Local Artist: Camille Fox from Bondi
Introducing the talent behind this month’s cover illustration, Bondi artist Camille Fox…
How long have you lived here? I arrived with my parents in 1960 as a French speaking migrant from the Middle East and was promptly dispatched to Bellevue Hill Primary School without knowing a word of English. Meanwhile my parents found a house in Bondi and this suburb has been my home and my base ever since.
What’s your favourite eatery? Shuk in North Bondi, for the casual atmosphere and delicious fresh Middle Eastern and Mediterranean cuisine, and Republic Bakery in Seven Ways for the best coffee.
Where do you like to have a drink? At the North Bondi RSL at dusk on the balcony overlooking the beach.
Best thing about the Eastern Suburbs? I find that the people are kind and considerate, and I love the joyful ‘shabby chic’ bohemian vibe and lack of pretension in Bondi.
Worst thing about the Eastern Suburbs? The cliche horrendous traffic congestion on the weekend! I’m grateful that all my favourite places are an easy walking distance from my house.
How would you describe your art? I like to tell stories through figurative paintings in oil on canvas. Occasionally I do portraiture and have been a finalist in the Doug Moran Portrait Prize and Portia Geach Memorial Award. I also love doing humorous vignettes in pen and gouache on paper such as The Beast’s current cover.
Where can people see your work? You can follow my Instagram account @camillefoxart and like my Facebook page, and you can also view my work on my recently launched website, www.camillefoxart.com.
Who are your artistic inspirations? For me it has to be Rembrandt. I know the Old Dutch Masters sound austere, but Rembrandt was a fabulous humorous illustrator (look at some of the facial expressions in his paintings) and his use of light was pure magic.
What are you working on at the moment? I am working on a private commission for a lady in Chicago. Her family originated from Iraq and she wants a large oil on canvas painting with a representation of her family during the glory days of Baghdad.
Do you have any exhibitions coming up? I have a current exhibition until the end of the year at the Sydney Jewish Museum. It is a series of oil paintings titled Nostalgic Glimpses of a Bygone Era depicting the golden age of Egypt back in the 1930s. I love that era and it has been a main theme in my art for a number of years.
When did you discover you had a gift for your craft? I think that ‘the gift’ is having a strong desire to create art, and I’ve had that from a very young age. I love the journey, from conjuring up the idea to putting it on canvas.
Did you study art? Yes, after high school I went to East Sydney Technical College in Darlinghurst (now the National Art School). It was the best time of my life and I vividly remember spending many hours at the pub in Taylor Square with classmates drinking brandy, lime and soda and listening to Roy Orbison’s ‘Pretty Woman’ on the juke box. Later, after a long career as an illustrator in advertising, I went to the Julian Ashton Art School to learn oil painting.
Any words of wisdom for young aspiring artists? A quote from one of my most admired people, Golda Meir: “Make the most of yourselves by fanning the tiny inner sparks of possibility into flames of achievement.”
Who is your favourite person? That would have to be my husband Tony, my rock, my companion and my soul mate.
What do you get up to on the weekends? Sometimes I paint, while at other times I meet friends for lunch or take a long stroll. Alternatively, Tony and I walk to Seven Ways, get a takeaway coffee and a muffin from Republic Bakery and sit on a bench in the sunshine and watch the passing parade for a while.
What do you do for work? I paint and I sell my paintings. I love the fact that my studio is at the back of my garden and I can stop and start anytime during the day. My work and my personal life are intrinsically intertwined.
Do you have a favourite quote? “A beautiful thing is never perfect.” – Egyptian proverb.
Any other words of wisdom for readers of The Beast? Go out to eat and drink as often as you can! Keep our cafes and restaurants in business during these challenging times.