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Chico State's independent student newspaper

The Orion

Chico State's independent student newspaper

The Orion

Chico State's independent student newspaper

The Orion

Artist of the Week: Marie Fox

Marie Fox is a Chico State student who uses fabrics as her main medium and incorporates her childhood memories into her works. Photo credit: Sean Martens

Marie Fox is a fourth-year fine arts and art education major who incorporates fabrics, stitching and especially family memories into the drawing skills she learned through her memory-rich childhood. The 25 year old plans to start her teaching credentials program after finishing her Bachelor of Fine Arts later this year.

Can you describe yourself a little bit?

I was born in Southern California but my family has lived up in Butte County since I was about two. I mostly grew up in Berry Creek and Oroville and I spent a lot of time in Rackerby where my grandma lived, she lived near the post office where everyone in Bangor gets their mail.

I lived in Oroville for a while and then I only moved to Chico about two or three years ago, so it still feels new to me. I guess I’m a senior, I am done with my BFA program in the Fall and I’m a double-major in art education. I finished that degree already and I plan on going into the credential program next spring.

When did you start creating art?

My family has always been crafty and artsy. My uncle and grandpa did a lot of woodwork and my uncle is a talented artist but mostly just did drawings and wood-burnings that we have around the family home. My grandpa loved doing paint by numbers and my great-grandma was a painter.

My dad drew recreationally and so I would hang out with him before work. He supported three kids as a single dad and we would draw together. In high school that was the best class I had taken. So I entered college as a fashion major and then I decided to switch to art.

What was the defining moment where you knew you wanted to take up art as a career?

It took me probably four years to realize it was OK to be an artist. I was scared to give in to that because I knew people wouldn’t really support me. My family is fairly supportive and I was a fashion major because fashion is kind of a commercial side of art,or applied arts. I was a math tutor at Butte College when I realized I wanted to be teaching.

So I just tried to embrace my art and not worry about what other people thought. I’ve always kinda wanted to be a teacher, where I feel like that’s another profession that people often advise against. I have always felt like my biggest role models were my teachers. The most meaningful relationships have been people telling me I could do it. Most of my mentors have been instructors, and I really respect the profession. I want a job where I can benefit people’s lives.

What are some of your inspirations?

My grandma and grandpa moved to Rackerby in 1973, so they lived in Michigan and Southern California for a while and just lived a blue-collar life, partially because they were born in the Depression era. They lived the homesteading kind of a life, they had a big garden so they grew a lot of their own food and they did a lot of preserving in the cellar, which was a dirt hole with a light in it. So we didn’t grow up with a lot of money but it was still really rich because of all that stuff.

My grandpa was a very skilled craftsman and woodworker and he built the workshop and garage on their property. My uncle was an artist and woodworker, so there’s a lot of history in this place.

Basically after my grandpa died in 2006, things started to fall apart a little bit, everyone was getting older, fewer family gatherings (were being held) until the point where my grandma was just too old to live 45 minutes out of town. Since they didn’t have a lot of money they had to sell the house and move her into town a couple years ago.

Around last year or so it really started to hit me that I won’t be taking my kids there and all that history that was built there over forty years is just gone now. Realistically it is pretty unlikely that any of my family will get that kind of property again and (be) living that way. I never realized that was my childhood home. I lived in other places but that was the place. A lot of my work is about dealing with losing that place. I only have it in memories and a few photos but if I lose the memory of that it is gone.

Mitchell Kret can be reached at [email protected] or @theorion_arts on Twitter.

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