The Goldloxe Effect


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The Goldloxe Effect

Goldilocks and The Three Bears is a much-loved story, well known all around the world. It’s about the idea that something has to be ‘just right’, not too hot and not to cold, not too big nor too small. It’s about finding a stable perfection between two extremes. Outside of the fairytale, the ‘Goldilocks Theory’ can be applied to all sorts of areas, including medicine, politics, science and psychology. When I was in New York recently I even saw how one artist is exploring the theory through street art. ‘Goldloxe’ is the creation of an anonymous artist from Northern Ireland who moves around New York City adding her intriguing Goldilocks character to the cultural landscape and inviting us to look deeper. I sat down with her to find out more about her work and the message behind it.

Goldloxe photographed on the corner of Church & Duane St, NYC

…. I’ve been in NYC for 10 years now

It must be a great place to live and create art ...?

It really is. I’ve always appreciated street art but I’m relatively new to it. I was painting very intricate doorways with graffiti on them in my studio but felt really cut off from everyone and I always wanted to work with a concept, a strong idea. Then I heard about the ‘Goldilocks Principle’. It was really interesting to me because although a lot of people will know the story of 'Goldilocks And The Three Bears’, they wouldn’t necessarily know about the theory behind it. 

Can you explain the theory of the Goldilocks principle and what it means to you?

The principle is about things being ‘just right’ and balanced. For example, our planet is ‘just right’, not too hot, not too cold… the conditions need to be in balance for us to survive. But there are a vast number of interpretations of the Goldilocks effect, and it goes really well with street art actually. In the fairytale, Goldilocks didn’t ask permission to enter the bear’s home, just like my Goldloxe never asks permission to be on a building. She’s a trespasser disrupting the balance, addressing the question of ‘why shouldn’t we be allowed to decorate our public walls?’ The possibilities really are endless in the way that people interpret her. But at the end of the day there does need to be a balance, to make things ‘just right’, she just helps to start that conversation.

Goldloxe in New York City

Do you think you are a rebel? Is there a rebellious side to your art?

I think I was in the past, I’m not sure I still am. There’s a part of me that knows I shouldn’t be doing it, so it’s a bit nerve-wracking trying to find a spot to put her up and make sure that no one sees you. But there’s something lovely about walking in the streets in the middle of the night, it’s very humbling and connecting. Most of the time people are oblivious. I get all covered in paste but people are still going about their business ranting drunkenly at 2am in the morning. I feel like a ghost figure walking through the city. 

I imagine the obliviousness you experience is quite an important part of the process of your work. Do you need to disguise yourself when you work?

No, I usually just wear really old clothes. I enjoy seeing other artists out there. Sometimes I’ll see something another artist has done and I’ll put something up next to it, and then the next day a different artist has put something else up that relates to my piece, so its all interconnected. It becomes a sort of organic collaboration. I also really like the way that Goldloxe looks. She’s innocent looking yet quite tenacious. She looks great juxtaposed with the existing street art and debris of New York. 

'There's something lovely about walking in the streets in the middle of the night, it's very humbling and connecting. I feel like a ghost figure walking through the city'

It must be quite freeing to let your work go and see it almost take on a life of its own?

Yes it is. I like the temporariness of the street, but I did do Goldloxe as the statue of liberty on Chamberlain St and she’s still surviving and has been there since the 4th of July last year. It’s great. I paint each Goldloxe by hand which takes quite a while, and a lot of the time it’s either pulled down or painted over, but she’s still hanging in there.

Are you actively using social media to enhance the world of Goldloxe? Or do you see it as more of an organic process as people to become more and more familiar with the character?

I only use Instagram. For example, someone painted a big fake moustache on her, then someone else photographed it and sent it to me, so I posted that for the month of ‘Movember'. So it really is a nice play between Goldloxe, the interaction with the city (other artists) and social media. I also think having social media has really changed street art in NYC. It’s given it another platform and means you can communicate with other artists out there without jeopardising anonymity. It’s also another way of putting your work out there without worrying about a gallery, which is really refreshing. 

I love the concept you have developed of a narrative born from organic collaboration with other street artists, which you almost have no control of. It takes on a life of its own. Not knowing where it's going to go must be quite interesting as a street artist? 

Yes, the fact that people can walk by her, and they have a choice whether to engage or not is really interesting. And then my engagement with other street artists continues to build a bigger story. Goldloxe has reached so many people. My daughter’s friends all know about her without knowing that it’s me who created her, and yet there is also this sophisticated idea and concept behind it, which I hope will one day tell a more global story.

So is this your way of communicating to the city (and the wider world) a bigger political statement?

I don’t think I’m political, I’m just pointing the Goldilocks Theory out. I’m a very visual person, so if I do something that works visually then that’s the only statement I’m making. It’s open to interpretation. However, I am saying something about the gentrification of New York, and that’s significant in the way that Goldilocks went into the bears’ house and just took whatever they had. Eventually I’d like to write a letter of apology from Goldloxe to the bears, an apology for wealthier people invading areas of New York and ousting the existing residents. 

That's happening all over the world of course ...

Yes exactly, but I’m still trying to work out my whole angle. I’ve only been doing this since June 2015, but Goldloxe has already appeared in London and a few cities around Europe as well. 

So she's making a global statement? It almost feels to me that your making a silent protest, no one really knows why she is there, but you're actually making quite an important statement in a very beautiful way?

Yes, I feel like it’s in a very gentle way. She is interruptive and has something to say but is very beautiful at the same time. I hope that one day people will understand more subjectively, but for now I’m happy for her to be interpreted in whatever way people feel.

(left) Goldloxe in London (right) On Conroy Farm, Indiana

Would you ever acknowledge and talk about the theory behind Goldloxe? It seems like such an important message.

I definitely do want to tell people but I don’t know how to do that yet. I’m just seeing how she develops visually. I want her to become recognisable and incorporate other characters. I don’t want to be blatant about her. It’s nice that she can be interpreted by lots of different people on different levels, and I think it’s great that there is an idea behind it and it’s not just a visual statement.

Absolutely I think it's really powerful ...

I love the idea, I’m just not too sure yet how it will develop, so watch this space! 

Finally, I wonder if you see Goldloxe as an extension of your own family, almost like an adopted daughter?

(laughs) Well, she’s certainly taking over my life!

  • Goldloxe (whomever she may be) was interviewed and photographed by Samuel John Weeks
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