Interview by Brenna Kischuk
David Foox’s latest project, NEW MONEY, is not political so much as a response to the modern icons of today’s technology-driven world. “Conceptually, this art has a focus on the leaders and icons of industry and how they shape our modern, technology-driven world and the prescient future,” Foox says. The series is limited to ten hand-painted, signed, and numbered sets each containing fourteen prints.
NEW MONEY is not the first time Foox has explored the relationship between money and art: “I consider the exchange to be quite interesting and by creating Money Art, I am best able to study the exchange metaphorically. It is far from scientific and very abstract, but that is what makes it fun to me as artist and collector.”
Foox’s energy and creativity are tangible in everything he does, whether it’s working with BRU & BRU, the travel agents to Virgin Galactic, or supporting the Coalition for the Homeless in their annual charity auction, ARTWALK NY. The end of NEW MONEY likely won’t mean the end of Foox’s study of the subject. “There is a lot more to explore,” he says. “I think a lot of age-old ideas are about to be challenged, and I hope everyone can be collaborative in their responses.”
David and I sat down to talk more about his art, his playlists, and his process.
I’m always interested in how creative projects reveal themselves to the artist. How did this project evolve?
NEW MONEY is a slow burn project that has manifested itself over many years and iterations of “money” art. Conceptually, this art is non-political and has a focus on the leaders/icons of industry and how they shape our modern, technology-driven world and the prescient future. As a believer in the “techno-utopia”, I see these modern icons as the faces of NEW MONEY.
Unlike the US Dollar, which has an open and unlimited edition to each denomination, NEW MONEY is limited to only ten sets (hand painted, signed, and numbered). Each set contains fourteen prints (the front and back of seven denominations). Sets one, two, and three were displayed at Beautique in NYC earlier this year. I am working on sets four and five now and will complete the entire project over the summer of 2014. I love this so much; it is a labor of love and joy, though painting money is quite abstract.
What materials do you use to create NEW MONEY?
Black and white lithograph from digital files, acid free archival 180gsm paper, hand painted acrylic and India ink, India ink stamp, signed and numbered, sealed with a mixture of diamond dust and sealant 1303. The artwork will outlast us all because the paint is locked in with the sealant, and the diamond dust makes the prints look exquisite and reflective.
You’ve worked with currency in the past. How does NEW MONEY differ from your previous work, for example, the Impossible Kingdom Dollars?
I’ve been creating fictional currency artwork for many years. The Impossible Kingdom Dollars (IKD) are the physical manifestation of an energy source that exists specifically in an imaginary world outside of and separate from our world. A fictional place governed by rules of illogic, similar in many ways to Terry Pratchett’s Discworld (which was inspired by Tolkien, Lovecraft, Shakespeare, the Ancient Greeks, all the good mythology). The idea was to create a magical place with currency we could theoretically acquire and spend, should we be able to travel there safely.
Specifically, I selected the Impossible Kingdom as the currency because I wanted a totally magical exchange between US Dollars and IKD; in other words collectors of my art were actually exchanging US Dollars for IKD. Obviously, over time these collectors are gaining greater value with the IKD than by keeping their US Dollars because of the limited number of IKD. The rarity (offset by the limited nature of a secondary or tertiary marketplace for IKD) equates to value over time. And this is money from an Impossible Kingdom.
This idea of inserting NEW MONEY into the art world makes my head spin in an interesting way: currency becomes both meaningful and meaningless, an interconnectedness between art and currency, art as currency over art purchased with currency, how the value of art changes independently of the value of the dollar, and how one might use art to reclaim or invent value.
You seem to be on the right track…Overall I consider the exchange between money and art to be quite interesting and by creating Money Art, I am best able to study the exchange metaphorically. Truthfully, it is far from scientific and very abstract, but that is what makes it fun to me as artist, collector, and possessor of papers reminiscent of the bonds and stock certificates of yesterday.
If you woke up tomorrow to find out your currency was accepted at 7-Eleven, what’s would you buy?
Sugar-free RedBull, potato chips, and some kind of chocolate.
I like to think that we are all making things all the time, and in an artist’s world those objects and installations take on additional significance and value. Perhaps that, in part, stems from various schools of thought on where meaning lies – with intent, with the object, or with the observer. What’s your take on all this?
The Human Being is inherently creative. Therefore, in times of abundance the most positive thing we can do is be creative. I believe the future holds a tranquil abundance that will allow more people the freedom to be creative, and perhaps even be the answer to our current predicament with the destructive forces in the world.
On the topic of significance existing in either the intention or the object or the observer, I would say, subjectively, that I approach the art with a specific intention and consider the final object (painting/print) to be that which encapsulates the intention best and is therefore directly charged with that intention. I am less concerned with the observer, as I assume this to be your average citizen of the galaxy.
The intention embedded in each painting is layered in similar to how the paint is layered onto the canvas, both with intense thought for many hours. With so much intense thought each piece tends to exude the intention quite clearly.
Since thoughts contain waves, much like light or sound, they can literally be “embedded” into the painting as it is being painted on. Future technology will be able to “hear” or “see” the thoughts embedded in the painting.
In my own work I often consider questions surrounding the line between fiction and reality, and in trying to extend this thought to the visual, it seems that visual art allows for increased distance between reality and fiction. How do you separate your making from your life, if at all, and how do others approach that space?
I did not know that visual art allows for increased distance between reality and fiction, though it would explain a lot about my life though now that you mention it…
You said that New Money “is a slow burn project that has manifested itself over many years and iterations of ‘money’ art.” Do you think you’ll continue to work with the concept of money?
I think there is a lot more to explore in the topics of MONEY, CURRENCY, ENERGY, etc. The terms feel interchangeable and in the technologically advanced impending future, electricity IS money in most respects. DATA is money, too. I think a lot of age-old ideas are about to be challenged, and I hope everyone can be collaborative in their responses to these paradigm shifts unfolding in real time. To that end, Liam McMullan and I will be working on a film called “CHANGE”, about the changing economic climate and the start of Bitcoin, The Internet of Money.
Lots of projects surrounding currency. What do you have going on outside of money-related topics?
I am going to Barcelona to collaborate with BRU & BRU (travel agents to Branson’s VIRGIN GALACTIC Space Tourism) on a print making party, so I’m pretty excited about that. And also to support the Coalition For the Homeless in their annual charity auction, ARTWALK NY, which will help alleviate homelessness in NYC.
You strike me as someone whose brain is constantly firing on all cylinders, and that often translates into stimulation, so I’m curious if you listen to music when you make art, and if so, what you listen to? Songs, genres, artists, albums, sounds, etc. How do you quiet one part of your brain so that another can speak?
For my entire career I have enjoyed strong female vocals that I play on repeat when I’m painting. For a while it was LA ROUX (“Bulletproof”), then Goldfrapp (“Alive”), then XX (“Intro”), then… Lana Del Rey (“American”, “Die Young”), then Lourde, and Iggy Azalea. What can I say, its inspiring! But to answer your other question, my brain is very quiet. I heard a saying from my friend, Oceana Light: Those who appear to move slowest are in fact moving fastest. It stuck with me.
What else informs your work?
I read a lot. Lately it’s been The Science of Mind by Ernest Holmes, anything by Manly P. Hall or Aleister Crowley. And I love William S. Burroughs an awful lot.
If you had to build a house out of only one material, exterior and interior, what would it be?
Good question. I would definitely have to say the spider silk that comes from goat’s udders. It’s like the strongest material in the world pound for pound and they’re going to make a space elevator out of it like, tomorrow.
If you had to choose between time, space, and matter, what would you choose?
Space, for it contains all time and matter within it.