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Julia Fox - Blood, Sex and Valuable Stones

Words:

Edd Norval
February 26, 2020

Best known for her role as Julia in the Safdie brothers new crime-thriller Uncut Gems, which garnered international attention and recognition, Julia Fox's path to the big screen is as interesting as it is unconventional.

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Fox seems to be the 'next big thing'. Certainly, after her breakout role in Uncut Gems, offers for new roles will surely be flying in her direction. An interesting character in the film, maybe the most so, Julia wasn't too much of a reach for Fox to play.


Having spent her early life living with grandparents in Milan, she moved to New York at six, attending a prestigious high-school whilst working in various menial service sector jobs before a six-month stint as a dominatrix. Julia, her character in the film, is all of shop assistant, secretary, mistress and partner-in-crime to protagonist Howard.


Regardless of what she's doing at one particular moment, it's carried out seductively. This is fully intentional. She is a sort of femme fatal, a seductress who utilises sex and smarts to work clients and customers. The real-life counterpart of a dominatrix is hardly difficult to imagine. In every situation, although portrayed at 'ditzy', Julia maintains control.


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A kind of polymath in the film, so too is Fox off the screen. Alongside modelling in Playboy, her own career as a designer and artist have been well distinguished - despite her age. With her own clothing brand - Franziska Fox. Fox herself, described as a 'muse', is a socialite of sorts, an 'it girl' in New York. Her fashion line is emblematic of the characters she likes to embody when attending parties and events. Franziska Fox is a feminine figure Fox describes as 'indomitable'.


Painting Fox as a socialite definitely evokes certain limiting connotations, ones that she easily defies. Her merit isn't from how she looks or her means, but her willingness to go out and do something. In 2015, Fox produced the searingly intimate Symptomatic of a relationship gone sour: Heartburn/Nausea photography book. In it she documents a relationship that's gone wrong - warts and all.


Exploring toxic love, both the highs and lows, the ecstasy and brutality, Fox said, "I just wanted to take something bad and make it good. For myself, but also for anyone else that has been in a fucked up situation." It chronicles three relationships, two romantic and one with a friend Samantha.

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Her second book, published the following year, is titled PTSD. The story, that she had a six-month unrequited love with a sadomasochistic gay prostitute called 'John' underpins the visual narrative that encompasses polaroids, photographs, text messages and notes on Julia's life.


Eloping to a poverty-stricken bayou in Louisiana, Fox stayed for a while, making friends with prostitutes and the salt of the earth types you'd expect in such rural areas. All of her expierinces were captured on her 35mm camera, adding to the mystical aura of the area through the camera's dark exposures.


Alongside photography, the following year in 2017, Fox created work for the exhibition R.I.P Julia Fox. Using silk canvas and her own blood, the artist explores the mystical, religious and spiritual, with in inherently erotic and fetishistic edge - portraying simple, yet symbolic images in a stark and minimal manner.

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Extracting the blood using a syringe, she then painted with the splatters in raw images that have the appearance of being a process of meditative catharsism. Fox's fascination with death and darkness reach an organic pinnacle in the show. It seems to be a sum of all the parts - her most abstract, yet autobiographical work yet.


From New York it-girl, to outlandish artist, Fox has become cinema's latest craze. Her character in Uncut Gems is perfectly tailored for her. She has experience around people of social standing, but also of dangerous and gritty scenarios. Meeting her character was more like a mirror than a formal introduction. Following on from her past trajectory, it is certain that whatever happens next will never be simple, never be settled, always exciting.

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