Feb 28 – Valentine Distilling in Ferndale Hosting Artist Kelsey Fox Exhibition Opening
Ferndale, MI – A 1920s flapper girl sitting atop a black panther. A glamorous 1930s woman wearing an astronaut helmet on Saturn. A 1940s topless pin-up girl with black angel wings, gilded with gold.
These are just a few of the design concepts from the imagination of Royal Oak-based contemporary artist Kelsey Fox. She creates mixed-media collages out of vintage postcards and images from 19th and early 20th century magazines embellished with paint, gold leaf and pastels.
She came up with the idea after going to a small hole-in-the-wall shop up north with her mom. There, she found a box of old postcards for sale and started going through them.
“I picked one up, and it said, ‘Dear Minnie, I’ve had a bit of bad luck. My husband was hit by a car. But other than that life is great.’ I read it to my mom, and we just start cracking up,” said Fox. “I ended up making a collage with that postcard, along with pictures from an old magazine of my grandma’s. I gave it to my mom, and she loved it. That’s what started it all.”
Fox started going to estate sales and antique stores to search for the most interesting postcards. Some were love letters or notes from wars; others were about heartbreak or the death of a loved one. Inspired by the history of these postcards, Fox wanted to bring new life to the words of these people from the past.
“They would spill their guts in this short little space and hope it got to the intended recipient. This was their life; this was the only way they could communicate with each other. And I realized most of these people were probably dead – and I wanted to find a way to bring a voice to those who didn’t have a voice anymore,” said Fox.
What began as a hobby during the COVID-19pandemic has since transformed into a business – called k.fox.art – and, on Tuesday, Feb. 28, she will present her first-ever solo art exhibit. She connected with Heather DeLiso, general manager of Valentine Distilling Co., and they realized that Valentine’s Cocktail Lounge in Ferndale would be the perfect space to display Fox’s dark and eclectic work.
DeLiso said, “I love Kelsey’s aesthetic. Her art is kind of a combination of retro decoupage and something that looks like it came out of a storybook. I found it really interesting, and I knew immediately that I wanted to work with her.”
The three-hour event will kick off at 6 p.m., and admission is free. Fox’s original designs – both multi-media collages and abstract paintings – will be displayed in the main room at Valentine Distilling’s tasting room and lounge. All art will be available for purchase with one-of-a-kind pieces starting at $169 and prints starting at $60. Guests can also enjoy complimentary charcuterie from Honey and Sprig, cookies by Aviator Sweets, and a cash bar with drink specials based around Valentine’s award-winning spirits.
A percentage of the profits – along with $1 from every Valentine cocktail sold at the exhibition bar – will go toward Arts & Scraps, a Detroit-based nonprofit that uses recycled industrial materials to teach science, technology, engineering, and math through art integration to inner-city kids and crafters of all ages.
Fox said her favorite subject in school was art and it breaks her heart that, oftentimes, art and music are the first classes to go when budget cuts are made.
“I wasn’t a very good student – but I was able to be myself when I was in my art classes. My art teacher never embarrassed me for anything I created. He made me feel like everything I created was amazing and unique. I want to give kids that same feeling. Not every kid may be an academic – but they may have a creative mind, and they need music and art to shine,” she said.
Fox is also a children’s book author – publishing the picture book “Just Try It Wyatt” in 2016 along with New York based illustrator Antonisa Scott. As a former kindergarten teacher, Fox wrote the book for her students and also for her 7-year-old son Cody and her 4-year-old daughter Lila. But this – her art – is something she’s doing for herself.
“It’s definitely a labor of love. These postcards have started an artistic revolution within me to try and put myself out there, be more vulnerable, and not care what people think. I’ve having fun with it – and if I can use my art to help others, that’s even better,” she said.
For more information about Fox, follow her on Instagram at k.fox.art. To learn more about her art exhibit on Tuesday, Feb. 28, click here.
Valentine Distilling Co. is located at 161 Vester Ave, Ferndale. Visit valentinedistilling.com for more information, and visit honey-and-sprig.com and facebook.com/aviatorsweets to learn about the local businesses providing the complimentary snacks.
For more things to do, visit the Oakland County Times Event Page!
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Thank you to Jim Shaffer & Associates Realtors for sponsoring this section!