Women Talk Art: Sarah Fox

Sarah Fox’s multi-media narratives and characters are created from embodied female experience. Stories of life, loss, love, and sex are told through corporeal hybrid creatures. The resulting collages, drawings, sculptures, and animations suggest a childlike fairytale but with an undercurrent of dark sexual symbolism.

She lives and works in San Antonio, Texas where she is the co-director of the innovative community art space Clamp Light Studios and Gallery. She is also the founder and exhibitions director of Brick Gallery located on the second level of Brick at Blue Star Arts Complex. 

Sarah Fox, Undone, mixed-media collages, 2020

What’s the coolest thing about being an artist?
I don’t want it to sound cheesy, but as an artist, I feel like a magician. In my work, specifically, I like to make whole other universes and places. To me, these creations feel real, especially when I’m in the process of making them. It feels like magic when something is done well, a character develops in a cool way, or animation is complete. 

Do you rent or own a studio space? 
I have two studios because I have a kid now. My main hours of making stuff nowadays are from 9 pm to 3 am. I have a studio at home that I like -it’s small. And I then have one that I rent at Clamplight, where I’ve been for 5-6 years now. That studio is helpful in case I need to work on big drawings or get messy. It’s also an ideal place to have studio visits with curators versus having them come to your house. It’s nice to be surrounded by other artists and work on the exhibitions there. 

What would one be surprised to find in your studio?
There are a bunch of skulls and skeletons everywhere. I have a snakeskin hanging from the wall -like that is quite weird. But I also have a picture of Dolly Parton on the wall because she is goals for me. She is a brilliant businesswoman and badass. 

Sarah Fox, Priestess and Babe, mixed-media collages, 2020

Are there any tools/tips/tricks you use to carve out time for your practice?
I work whenever my kid is asleep. 

It is best if you alter your practice to fit what is realistically manageable. Katie Pell taught me that. She would do quick drawings to keep her hand in the making. Her drawings and collages were so simple, brilliant, and so beautiful. I’ve started using paint pens instead of mixing the paint because if I only have an hour, I need what is the most practical approach. Some artists get trapped with “I don’t have this kind of equipment, so I can’t make art.” You need to adjust your practice to fit your lifestyle.

What has been an exhibition that has impacted you the most?
Joey Fauerso wrote this book called the Dog Hospital. It was this story of her overhearing her sons’ conversations about how they were processing their dog’s death and their mom being sick. It was clean, simple watercolors, and that piece of artwork was so beautiful. I’ll never forget that piece. It was shown at Blue Star Contemporary a few years ago, but that has always stuck with me.

I also got to see Wangechi Mutu’s work in person, and I was like, “Oh My God, these are incredible. They are so much beautiful.” I think it’s individual pieces of artwork that stick out to me the most, like getting to see Leonardo Da Vinci’s Virgin of the Rocks. That blew my mind -it was terrific! My mom always took us to museums, so I love looking at art. 

When I was at the Atelierhaus-Hilmsen Residency (Hilmsen, Germany) in 2016, I traveled to Austria and went to the Leopold Museum. On the lower level, there was an exhibition by Berlinde de Bruyckere. de Bruyckere had these assemblage sculptures made out of wax and rubber. They were massive! You walked into this one room, and she had placed all these cowhides and hooves. It was so dark and beautiful. I’ve never seen someone use materials like that. That’s an exhibition that haunts me because it was so f*cking good. 

What aspects of the industry/SA art community would you like to be different this 2020?
I wish we could deal with differing opinions and questioning work in a less toxic way. I feel like sometimes social media blows everything up. It happens so fast, and no one knows what order things are happening in. You don’t know what the questions are, and you can’t always interpret intonations. It just gets nasty, and a lot of people get hurt. It breaks my heart. It is stressful and frustrating. I wish there were a way one can handle questioning and responding respectfully. 

It’s important to ask questions, but social media is sometimes a monster.

Sarah Fox, For Momma, mixed-media collages, 2020

What are you most looking forward to in San Antonio this upcoming month?
At Brick Gallery, we are showing Rachel Comminos‘ work. She does these textured fiber pieces. Anything that is fiber related, I’m excited to see in real life. I’m also happy about the CAM Perennial exhibition and all of the events.

I have a pop-up at the Good Kind. They have a boxcar at the back of the restaurant, so I’m doing my pop-up exhibition there that will be fun. There will be some drawings and collages. It’s in conjunction with the Sala Diaz‘ opening. 

Are there any specific artists and curators on your radar this year?
In April, Brick Gallery is going to have Lauren Riojas-Fitzpatrick. I am excited about her show. She is going to fill the whole gallery with grass and have an environmental theme to it. In May, we are showing Anne Buckwalter, an artist from Rhode Island and is in Galveston doing the Galveston Art Residency. She is doing these beautiful little weird kinda feminist-y watercolors. 

I’m a bit biased. But if I like an artist’s work, I try to give them a spot because that’s something I have at my disposal. 

Who would you like us to interview next?
Libby Rowe and Sarah Castillo

Author: Deliasofia Zacarias

Deliasofia Zacarias is one of the Unfiltered San Antonio co-founders. Double-majored in business and studio art, Zacarias is interested in art politics, food, and a whole lot of Netflix. She is currently LACMA's Emerging Art Professional Fellow in Los Angeles, CA.

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