Artist Alyson Fox

Hanging among family photos on the wall in my house is an illustration of four girls standing next to each other with their mouths opened wide with songbirds visually connected to their verbal outburst. It is a piece by the artist Alyson Fox from a series called Family in which she created imaginative compositions based off a fictional family’s photo album. As the oldest of four girls and daughter of a music aficionado father, this portrait feels almost biographical. Fox's figurative illustrations often have this feeling that they are graphic representations of our nostalgia—half dream, half reality. They build on our adult sense of reality and imbue it with the fascination and wonderment we experienced as a child. This piece is both odd and familiar and a fitting installment in my visual family narrative.

I acquired this print along with another equally compelling piece years ago when Fox and I met and decided to trade. Fox’s work has since evolved to include an attraction to bold colors and geometric shapes which make her perfectly suited for textile design and pattern making. West Elm incorporates her designs in a small textile collection, and they will also be utilized in three Hawkins New York rugs. She is also using her experience in jewelry and small object design on a collection for the new brand by H&M - & Other Stories on things ranging from jewelry, to shoes to underwear. She is also a published photographer whose compositions are similar to those in her illustrative work.

A more recent project called the Treasury Project was completed during the building of Fox’s new home and consists of the remains and discards from the construction process captured in small plaster squares. She collected little artifacts from the month's work like rubber and metal scraps, then paired each little treasure with a photo of her home slowly emerging materializing from a series of blueprints and drawings. To someone fascinated with other people's treasures this project speaks to me. The project is available at the new Little Paper Planes store in San Francisco.

With the help of modern electronic communication, and the photographic talents of Amanda Elmore, I was able to catch up with the omni-talented Alyson Fox about her personal jewelry collection and artistic processes.

1. Can you tell me about your 3-5 most favorite jewelry that you own?

1. A brass cuff that has a tooth like shape on it that I always wear. I found it at a thrift shop for 99 cents. Probably my favorite find to date.2. A orange and white Lauren Manoogian leather cuff that I got in NY and always wear pushed up my forearm3.a pair of diamonds studs set in gold that were my moms, then my sisters and now mine. All three of those pieces go with everything and have the perfect balance of masculine and feminine. One is an odd shape, one is a fantastic color and material and then the other is a perfect classic design.

2. where do you go for inspiration? what inspires?

I always find inspiration at hardware stores and at my firends houses. I am inspired by building materials, other peoples edited wares and messes. Great design and function always inspire me too.

3. What is your method and process for making?

Collecting a lot of thing in my brain that I see and have a reaction too. Sometimes they sit there for awhile and other times I am able to sit down and work on something. I also write a lot down. Generally I start with an idea and then go a little to the left of that idea and sometimes I actually end up somewhere. I think so much of my process is just about showing up everyday and working through things...good and bad. I get stuck a lot and I throw a lot out...but I know when I have something that I like  and that is such a good feeling. It happens just enough for me to keep showing up.

4. How do you think your method of jewelry collecting relates to your artistic process?

I think it relates in just knowing what I like and having an immediate reaction to it. I think Jewelry tells the most personal story about someone and their style.

5. What is next?

A small line of woven things to hang, wear and carry are in development with Artisans in Africa, Brazil and Mexico. We will see what takes shape there! I"m also working on rugs and blankets with a company.

Check out more of Alyson Fox's work here:

photos by: Amanda Elmore ||