mine can motivate someone to still themselves for a moment and just examine any feeling they might have, whether confusion, nostalgia, sadness, balance, etc, that feels pretty worthwhile.