“A pinch of salt and a pristine finish is enough impact to last a lifetime.”
Emerging film artist Robert Fox‘s work is so distinctive that only one minute into his videos you’ll already be so hooked and involved that his world starts to permeate yours. Brash and jazzy colours construct a reality of arresting text, intense close-ups, thought-out styling and whimsical cinematography. And while it may sound or seem that it’s simply the execution and production part of Robert Fox‘s videos that makes his work noteworthy, it is also the underlying and persistent social and political aspect of his art that really makes you take a step back, reflect and want to see and know more. Being the mind behind favourite videos of ours such as HMLTD’s Proxy Love and Maison the Faux’s latest PREMIERE film, Robert Fox is one we’re excited to sit down and have a chat with.
Before we dig deep, let’s take a step back. Where are you from and what’s your academic background?
Hello new friends, I’m from a small countryside village in the Lake District, England. I moved to London when I was eighteen and studied Fine Art at Goldsmiths University after a year at Camberwell College of Arts.
Would you say these personal specifities permeate your work or style in some way?
I didn’t relate at all to the remote environment that I grew up in and therefore went inside myself to create worlds that I wanted to both participate in and be in control of. My parameters of perception, in relation to what interested me, weren’t based on reality, but on what I imagined things to be like. I assume this has lead me to trust my creative instinct and allow my imagination to take precedent. That, and a great relationship with Google Search.
Your film work seems to draw from many sources of inspiration. What are some major cultural or social references that you keep revisiting?
Constant sources of inspiration for me are generally all clichés and stereotypes, social dynamics, mysticism and obscure grammar translations on English slogan T-shirts produced in non-English speaking countries.
We’ve seen you make videos for musicians, bands, and fashion houses. What are fashion and music’s role in your creative process? How do these two creative fields inform your work?
Fashion and music are just a few branches that have allowed me to spread my DNA further. The process of filing myself into the cabinet of another context is something that gets me off.
Every aspect of the videos you create seems to be highly stylized, from the clothing choices to make-up, hair and overall set production. Is this your intuition speaking or a conscious choice you make? Can you take us on a short journey through that creative process?
I think the two aren’t mutually exclusive. In terms of my process, I begin as the boss and make conscious decisions based on my intuition. Then, I switch roles and turn into my own employee, becoming a slave to my prior decisions. One wouldn’t drastically question the intentions of their boss unless absolutely necessary. It’s mechanical method acting. Practical makes perfect. Side note—I’m a Gemini.
Personally, I find colour to be an omnipresent character throughout your work, almost having a life of its own. Why is that?
I think it’s the one character you can rely on to be pretty much exactly as you imagine it to be from the very beginning. It’s also an unspoken language and mood dictator. For me, it deserves all the attention it can get because I’m so sensitive to what colour says and makes me feel.
Your latest project with Maison the Faux literally blew our wigs off. How did your ongoing collaboration with them come to be?
We met less than two years ago and it quickly became apparent that our ideologies and sense of humour compliment each other. They give me the trust to react to each collection and add a new layer of interpretation. The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree with any theme, so it’s a total field day having the best ingredients to make a marvellous apple pie every time.
Is there a video or film you wish you had directed, or an artist you are currently dying to work with?
I’d love to make a psychological thriller screen adaption of Malcolm Gladwell’s book The Tipping Point, set on a cruise liner, staring Malcolm Gladwell himself and Shelley Duvall.
As a young establishing artist, do you have any advice for other creatives who also currently building up their artistic visions and careers?
A pinch of salt and a pristine finish is enough impact to last a lifetime. Or at least until next season.
Words by Valkan Dechev
Main image by Ethan James Green, other images are stills from Robert Fox’s video Dreamz Come True and music videos for Proxy Love by HMLTD and Burn So Deep by Jimmy Edgar.