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Behind The Scenes

Alyson Fox's Book of Portraiture

It could have been a cheesy idea: The Austin-based jewelry designer and overall creative powerhouse wanted to shoot a series of portraits of women wearing red lipstick. But the first 20 thoughtful, subtle, and intimate photographs quickly sold her (and her husband, who told her she was onto something) and eventually led to a book deal from Chronicle Books—the results of which, A Shade of Red, came out last September. Here, a look at the process and some of the images that have made the biggest impression on Alyson.“I photographed three of my friends [including Amanda, pictured above] just to see what it was going to be like. From there, it spread like wildfire. My friends would get me in touch with their friends, or their grandmas or aunts, and they would lead me to more people. I started this project to become a better photographer. I hadn’t done portraits that much, and most of these women never had their portraits taken. I had a little rule that I didn’t spend longer than an hour and fifteen minutes with every woman.”“I photographed a hundred and thirty women, and a hundred are in the book. My very favorite is Joy. I think I’m mostly drawn to older women’s portraits in general because there are so many stories to them. You can make an older woman look interesting without even having to try, because they just look so awesome.”“After the first dozen or so, I really got to thinking about the connotations of lipstick—the way we view identity. That’s where the book took shape. I got a little worried that maybe the book wouldn’t be that interesting. I really wanted just the women’s first names. I wanted it to be pretty mysterious for people. This is Ruby. You can’t tell if she’s about to squeeze that fake bird or not. And that look of hers—it’s silly.” Alyson’s newest edition would look stellar on any of these women. Score this duo of necklaces while you can.
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Alyson Fox Makes Herself at Home

To be perfectly honest here, Alyson Fox is one of those people who is annoyingly talented. She makes the sort of necklaces you want to pile on by the dozen. She put out a very compelling photography book (see here). And now she’s doing a deep dive into the domestic realm, designing the types of prints that look amazing—yet abundantly surprising—inked onto wallpaper, pillows, picture frames, and dishes (here!). Alyson was nice enough to share some of her print creations.“It all really started when I was working with a luggage company. I was working on a suitcase and wanted the interior fabric to be fun so that the exterior could be timeless. I had never attempted textiles before, and I was trying to wrap my head around how a repeat would happen. I just sort of played and really fell in love with the process. To me, it was a lot like collage—incorporating a lot of things that I was interested in. This one started with watercolor—I wanted to do a tribal print that wasn’t necessarily a classic one.”“After I did that project, my friend who was remodeling her house asked me to do the wallpaper patterns. I didn’t have any background in it, but I think I was successful because I didn’t think about it too much—or worry about how traditional wallpaper would work. I made this one for a little girl’s room—it was the first one.”“As for the color combinations—I don’t really overthink it. It’s not like how in art school you learn about the complimentary colors. I’ll try something, and if my eye likes it, I keep it. It’s amazing how many colors actually do go together in weird ways.”“Here, there is an outline of a flower with a pink ball on top of it. I like the idea of blocking out part of the pattern with colored shapes. I’m trying to do stuff I don’t usually see on traditional houseware textiles. I want them to be like my art, but in a more approachable way. I’ve always described my work as something familiar yet alarming. There’s something about it that, if you keep looking, makes you think, ‘That’s really strange.’” These colors speaking to you? Well, then check out the necklace Alyson made for her second Of a Kind edition.
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