What’s your earliest memory?
Being chased around a barnyard, with broken glass everywhere and a cockerel.
What do you remember from your time at school?
I remember once, at age seven or eight, my teacher held me back after class as I’d only coloured my workbook in two colours – red and black – for weeks on end.
If you could choose any painting, by any artist, to have on your wall, what would it be?
I think I would probably have a Matisse. I think I’d have the one that Picasso actually swapped with him. The one that says ‘Marguerite’ in the corner. Really simple. No, what am I on about? I’d have a fucking Gauguin. If you see them in real life, they’re rough as rats, done on potato sacks. Yeah, I’d have a Gauguin. I know which one. It’s a woman laying on her front in a bed in Tahiti, and there’s a figure behind her. I’d have that.
So would you say that Gauguin was the artist who inspired you the most?
Yeah, number one. Still kicks me right in the guts.
Were there any other artists that you gravitated towards when you were a teenager?
An artist that I did look at a lot was Toulouse-Lautrec. Someone who my mum knew was throwing out some art books. They were like, ‘See if Dan wants them’. I was really young, around 14. That Lautrec … he had those turquoises and pinks together, and black lines … That really got me.
What did it feel like going from painting medium-sized paintings to huge canvases?
All of that is more to do with your ambition, I think. What you want to say and how you want to impact the world. If you’re talking technique-wise, I actually find it easier to paint big.
Do you think you were destined to be your own boss? Was there any other option?
I think that whatever I would have done, I’d have had to work really hard at it. I work at painting as if it’s a labouring job, you know. There just was no other option for me.
Do you have a special place that you go to, to clear your head and seek inspiration?
I wish I could clear my head – I don’t know how that happens. Wherever I go, there is no clearing of the head – it just gets louder and louder. Especially if I go somewhere quiet for a nice walk, sometimes it’s just unbearable. I found that when I moved to the city, it drowned out a lot of the noise that was in my head here growing up. There was a sort of peace in amongst all of that noise for me.
The full interview with Danny Fox is in Free Spirits, available to purchase here: