The germination for the series of narrative paintings began several years ago when I arrived at a family’s house for a photo shoot prior to starting a portrait. My six year old sitter was waiting for me in her party dress. Half way through our photo session, her mom came to check in on us and the girl asked her mother: “Now can I put on my Native American costume?” Her mom looked at me as if to say, is that ok? I told her, “It’s fine with me”. The six year old came back several minutes later, dressed in a costume of ochers, browns and black, complete with feathered headdress. She had made the headdress herself using feathers she found in the woods behind her house. She was stunning. “This is who she really is,” her mother said. And so, we opted to paint her in her Native American costume, with her dog on one side and the bow and arrow her dad had made her on the other. She was her true self, connecting to the woods in her backyard, just north of Boston, where there still might be whispers of the Naumkeag or Agawam people. These were people who lived close to the earth, and this child sought to emulate them.
Her portrait was my departure into storytelling, combining children and the earth as a starting point to a narrative. I have continued the series with non-commissioned paintings, and titled the series Earthly Fables. The paintings are inspired by a child’s imagination and sit in the context of an unsettled world. ~Olivia Fischer Fox
Olivia Fischer Fox started taking portrait commissions at the age of 16. She went on to earn a BFA from the Rhode Island School of Design and an MFA from the Graduate School of Figurative Art at the New York Academy of Art. Her work can be found in numerous private, university and corporate collections throughout the US, Italy, France and Great Britain.
She currently lives and works in Brookline, Massachusetts