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Court of the Dead

Dec 7, 2010

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A visit with Foox at his NYC studio: x-rays, Buddha and potted plants

Foox in his studio with his pet shark and some compelling lightbox/x-ray pieces

David Foox is a singular fellow: a child of the stars, living and working in NYC, an artist and a toy designer. He's at once mystical, spiritual, factual and gentlemanly. Roll it all together with furry mane of hair, and you have a genuinely compelling person. Fooxie recently invited us to come visit him at his studio- I needed to pick up some more of his Organ Donors mini figures for our shop, and some prints, and why not go for a tour of his studio as well?
 I had NO IDEA what I was getting us into.
Foox's "studio," if you can call it that, is a 100,000 square-foot full floor in an office building in the Financial District of downtown NYC.
The amount of space he has is mind-bending, and I am still dizzy from the nighttime views of the city from 20 floors up. Foox's actual painting studio occupies a window office at the corner of the building, overlooking the Staten Island Ferry Terminal. His receptionist has a desk outside his studio. There's a fantastic reception area, a room dedicated to Michael Jackson, a mini studio for platinum-selling artist Pizzi, funky masks, toys, prints and paintings everywhere. Apparently, somehow, he has the run of the entire floor. At some point it appears that Foox stopped trying to populate each room with his stuff: Foox-related items pop up in slowly spreading blobs, like ink seeping and creeping through the fibers of thick paper. But many window offices and cubicles remain empty. It would be impossible for him to fill up the floor.
Don't ask.

 The juxtaposition of Foox's mystical artwork inside the framework of an empty corporate office space was jarring, to say the least. We all thought it would be best to take turns wearing a cheap lamb mask and carry around a bunch of half-deflated birthday balloons. We galloped and traipsed through endless corridors, rooms filled with empty cubicles and corporate reception areas, complete with potted plants. 
It was surreal.

And speaking of the surreal, there was a lot of Foox artwork to see:
Custom Toy2R BunneeQ Qee figure by Foox
The above Foox-customized Toy2R BunneeQ is a part of a project Foox is working on- more installation art than simple custom toy, this project apparently entails giant Qees standing on red carpets, inside brightly-painted caskets.
I was lucky enough to see a custom tyrannoCecilrex by Nathan Hamill (below) which apparently no one had ever taken a picture of, so I rectified this egregious oversight by snapping some pics myself (see more images of the custom here):
Custom tyrannoCECILrex by Foox
I was also able to get the skinny on Foox's "The Fifth Letter" print series, which is extensive, complex and laden with symbolism. Each individually numbered giclee print is a sort of Foox currency- just over 6 inches long, each based upon a larger painting by Foox. Each successive print release is smaller in quantity than the one before. Foox has also taken note of the buyers of each numbered print in every series (see below), and he plans on releasing that info so that collectors can trade and seek out specific prints that they'd like to add to their collection. In this way the whole series becomes interactive between the collectors.
Foox shows us the list where he keeps track of the buyers of his Fortune prints.

The Fifth Letter print runs are as follows:
FORTUNE (Ed of 100 sold out)
FAME (Ed of 90 sold out)
FAITH (Ed of 80 - 2 available)
FATE (Ed of 70 - 4 available)
FANTASY (Ed of 60 - 9 available)
FREEDOM Red (Ed of 50 - 23 available)
FREEDOM Blue (Ed of 50 - 26 available)
FREEDOM White (private collection only)
FUTURE (not yet released;  Ed of 40)
The remainder of the series counts down to the finale, which will have an edition of 10
Foox with his collection of his own currency prints.

Two of Foox's Fantasy prints.

I find it fascinating that Foox is literally printing his own money. But everyone who carries money needs a place to carry it, and Foox has you covered in that respect as well: behold the Foox Buddha Bucks canvas wallet, based on a painting by the same name:
Foox's Buddha Bucks canvas wallet from the Scary Money series

By now you've figured out that Foox employs a complex mixture of religious, numerical, social and societal symbolism in his artwork. But really, what does it all mean? What conclusion does it lead to? As someone who spent 4 years overanalyzing other people's artwork during critiques, I am adept at digging deep and attributing assorted meanings to the work I see in front of me. And with such rich subject matter- numerology, socio-political references, animal symbolism- it would be easy to put forth all kinds of theories on Foox's upbringing, his religious beliefs, his perception of the universe and his role therein...
But why do that? You can read into art as much as you'd like, but in the end that can become cumbersome and ruin the experience. One need not analyze every petal on the rose to see that the rose is beautiful. It's sorta like hanging out with Foox himself: there are clearly many facets of the guy that you may never uncover or understand, but it's fun enough simply to hop on the rollercoaster that is Foox's imagination. Just leave your mind open and enjoy the ride! Now if I could only convince him to set aside some office space for me, I think I might be able to find my zen....

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