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Tom Cox: “New series will push my artistic capabilities to the limit”

PUBLISHED: 12:10 01 April 2019

Tom Cox has worked on nine paintings of the East End in less than five weeks for The Shoreditch Collection. Picture: Andre Skjegstad.

Tom Cox has worked on nine paintings of the East End in less than five weeks for The Shoreditch Collection. Picture: Andre Skjegstad.

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South-London based artist Tom Cox is about to unveil nine new paintings of the East End at a show called The Shoreditch Collection.

Cox's painting, Standing in line for status symbols, is one of the nine featured illustrations. Picture: Tom Cox.Cox's painting, Standing in line for status symbols, is one of the nine featured illustrations. Picture: Tom Cox.

Tom Cox isn’t the type to shy away from a challenge.

Ahead of his next solo exhibition, at Forever Beta on April 11, the artist from Crystal Palace is painting nine pieces of work in the space of just four-and-a-half weeks.

“I like working under pressure,” says the 28-year-old, “and this series will push my artistic capabilities to the limit.”

“It allows me to take away the elements of control that can make a piece of work feel forced. When I work under a time constraint, I am forced to use my intuition more. Being an artist, you need to know when to stop. You can ruin a piece by working on it for too long.”

As the night sets in, painted by Cox outside the Commercial Tavern, is another piece that will display on April 11. Picture: Tom Cox.As the night sets in, painted by Cox outside the Commercial Tavern, is another piece that will display on April 11. Picture: Tom Cox.

A specialist in contemporary paintings of urban life, Cox’s latest project is called The Shoreditch Collection. It will endeavour to “explore the regeneration and social activity of the area” with sprawling illustrations of historic boozers and local gems, and how we interact with them.

The one-night show kickstarts a partnership between Cox’s artist collective – Focus LDN – and Forever Beta, as the two prepare to host a series of artist solo exhibitions called Forever in Focus throughout the rest of 2019.

“Focus LDN is a platform to promote the work of London-based artists,” adds Cox. “I was out of uni four years ago and finding it difficult to get enough shows. I thought: I can organise them myself, and started putting on big group shows. This collaboration with Forever Beta is about putting a whole load of different artists through the space.”

When he’s not planning his own art shows, Cox is having work featured in the Evening Standard, The Guardian, and being named as one to watch in 2019 by the Artists & Illustrators Magazine.

He’ll be handing out free giclée prints (worth £60) of one of the featured paintings to the first 20 people through the door next Thursday. What’s more, 10 per cent of profits made on the night will go to Whitechapel Mission; a charity helping homeless people since 1876.

One of Cox’s works included in The Shoreditch Collection is a snapshot of crowds queuing to enter The Other Art Fair – which he applied for but didn’t get in to.

“I just thought that I’d go outside and paint the people going in; that’s relevant to me and a world I know, I’m trying to capture local scenes and human activity in manmade environments.

“I paint London a lot, it’s my subject matter. It’s evolving so quickly that with each piece, when I capture some of the scenes surrounded by construction, they mature quite nicely. They are only going to be like that at that specific moment.

“London changes so quickly, it’s nice to capture those bits, as in a few years’ time they’ll be history.”

The Shoreditch Collection runs at Forever Beta on Thursday April 11. For more information on Tom Cox, visit his website.

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