7 minute read
The air was thick & steamy
They were packed in like sardines! The crowd had heaved and chanted with the band for about an hour. I was on bass guitar when a pint glass shattered against the wall behind us as Toms Fender went mute. I looked over, he was covered in beer clutching the guitar, his eyes meeting mine asking “WHY?” The crowd bayed for blood, we apologised, Clint attempted to explain, Tom was unsuccessfully reanimating his beloved axe when a commotion in the throng of sticky humans erupted.
The fool who’d piffed his drink had been found out. I distinctly remember this one moment after his nose was swiftly flattened and he was ejected from the pub by an Aussie fella called Chubby. Our mates were clad in some ridiculous leopard or tiger print jackets and underneath were the band tour shirts I had hand painted using white emulsion. It was the 7th of April 2007 in la Grotte du Yeti in Tignes on a tour of the French alps when the idea of adding my art to shirts and clothing was initiated at the age of 26.
Table of contents
- Where does the name Foksy come from?
- Before the world (or I) had gone mad
- It started with a song
- It wasn’t enough
- The hippy resurrection
- Reduce the heat & let simmer
Where does the name Foksy come from?
I used to be called Tapedeck cos I wanted to bring back the radness of the 80’s but I’m glad I kind of went with a more personal moniker. Cos now everyones obsessed with 80’s culture and I try as best I can to avoid following trends.
I was living in Leicestershire at the time. I required a new handle for my illustrations and I would always see plenty of foxes everywhere, the Leicestershire council logo is a flippin’ fox and on top of that they are just cool animals. (Sadly, assholes keep hunting them for sport and sport alone. They neither eat them or use any part of them. Their dogs are trained to kill and in most cases the poor little bugger is either disembowelled or dies from trauma of multiple dog bites. Shame on you spineless red coat wankers.)
So one day when I was dickin around with letters and words trying to find a name that was shorter. I came up with “foks” which all my mates at work told me it should be “foksy”. They were right and so I finally decided on a name.
Before the world (or I) had gone mad
They were simpler times. I’d grown up in Australia, I had finished my degree in Multimedia, had a deep obsession with boogie boarding and was plugging away at nothing jobs. The plan was to be a graphic designer, see the world or do both if possible. I’d been pretty creative during high school and uni but you leave the nest and suddenly your living to work: It clouds your dreams and skewers your judgement.
Bored with my surroundings I said good bye to my bong obsession and Melbourne for an 8 month trip to Europe.
It started with a song
I joined a band in Cornwall. The music sated my creative appetite in a way I had not had before. It was awesome. Europe on the back door step while we switched between Cornish surf and the mountains of France.
I was doodling away in my spare time (usually at work) and breathed music. I painted our bands banner and tour shirts. The idea of finding a graphic design job went out the window. I was having too much fun. I just figured I would wait till the right time came along. In a way I did; cos I left the band and returned to Australia with a fractured vertebrae from skiing. 8 months had become 2 years.
It wasn’t enough
I don’t know what it’s like to be a paraplegic but I know what it’s like to be told you might not walk again. That kind of news lights a fire cracker under your ass. When I recovered it drove me to score my first design job in Melbourne. It felt good, but in reality I was just doing what I was told, following social conditioning and jumping through hoops. Alas making tiny adverts for the yellow pages website wasn’t scratching the itch.
The fire cracker had had a second charge that I was unaware of. I was given the idea to go to Canada for another ski season and with that my back doctor cleared me for a return to the fluffy white stuff. Boom!
The hippy resurrection
Canada was a roller coaster. Any plans for getting creative work took a serious back seat to one giant quest for chest deep snow, hitting the road and chasing fast cash in the oil fields of Fort Mac.
I’m ashamed to say that I worked in the oil fields. I started my 1st contract surrounded by forest. 3 months later it was a panorama of nothing. The horizon of woodland was now dirt’n’dust. Where the birds and wolves called home was replaced with massive trucks, diggers and stacks of pipe. Although these company’s are contracted to leave the lease of land ‘as they found it’ it doesn’t make it any easier to witness.
Canadas mesmerising natural beauty and the stupefying thirst for natural resources led me to question my life choices. I had seen shimmering lakes, misty peaks, grizzly bears and lush deep forests. Most of it is uninhabited, it’s big, it’s entirely brilliant and I had killed a little part of it.
When I left that awesome country all I could think of was what reparations I could offer to mother earth. How to say sorry? I felt like the weeping native American at the end of Waynes World 2 except I had had a part in the destruction.
The eco conscious seed had been sewn.
Reduce the heat & let simmer
So after all the fun and excitement of adventure, personal discovery, creative ambition and rediscovering my inner hippy; I settled in the UK from London, to the East Midlands and Cornwall.
I tried to re-enter the design industry but I’d been galavanting for too long. No one cares if you lived out of a bag for 5 years. I had a 10 yr old degree, little experience and I was up against flashy younger competition who where all willing to work for free to get an in road. So I set out on my own, working on the side of full-time employment, grinding away, giving up, starting again, giving up and starting again.
I did a lot of free work for people. More than I should have and mainly cos I hate my work. I kept on it none the less. Websites, logos, illustrations, paintings, murals, t-shirts. As the creativity and art in my life returned I researched low waste living and a greener existence. This in turn ignited the pilot light and I started working on having a smaller impact on the earth and a larger voice. Foksy had found its legs and finally a voice.
The UK blessed me with a decade of dizzying highs and sickening lows but without it Foksy simply wouldn’t be. While Foksy was in its infancy, by name, I was given the opportunity to re-enter the design industry at Solve Web Media. This SEO and Web Design company in Cornwall took me in, let me flourish and wished me good luck after two years of geekery and design. The decision was made to leave sunny England as the itchy feet had returned.
Leaving the safety of full-time employment to pursue international travel during a pandemic had some of my family and friends scratching their heads. All the plans my sweet heart and I had made when we ditched the UK changed immeasurably and regularly.
- Work remotely.
- Travel sustainably by land or sea where achievable.
- Produce as little waste as possible while producing as much art as possible.
- Heck! Maybe even find some chest deep powder or get barrelled somewhere along the way!
That’s the Foksy story and I imagine there’ll be more to follow as the adventure unravels. As for now: there is no drawing board as it’s been torched but there are no regrets. À bientôt.