Creative Spaces (London): Danny Fox

Danny Fox has been making waves in London since getting into his first show at age 8. It isn’t easy tracking down the Cornwall-born painter, but we met up with Danny in his Kentish Town studio to talk about his work, homemade tattoos and why he might not want to win the lottery.

Milk Made: Tell us about your creative space.

Danny Fox: It’s a godsend. I worked hard for a long time in boxy rooms and at a girlfriend’s house before I got my own place to paint. Sometimes I still don’t believe it. I live in here on a bunk bed so that I have space for the big paintings. The rent is cheap, so life is good.

MM: Do you believe in the notion that, “One’s workspace is reflected in one’s work”?

DF: I think anywhere can become “one’s workspace,” although it’s hard to get a good relationship with your space when you travel a lot. You know, I grew up by the sea and never painted it… Once as an experiment, I spent a few weeks painting in an empty office block in the middle of winter. I hated it! My paintings suffered until I got back with my girl and started painting at her place.

MM: How did you start painting?

DF: My grandma looked after me a lot when I was young. If I said I was bored, I got sat at the table with a piece of paper and pencil. I thought about that a lot while painting a series of still-life flowers recently. It must have stayed with me and I’m sure a lot of pre-computer age kids had the same treatment. I didn’t paint humans until I was about 15 — my first girlfriend.

MM: You just returned from your annual show in your hometown of St Ives, Cornwall. Was this where you first exhibited?

DF: Yes, in 1994 at the tender age of 8. I was part of a show called “The Black Hand Gang.” I made a print called “Midnight Surfer” and they put it in there. It was pretty good actually. Then my mate’s dad hooked me up with a solo show in a restaurant there when I was 16 and I’ve been going back to exhibit ever since.

MM: If you were to win the lottery, do you think your work would excel or suffer?

DF: It depends if it was a scratch card or not. My work would probably suffer because I would spend a lot of time buying everyone’s drinks! If I had earned the cash, I think it would excel.

MM: Did you design any of your tattoos?

DF: Not really, they’re mainly just old tattoo flash… I like to keep it simple. Writing MUM down your arm doesn’t take much “design,” does it?

MM: Which is your favorite?

DF: My girl tattooed my hand the other day with a stick ‘n poke. It’s a good one!

MM: How would you describe your aesthetic?

DF: That’s a tough one. As a painter I don’t really use that word. I associate it with design. Painting is not design, at least not for me. People often ask me things like, “Where did you get your style from?” I’ve then explained to them that it’s not like that at all. I think style is just something that is there, similar to a fingerprint — we all have them. They’re all completely different and it’s still not amazing.

MM: Who or what has been the soundtrack to your summer so far?

DF: Tame Impala, Spiritualised, Boss Universe and POPE. Although I’ve been listening to a lot of Righteous Brothers recently, so don’t ask me to DJ your birthday party.

MM: What’s next for Danny Fox?

DF: Well, YBA’s (Young British Alcoholics) third show will open this fall in London. This year the show is called “Punch Drunk Love.” We are also looking for a platform to put on a YBA show in New York in 2014. Also I’m currently in talks with Harif Guzman about a group show that he is curating in London this winter. And if anyone’s reading this in Cornwall, or thinking about visiting… my solo show is still hanging in St Ives until September.

Photos By: Jamie Burke

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