Bobby Solomon.

The Fox Is Black is an art and design blog that seeks to discover and share the most interesting and inspiring parts of contemporary life and culture. Run by Bobby Solomon, the site started in April of 2007 as way of sharing ideas, ideas that range from design to culture to music to film. The site reaches millions of viewers a year and includes a growing number of writers from around the world. In 2011, The Fox Is Black was named Best Highbrow Arts Blog in Los Angeles by L.A. Weekly. The site was briefly featured in the 2012 keynote for the launch of the new iPad. The Fox Is Black sister site, Los Angeles, I’m Yours, acts as a localized version of the site.


FROM YOUR DESKS: How do you work?

BOBBY SOLOMON: I work when I can. I work full-time as an art director at Disney. I work on The Fox Is Black when I can. Every other day it’s my responsibility to take my dogs out and feed them, so I’m usually up at 6:30AM. I’ll work until 8:30 and then go to my day job. I finish around 6 or 7 and head home, eat something and then get back to work, usually wrapping anywhere from midnight to 1AM. I think this surprises people, but after doing this for over five years now it feels like second nature. I don’t know how to not do things this way.

FYD: What is your favorite sentimental object at your workspace and why?

BS:  I’m not a very sentimental person but I’d have to say the photos of my loved ones. We’re one of those families that didn’t document our lives often so I enjoy the few photos I do have.

FYD: What is your favorite or most required work tool?

BS: Hands down, it has to be Photoshop. I’ve been using it now for about 13 years now, I can’t imagine not using it day in and day out. That said, I think we’re going to be moving away from pixels very quickly toward vector/math based graphics in websites. Too bad I hate Illustrator.

FYD: You started “The Fox is Black” in 2007.  How did the name originate?

BS: When I started the blog back in 2007 it was called Kitsune Noir. Kitsune means “Fox” in Japanese and Noir is French for “Black.” I liked it because it was unique and different. Unfortunately, a French record label/clothing line was also using Kitsune and was threatening to sue. I changed the blog’s name for two reasons – To not be sued, and to make it easier for people to understand the name. The Fox Is Black simplified things nicely.

My focus is on the future and how we push design culturally, making the world a better place.

FYD: What was your vision?

BS: To share things I enjoyed. I loved reading blogs and magazines and I wanted my own place to document all the things I was finding. I think that vision is still intact, though it’s certainly evolved over time.

FYD: Your “Desktop Wallpaper” series invites readers to select from a wide selection of artists.  What do you use as your own?

BS: This is probably blasphemy, but I never use the desktop wallpaper son my desktop. I use a simple wood panel background with some shading on everything. I find that it’s too distracting otherwise. I use Skip Hursh‘s insane wallpaper (see here) on my iPhone. It’s an awesome splash of color when I turn my phone on.

FYD: There are various sites with their fingers on the pulse.  How do you stay edgy and relevant?

BS: Honestly, I have no interest in being edgy or “cool.” I’m much more concerned with finding things that are useful, inspirational, and can open a readers eyes to something interesting. I try not to linger in the past. My focus is on the future and how we push design culturally, making the world a better place.

As I change, so does the blog.

FYD: How do you source creativity and how do you stay inspired?

BS: Most things I come across I find through select sites or my Twitter feed. I follow under 200 people who are some of the most interesting folks around. They have similar passions which inspires me and what I post. I tend to pull things from my day-to-day life, coming across interesting ideas or packaging or movies or music. All of those things are important to me.

FYD: How you edit your site?

The site runs on WordPress, which I find to be easy and intuitive. It allows me to redesign to my liking as time goes by. As I change, so does the blog.

FYD: Talk about your “Re-covered Books” series.

BS:The Re-Covered Books project came out of my love for redesigning things. I thought the book cover was a simple medium that a lot of people could get involved with, that transcends borders and cultures. I’m always amazed by the outpouring of creativity that comes with each book.

FYD: How have book covers changed over the past ten years? 

BS: What’s going to be interesting is the divide between e-books and paper books. Will covers be important with e-books? Will people be more inclined to by a paper book if it’s well designed? These are the questions already arising. I’m not sure of the answer yet.

I try not to linger in the past.

FYD: Tell us about your other blog with your partner Kyle?

BS: I help run another blog called Los Angeles, I’m Yours (LAIY) with Kyle Fitzpatrick. The idea was to create a site that was like The Fox Is Black but that was centered on the culture of Los Angeles. It was started last year and is run day-to-day by Kyle. It’s fantastic to see how many people we’ve connected with in our city. There’s so many people who love Los Angeles just as much as we do. I can’t wait to see what LAIY is like in 5 years.

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