By Arianna Cannarozzo
Have you ever met someone and the first thought you have is “wow they’re so cool”? They start to speak and you’re a little bit awestruck because, well… How does anyone become that dope? That’s exactly how I felt when I met local artist, Ayo Alade, better known as Sigma Foxx.
This Toronto-based creative has been working on his art since he was 16-years-old when he first picked up one of his mom’s old cameras. Since then he’s been actively working in not only photography, but illustration, music, and filmography. His ever-expanding and distinct brand has made him unique among the art community in Toronto and his conceptual work has earned him many spots in various group shows; all of it leading up to his second solo exhibition, “Smoke a Sig 2”¸ which will be debuting next month!
If you’re interested in exploring Sigma Foxx’s creative mind more, then check out our exclusive interview below!
What five things do you value most in your life?
Hard work, respect, loyalty, honesty, and friendship.
How do you think these values translate into your creativity?
I respect my work, and I like to work hard. I hang around people that do these things. I value my friends. I work around it so it does translate.
You’re obviously into a lot of different art, ranging from photography to drawing; is there another medium you want to explore in the future?
I’m probably going to learn painting; I’ve never had the patience before.
Why did you decide to explore and work in so many different mediums in the first place?
This is going to sound typical but I don’t want to put myself in a box, it’s about variety. Artists can do so much, they have so many talents. They just have to brand it all, make it all you and make it distinct; each medium, and it doesn’t matter. I don’t want to say I have ADHD, but I get bored easily. I like to explore different things, it’s exciting. You don’t know you can do it until you try. Whatever is next that I’m interested in, I’m going to just do it.
Who do you attribute as your main sources of inspiration?
It comes from understanding yourself. Inspiration comes from people, too – anything. I could see a bike, the way it is placed, it gives a certain vibe. I see those little things and you just get ideas. I gather every single piece of information; an object or person can be an idea for a piece.
You started off working with photography, how do you think your style has changed over the years?
I started off just taking pictures of buildings and flowers and people. I’ve always had a creative mind, but I never knew how to transfer the idea into a medium. I watched videos and I just kept doing it until I had the skills. Until I could make sure that [the audience] gets it.
Do you work in a specific process while creating your photography?
Behind the photography, when something sparks and idea I make sure to take certain steps; it’s very conceptual. First, I have to draw the idea on paper and I label it. You have to get the right shops and then I get to edit it however I want. I’ve been using permanent markers to draw shapes and images on paper, take a picture of my picture, put it on Photoshop and fill it in.
You’re working on your next solo exhibition, “Smoke a Sig 2”, which is debuting next month! How excited are you?
Yes! I’m very excited. This is probably the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do.
What has the process been like?
It’s been an experience. It’s actually empowering for people to come see it. I enjoy them just looking at it and getting to see their reactions and emotions.
What are you hoping people get from your show? What experience do you want to give them?
As long as they react! If they’re angry, nice! If they cry, nice! If they hate it, and they know why they hate it, I say perfect. That’s what art is I guess. You either visually respect it or you visually don’t.
Is there a theme surrounding the show?
It’s not really a theme, it’s more of a vibe and It’s a personality. It has to do with merging the unfamiliar with familiar. Ideas you wouldn’t see in real life but you still understand it. A situation you are a part of, a whole bunch of ‘what ifs’ or ‘imagine ifs’. Using other worldly characters but making them human.
For example, there’s this piece called “The Sacrifice”. It’s about ‘the reaper’, a normal man that was given this job to take lives, and it shows his first day (of) taking lives. His human heart doing this, and it makes you wonder, ‘oh I also have a human heart… Could I do that?’
When is it all taking place?
It’s one main day, August 17th, but I will have other times that it will be open. It’ll up for about a week.
So what’s coming up next?
I can’t say too much… but I’m working on a group show/performance with musicians and a pop-up show, all-in-one. After this I’m also working on a music video. I have a song called Traitor, but it’s going to be more theatrical. I’ll be directing it and [I’ll be] the main character. It’s more than a music video, it’s going to be a film.
I’ll also be doing some more travelling, writing music. I want to create apparel, make some merch. We’ll see what happens.
Can you tell us another artist, musician, or creative who you think we need to check out?
If you’re interested in attending Smoke a Sig 2, tickets are available now!