Jack Fox is a new kid on the block. Coming from a lineage of creatives that includes Sins of Style’s Tyler B Murphy and Faith 47, Fox is beginning to create a unique voice in and amongst Cape Town’s diverse, vibrant and ever-expanding local street art scene. With murals popping up around the city’s CBD, Woodstock and Salt River areas, Fox’s increasing visibility continues to intrigue and ultimately begs the question, who really is Jack Fox?
Having managed to track Fox down, we met up to chat about the importance of collaboration, the influence of creative parents and what it means to create a critical voice as a young, emerging artist in Cape Town’s street art scene.
Having grown up with creative parents, how influential have they been for you and your practice?
My parents have been influential by encouraging my drawing from an early age. The thing I like most of all about having artistic parents is that through them I learnt about art and the sub culture around it. Additionally, I have met my parents’ artist friends which has also seen me learn a lot. Aside from art however, the biggest influence my parents have had on me is to instil the urge to travel.
This urge has meant that you have travelled extensively, where have you been to and how has painting in different cities, amongst differing cultures shaped the way you create?
Travelling and painting makes you extremely aware of being in the moment and it makes me feel like anything is possible. Recognising this experience, it has made me highly motivated to see more of the world. So far I have been to Canada, China, America, Denmark, Switzerland, France, Reunion Island, Madagascar, England, Scotland, Italy and Spain. Out of all these places, I found that China was my favourite place because it was the most insanely beautiful haze of chaos. It felt like the future.
That being said, are you inspired by what is happening in the street art scene in South Africa and how important has it been to collaborate with your local peers?
I am a huge fan of local street art in Cape Town and Joburg. I think that it’s very important to pay attention to what is happening locally and keep an open mind when you look at new street art and music. I think that creativity is a subconscious resource that we all are connected to and share. Most recently, I have collaborated jhonny1allison a young artist from Pretoria and his brother Black Koki is someone I have been a fan of for many years. I feel this process of collaborating with artists widens your ideas and ultimately challenges you in new, good and exciting ways.
Working as a street artist one has to navigate a fine line between graffiti and street art, how do you differentiate between both and why?
From an early age I was drawn to the graffiti scene. But, as I got older I became increasingly interested in street art. I found that the biggest difference between the two and what ultimately drew me to street art, was that in the latter the style and techniques were so individual. I could really see that street artists were different and more interesting in many ways. In graffiti, it’s first and foremost about the letters and then the characters come second and I had always preferred doing characters.
This preference for character development has also led to your interest in illustration and animation. How do all these spheres, along with music connect in your practice?
I think that my street art, animation and music connect to create a reflection of my life. I always try to draw with feeling behind the image and don’t always use sketches. It is an intuitive process because I often have an idea I’m sitting on that I haven’t drawn yet. Additionally, music plays a big role in my creative process. I am highly interested in all new styles of music, particularly witch house, kwaito, trap, indie and gangster rap and how it relates to what I am creating.
Interview by Houghton Kinsman