Artist Margaret Zox Brown is a true New Yorker: appreciative of what it has to offer but also conscious of its impact on relationships. Her latest series focuses on the people she gets to see daily and who are all part of her life from her doorman to homeless people. Zox Brown’s most recent large-scale oil paintings have taken the form of these inhabitants — highlights of the humanity in a city often known for its impersonal nature. This exploration marks a new step in Margaret’s career as a painter (one that has spanned more than 30 years), as she dives deeper than ever into her subjects to investigate what is at the core of our human connections. In the last year alone, she has racked up several group and solo shows across NYC, the most recent being at the Kaufman Arcade in the Garment District.
I was happy to get to chat about her artistic path, her latest work and upcoming projects.
You come from an artistic family, how did it influence you? How did you find your own voice?
Indeed, my mother is an interior designer and my cousin was the artist Larry Zox. This has led me to have an eye and interest in art. I have been painting for the past 31 years and showing and selling my art for 26 years. After many evolutions with my art, it has arrived at a place where through all I have learned about color, form, paint application, light, line and how to lead my viewer through each canvas, it now offers and genuinely encourages an emotional connection with my view of the world and my viewers’ personal feelings around what I have highlighted.
Tell us about your latest series focusing on characters of New York?
Being a New Yorker, I’m fascinated by the richness of the entire city. And its people are a huge part of that. I wanted to make a series about the humanity that exists with New York’s everyday characters and the power of my relationships with those whom I know or have met: my doorman, the waiter at a favorite restaurant, the woman from the food truck outside of my studio building, a homeless men…
Do you have an anecdote that you’d like to share?
I wanted to do a painting where a homeless person would be the subject. I went to take pictures but when I looked around my own neighborhood where I live and also the one around my studio I couldn’t find any! So I asked a local Garment District policeman where I might be able to find homeless people for my art project. He told me to go to Broadway between 39th and 41st Streets at the crack of dawn. I went one morning at 6:00am and met so many wonderful people. In exchange for a few dollars, I was able to take many pictures and have memorable conversations. A few days later, I stopped at a red light while on my bike and there was the homeless man I met days before. He remembered me and the thread of our previous conversation continued. The connection was so good; memorably palpable.
What’s your goal through your art?
I have always sought out what I find to be beautiful; a line, a gesture, a mood, the gracefulness of a flower, the sensuousness of fruit… And, I have always offered these things to the world who gets to experience my art. Now, though, that connection with the world is not only what I am doing painting what turns my head, I am also now expressing the magnificence of connection in and of itself. I feel like I am expressing the things that I have found make me the happiest and so I am sharing all of this with the world.
What’s you relationship with the use of social media?
I think Social Media is great. It is really wonderful that people are able to connect more and discover so many artists this way. It makes the world smaller. I use several different Social Media platforms for my art business and I believe they are really important for artists now. Artists can show their work, get a following of people interested in their work and actually sell through this exposure. The cross referencing is also so good for developing a known presence.
What is your dream project?
Having always loved the large Chagall paintings at the Metropolitan Opera/Lincoln Center, large public space acquisitions of my work has been something I dream about. In striving for this, I have had the great opportunity of being commissioned to create 3 large paintings for a New York City commercial building’s lobby. Now, I would love to create large art for a significant New York City building and this time use my some of New York characters in the art. This would really be a dream for me.
You recently had a solo show, what are your upcoming projects?
I am going to be in a group show in 2019 at a gallery I show with in Sag Harbor. And other than that, I am still working on my series of New York characters, seeking out just the right venue to bring these all out to the public.
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