Conform Cox works as an illustrator, storyteller, graphic designer, animator and podcastmaker. She is trained as designer at Design Academy Eindhoven and as animator at the Master Institute of Visual Cultures in Den Bosch, finishing both studies Cum Laude. In all the fields she approaches, storytelling is the drive and core of her practice. Observations and reflections play a significant role in her process.
“I am a thinker and sometimes get tired of that myself,” Cox admits, “but I always try to find a good reason or goal to make a project or artwork. I like to shine light on things that might be overlooked, that need attention. I couldn’t easily create an image simply because it fits a popular topic, for example.
I observe a lot. I like to create many tiny stories in a drawing. In my animation work I often hide tiny fun things in the background.” She also enjoys looking at other people’s artworks several times, and discovering things she did not spot the first time around.
Talking about films inspiring her, Cox mentions The Pattern a short animation by Péter Bogyo. What she loved about it was not only “the unique and beautiful artwork, made frame by frame, but also how Bogyo intertwined 3 stories into one, coming together in the last scene. He adjusted the art style for every chapter a little bit. This is the kind of work that I can watch endlessly, and indeed, I have!
Another favourite of mine is Maman, Il a quoi le chien? by Lola Lefèvre. Her way of drawing and animation are so lively. She creates interesting points of views and uses several lines to draw, instead of one. Also, the story about a young girl’s sexuality development is something I think we should talk about more often, because there is still a lot of shame around it, especially for women.”
The debut of her Next trajectory was rather peculiar for her, as it also included a pause, allowing Cox to work on a project in Japan that had previously been delayed three years due to Covid. After eagerly resuming the trajectory, she plunged into developing an animated short. “I am really starting from scratch” she says. “I am doing research into animal behaviour and how I can use it for a new short film. It will probably be related to climate change as well.
This first part always takes quite long and is the hardest for me, because I am pretty critical on my ideas. I have to work on the script before anything is set in stone. I am usually a maker that uses quite complex and serious stories in my work. I try to make it understandable and accessible and reflect on what we think now is ‘normal’ the world. That’s why I should have a solid storyline before continuing. The story is also related to science, so it should be accurate.”
During the Next trajectory Cox also plans to learn how to get rid of the insecurities she experiences when starting a project. “I mostly work for clients. I put a part of myself in those works as well, but starting a project on your own feels more precarious. Also animation is still quite new to me, as I did mostly illustration and design before.” She is planning on polishing up her animation skills as well, in the course of program.
Her dream mentorship would involve any combination featuring Joanna Quinn, Wes Anderson, Lisa Hanawalt, George Schwizgebel, Felicie Haymoz, Péter Bogyo, Joao Gonzalez and Vivien Hárshegyi. But she could easily add more names to the list!
Among the things she appreciates about Next is the fact that it gives one the opportunity to take time to reflect. “Normally, it’s a kind of race in my field of work”, Cox says. “There are so many ideas I will never work on, because I am caught up in commissioned work.” We sure hope Cox will manage to revive many of her previously shelved ideas as we have no doubt exciting projects will emerge from them!