Fox Hall is an artist living in Los Angeles, known simply as Discollins in the art world. Discollins was drawn to art at a very young age, finding solace in his creations. Born in Jamaica and adopted as a newborn, Fox never met his biological parents and feels that disconnect has helped fuel his passion for expression.
His adoptive family moved to Canada while he was still young. After experiencing abuse, Discollins ran away at the age of thirteen. He was discovered and placed in a home until he was old enough to be on his own. During that time, Discollins spent many days wondering about his personal history and painting those feelings.
Though art was his first love, Discollins found success in modeling and acting. He has worked with well-known brands like Dolce and Gabbana and has appeared in music videos with Janet Jackson and Toni Braxton. It was through this means that Fox was able to circle back to his love: art. He has become popular and is now preparing for an art show this September in LA.
Discollins enjoys traveling in his spare time, finding new cultures and languages an infinite inspiration. He also creates his own furniture in his free time.
How did you get started in the business? What inspired you to start?
I have been painting since I was very young. Someone very dear to me gave me a book that inspired me. The artist was Amedeo Modigliani. I was drawn to what I saw on the pages and I just started painting much more. I have reproduced several of his paintings. That is how I started.
How do you make money?
I make money by selling my art. My work as a model has helped make me more comfortable, so I have more freedom with creating art.
How long did it take for you to become profitable?
It didn’t take too long once I started to focus on my painting. Once the first person bought a few of my pieces, I became pretty well-known. That was about twenty years ago and it encouraged me to make even more, so it has been my primary income for that long.
When you were starting out, was there ever a time you doubted it would work? If so, how did you handle that?
Art is a different world, it’s a form of expression and love. It isn’t something you do to make money. If you are lucky enough to be recognized for your art and can make money from it, that is like a bonus above the joy of creating it. There was never a time I doubted my love for painting. I just followed what felt right.
How did you get your first customer?
My first customer is someone who saw some of my work and asked me to make four pieces for them. I had been showing my work to friends and family, he was someone I knew at the time. He had just bought a home and wanted the art to display there. I was given freedom to design what I wanted and that was the first time I’d been paid for it. I had so much fun working on those pieces and he loved them.
What is one marketing strategy, other than referrals, that works great for generating new business?
Art has always been word of mouth. I honestly have never tried to market my work. If you paint for love of money and focus on marketing it, it won’t work. I have sold my pieces because one person loved it and displayed it. Someone they knew saw it and loved it, then came for their own. I have been blessed in that I haven’t had to market it at all.
What is the toughest decision you’ve made in the last few months?
I was supposed to move to London a few months ago. Everything was set for the move, and I decided not to make that change. I weighed the pros and cons and decided now wasn’t the best time for such a big change, so I chose to stay put for now. It was very tough because I was looking forward to it.
What do you think it is that makes you successful?
I am great at what I do. When you love what you do, and are good at it, you are going to persevere. You must embrace what you love, focus on it with the passion you have for it. Your success is not measured by how much money you make, but how much you love what you do and who you are. I have followed my love for art since I was young. There was no other option for me, no other thing that distracted me from the love I had for painting.
What has been your most satisfying moment in business?
The most satisfying moment for me was when I sold those first four pieces. That was the very first time that my work was requested by someone. An artist is not an artist because they want to be rich. They do it for the expression. To know someone has seen your work and was inspired or affected by it is the ultimate payment for what goes into it. Yes, it is satisfying to make money from it, but that can’t be the reason you paint. That appreciation and the ability to share your art, that is a kind of fulfillment that goes beyond money and is very satisfying.
What does the future hold for your business and what are you most excited about?
I am excited for my art to be more known to a wider audience. The show I have coming up in September is the biggest I have done so far. I am very excited to have this display and share what I love with others. I am working on a new series for this gallery show that I believe will speak to more people and can’t wait to see how everything goes.
What business books have inspired you?
I have read many books about history and literature, but I have never read an actual business book. I was inspired by great artists. The real reason I feel drawn to art, I think, is so that I can leave a piece of me when I am gone. What better way to leave a legacy than through art? It is appreciated generations after it is created and I like to think mine will be as much as others have been.
What is a recent purchase you have made that helped with your business?
I would say my art studio has been extraordinarily helpful for my art. The space allows me to transform my thoughts into the canvas.