Danny Fox was introduced to CNB Gallery by artist Sue Webster. She became a fan of his after she found him drinking in her local boozer, “He had long greasy biker length hair, a mouthful of metal and adorned himself with handmade prison tattoos.” A year after this first meet, Danny convinced Sue to visit him in his studio in Kentish Town to look at his work and offer any comments.
‘There was simply no more room to breathe and I felt a duty to exhume these unfamiliar masterpieces before the painter suffocated and died – another undiscovered artist suffocated by the toxicity of his own genius.’
Predominantly a painter of expansive canvases, Danny Fox’s multiplicity of talents quite possibly justifies him the label of contemporary, urban, Renaissance man. Above all else, he is a unique interpreter of his experiences, making his canvases a requiem for the real and imagined, his Cornish past and London present, and the conventional or, more often, unconventional moments of his life.
Pushed up against the low ceilings of the gallery, Danny Fox’s giant canvases engulf the viewer in a myriad of colour, texture and imagery. In this body of work, simply entitled ‘Paintings’, Danny Fox presents a substantially unseen assemblage of imagery and emblems. Arranged as if a constellation of symbols across the paintings in this series, for Danny Fox one idea doesn’t exhaust itself in one painting but continues throughout the series, therefore various specific motifs and figures consistently repeat themselves. Caked in layers of pigment, and paintings past that have been covered over, Fox’s canvases each take on a history of their own.
Raised in St. Ives, a town synonymous with the work of fisherman-artist Alfred Wallis, Fox’s first experience of art came from Wallis’ sprawling naïve depictions of local fishing boats skulking into the harbor. While Wallis’ subdued bluish tones might not resemble the vivid pigment Fox applies to the canvas, the works by each artist instead maintain an uncanny spatial resemblance. Danny Fox has been likened to many of the greats including Matisse and Picasso.
‘‘White Girls Sleep Standing Up’ painted from an original sketch of a gang of strippers posing between shifts at the White Horse Gentleman’s Club on Redchurch Street […] The pale tones of their veal-like skin that rarely ever saw the light of day brought me to Picasso once more and reminded me of a breakthrough painting of his just before he went on to develop his cubist ideas – ‘Les Demoiselles d’Avignon’
After Danny Fox moved to London he has proceeded to develop an artistic career, having no formal tuition, unless you count the still life painting his grandma made him do to curtail his childish boredom. He is opposed to the title of ‘self-taught’ artist, preferring his art to be a case of ‘going for it.’
Like any of us, Danny Fox is a conglomerate of personal life experience. For him this is a variety of nights and days in pubs filled with strippers, borrowed aesthetics seen on his travels, imagined characters such as Stella (an ode to the British tourist) or even encounters with the Ladyboys of Bangkok.
‘What gives particular pleasure here is just what is stimulating about aspects of early Parisian modernism – genuine cultural seriousness, mixed with a degree of mischievous sleaze.’