Artist of the Month: Bridget Fox

by Dr. Jessie Voigts / Sep 06, 2018 /
Dr. Jessie Voigts's picture

I feel so lucky to live in Kalamazoo. This town is rife with creativity! Such is the case with our featured artist this month, Bridget Fox. She's just lovely in person, and her art? Well, it brings such joy. I especially love her paintings of water - they call to me, and soothe the soul. 

I love where I live!  Artist Bridget Fox
I love where I live!  

Bridget notes, "I'm a painter, photographer, writer, maker...who loves Kalamazoo, looking up at the clouds, quirkiness, laughter, coffee shops, the color blue, being in nature, Lake Michigan, running, the goodness in people and heart-happy adventures!"

Happy-heart when I'm near water.  Artist Bridget Fox
Happy-heart when I'm near water.

Without further ado, the words and art of Bridget Fox...

How long have you been an artist? 
When asked this question, I always reply that I took my first art class at the Kalamazoo Institute of Arts when I was 4 - and from that moment on, I knew I had to create. My family encouraged and supported me throughout my upbringing to pursue art...and they still do. In high school, my art teacher inspired and motivated me to take it to the next level while not taking myself so seriously and having fun with art. I knew I wanted to continue my education after graduation, and there was only one art school I wanted to go to...the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. It was in college that a particular professor of mine really brought my style to life. My time-line and medium ebb and flow, but the passion has always remained.  
Screen shot from my iPhone of some of my mini paintings.  Artist Bridget Fox
Screen shot from my iPhone of some of my mini paintings

Is art your full time career? 
I've never given it a chance to evolve into full time, except when I co-owned Bella Patina from 2012-15. We had a working studio and retail shop in downtown Kalamazoo. Most everything was repurposed from trash picked items, including jewelry, home decor, and furniture. We also taught workshops to adults and children. Having that outlet was definitely a dream fulfilled.  
Lake Michigan love...screen shot from my phone of multiple paintings.  Artist Bridget Fox
Lake Michigan love...screen shot from my phone of multiple paintings

Where do you work?  
I have always worked in boutique retail or the hospitality industry. My family owned the Knollwood Tavern in Kalamazoo and I was schooled pretty early on with how important it is to love what you do regardless of if you work for yourself or someone else. Have pride, take ownership, work hard, and always be friendly and genuine to everyone you meet. Besides creating now, I "Shipt". That word is new and has only been in our community for a little over a year - and I'm happy to say I've been a part of it since the grocery shopping service launched in Kalamazoo. 
I already miss this view, my favorite Kalamazoo sign!  This is a great reminder that life is always under construction and we should embrace change.  Artist Bridget Fox
I already miss this view, my favorite Kalamazoo sign!  This is a great reminder that life is always under construction and we should embrace change.

How long have you been there? 
I started "Shipting" in August of 2017. I liked the idea of having a flexible schedule so I could still be creative and if I needed to take time off, I could. Let me just say, I've never worked more or wanted to work as much as I do now. This is more than just grocery shopping. It's the best heart-happy job I've ever been a part of. I walk around with a smile on my face pretty much all day. I have met the most wonderful people and I can not say enough great things about what I am lucky to be a part of.
In full Shipting mode...this pic was taken on my 1 year anniversary with the company.  Artist Bridget Fox
In full Shipting mode...this pic was taken on my 1 year anniversary with the company.

Do you have favorite places you like to create? 
I don't have one particular place. It also depends on what I'm creating. If I'm painting, I'm usually in the kitchen...I like the natural light. If you catch me hammering or stamping, I could be outside or in the basement. When using paper materials, you might find me sitting at my desk or on the floor of my little studio nook...or sometimes I'm lazy and stay in bed and work on the computer, haha!
Repurposing book pages into beautiful gift wrapping.  Artist Bridget Fox
Repurposing book pages into beautiful gift wrapping.

What does a typical day look like? 
Fortunately for me, there is no typical day, but usually I "Shipt" 7-9 hours, go to the gym or for a run, and work on an art project in the evening (if I'm not too tired). If I'm on crunch time, I will take the whole day off to work in my studio. In the summer, I do like to take long weekends, so I'll work longer hours during the week to make up for the time off - and you'll most likely find me at Lake Michigan...one of my favorite heart-happy places to be.
This driftwood heart drifted right up to me, heart happy inspiration can be found anywhere and with anything.  Artist Bridget Fox
This driftwood heart drifted right up to me, heart happy inspiration can be found anywhere and with anything.

Is there a typical day? 
Since I make my own schedule, every day is different, but it's up to me to get done what needs to be done. I do appreciate that I can be flexible with my time or put in overtime. I like that it's not the same every day. Right now, I'm juggling commission work, maintaining inventory in a few Michigan boutiques, and working on October Art Hop where I'll be the featured artist at J-Bird Vintage in the Vine neighborhood. I'm also a monthly contributor to the Good News Paper, where I write the Art section. I have so much fun not only writing it, but taking all the pics for it as well...it's another great creative outlet for me.
This miniature oil on canvas board collection was part of the 2018 June Art Hop.  Artist Bridget Fox
This miniature oil on canvas board collection was part of the 2018 June Art Hop.

What materials do you prefer? 
Paper is my favorite, old music sheets and book pages...I love to repurpose what may have been thrown out - and I have been known to trash pick and dumpster dive on occasion. I've always painted with oils - I love the feeling of pushing the paint back and forth across the canvas, and I have to admit that I love the fragrance. Recently I discovered painting with acrylics, and am thankful for the quick dry time when I'm on deadline, compared to oils.
Simple creations from paper take on a new purpose and given a new life.  Artist Bridget Fox
Simple creations from paper take on a new purpose and given a new life.

Who doesn't love flowers...and paper ones are everlasting!  Artist Bridget Fox
Who doesn't love flowers...and paper ones are everlasting!

Where/how are you inspired? 
I'm inspired in my everyday life. Looking up, looking down, looking within, and looking out. I take much pleasure in what I see all around me. I have a little notebook of inspirations of things that I write down that may otherwise be forgotten...and lots of voice to text notes on my phone while I'm driving. I see things, look for things, find the meaning of why I see, and notice what I do. Example: I find heart shapes all the time, especially on the ground, and stop dead in my tracks to take a quick picture. It's my reminder that I'm heart-happy in my everyday world.
spiration is everywhere...even in lemons (heart).  Artist Bridget Fox
Inspiration is everywhere...even in lemons (heart)

I see this heart almost daily on the sidewalk and it always makes me smile and is a great reminder to appreciate the small every day moments. Artist Bridget Fox
I see this heart almost daily on the sidewalk and it always makes me smile and is a great reminder to appreciate the small every day moments.

Does it get any better than that...favorite Kzoo street name!  Artist Bridget Fox
Does it get any better than that...favorite Kzoo street name!

How do you know when your piece is done? 
I just do - it's weird and I can't explain it, but I know. And I know that doesn't make sense to anyone but me, lol.

Painting Lake Michigan.  Artist Bridget Fox
I really do paint with my hands!  Finger painting isn't just for kids.

Do you work on one or more pieces at a time? 
It depends on what I'm creating. If I'm painting, yes...definitely I do one piece at a time. I have to laugh - I put myself on deadline for a mini collection of 9 paintings that are a lot larger than I am used to doing. While I had a month+ to paint them, I banged them all out in 6 hours...couldn't stop, was so inspired in the moment to keep going, and going I did, lol. I definitely impressed myself, especially because I was a little (ok, a lot) intimidated to begin the project and didn't want to disappoint my clients.
Matisse said it best, "creativity takes courage". Repurposing vintage license plates.  Artist Bridget Fox
Matisse said it best: "creativity takes courage". Repurposing vintage license plates.

If you were not an artist, what would you do? 
Good question and I haven't given it a great deal of thought, as I've always somehow managed to do what I love. I seriously don't know what else I would do, but I like choices and the freedom to be on the go to explore and who knows...

Fabric rosette created using an old but beloved button-down shirt of mine.  Artist Bridget Fox
Fabric rosette created using an old but beloved button-down shirt of mine.

How can our readers find and purchase your art? 
Connect with me thru Facebook, Instagram, Etsy, The Good News Paper, and Email.  Or, please stop by J-Bird Vintage for the October Art Hop. You can also find my creations at Handmade Kalamazoo in the Vine Neighborhood next door to J-Bird, and at Possessions in Douglas and Renaissance/Papyrus in South Haven.
Hammered and hand stamped silverware. Artist Bridget Fox
Hammered and hand stamped silverware.

Would you like to share anything else with us? 
Life is unpredictable. It's full of dead-ends, detours, road blocks, under construction signs, and I wouldn't have it any other way! It's an adventure and what I thought I wanted or how I envisioned my life...well, let's just say it's been a wondrous and magical journey thus far, full of all of the above. It's about constantly being under construction within myself and not being limited to one path. I love life, love being open minded,  and love the good that is found in everyday living. I'm beyond thankful that I am an artist and can continue to reinvent myself while having the opportunity to pursue this dream since age 4!
Running inspiration, taking it all in.  Artist Bridget Fox
Running inspiration, taking it all in.

Find Bridget online:

https://www.instagram.com/bridgetfoxkzoo

https://www.facebook.com/bridgetfoxkzoo

https://www.etsy.com/shop/BridgetFoxKzoo

http://www.goodnews-paper.com

Email: bridgetfoxkzoo[at]gmail.com

October Art Hop: J-Bird Vintage (511 W. Vine St. Kalamazoo, MI)

 

Shops that carry Bridget Fox:

Handmade Kalamazoo (509 W. Vine St. Kalamazoo, MI)

Possessions (25 Center St. Douglas, MI)

Renaissance & Papyrus (507 Phoenix St. South Haven, MI)

This quote has been in my heart and repeated countlessly to everyone I know. I love it and absolutely love this pic of Lake Michigan!  Artist Bridget Fox
This quote has been in my heart and repeated countlessly to everyone I know. I love it and absolutely love this pic of Lake Michigan!

All photos courtesy and copyright Bridget Fox