Conform Cox (Cox Janssens) works as an illustrator, storyteller, graphic designer, animator and podcast maker from her studio at the Keilewerf in Rotterdam. Recently a new Lijnbaan display exhibition with her works was opened. Reason enough for an interview!
In the new Lijnbaan display you can admire works and animations by illustrator and animator Conform Cox. In 2019 Cox started working as the city draftsman of Rotterdam and she visited various sports clubs and competitions. For this, Cox drew four large drawings in the 'Lines along the line' series, depicting groups of people who come together to exercise. These works can be admired in the display case.
Cox: "In the display case you see large illustrations that were made three years ago for the Rotterdam City Archives. The illustrations show many people in different sports, mostly in group sports. Then suddenly the pandemic came and you soon saw a change taking place. Group sports turned into individual sports, which also often took place in the city."
The world changed as a result of the pandemic and that is how Cox came up with the idea of portraying individual athletes in the city through animations. "During the pandemic I did a master animation myself, so of course I wanted to get started with animations. I therefore opted for animations with individual athletes for the Lijnbaan display. These animations contain many recognizable aspects of Rotterdam. "
Cox continues: "The animations about individual sports contain some jokes. For example, the buildings in the animations also move. That is a kind of wink to how Rotterdam moves along with the needs of the inhabitants."
"No, I'm not really into sports. I am not affiliated with a sports club myself. It is mostly interesting for my illustrations. The athletes move a lot, so I can portray them in many different positions. So I have an aesthetic admiration for sports."
"I often do research for a while on a subject that appeals to me, usually related to environmental issues. Recently, for example, I made a research series about trees and what trees mean to people. Another example is work I've made about dairy farming. This is about how the animals are treated and its impact."
"My idea behind this is that, for example, a documentary about these kinds of subjects can be experienced as very shocking. With illustrations and animations you can make it more accessible for a lot of people. In addition, I always try to work with humor, which also helps with a heavy subject. You will of course still get the shocking information, so I hope my work can bring about something."
"That I can tell all kinds of stories. Everything can be converted to an illustration. This allows me to inspire people and introduce them to subjects they don't know much about. In addition, my work is very diverse."
"An animator that I find very interesting is Georges Schwizgebel. He makes analog animations. The images you see in his films are constantly morphed into another image, so that you seem to travel through different worlds. His work is truly iconic. Super complex, but also very beautiful. They are really just living paintings. Sometimes there is a story in it, sometimes it is just images whereby you can create a story of your own."
"Another source of inspiration for me is Cartoon Saloon, an Irish animation studio. They make feature animation films, all animated in 2D. It is really beautiful and also interesting for adults. The stories often have a serious message, but remain accessible for children. An example is the movie 'Wolfwalkers', which is about preserving the nature around us."
"Finally, I love the work of illustrator Floor Rieder. She creates beautifully complex images, but occasionally she makes scientific drawings for books that are also accessible to children."
"My dream is to make an even longer animated film with a story about the environment. For my graduation I made a two-minute animation film. For this I made a thousand drawings and it took me three months in total. So I would also like to work in a team for a longer animation film."
"So cool to be able to do something for the city!"