Inaugurated in 2012, the Miss CAM Antonio virtual pageant (of sorts) is a slick marketing idea designed to ratchet up the online buzz surrounding CAM, its events and its mission. The CAM website explains that the contest is "open to anyone currently living in San Antonio — male or female, young or old" and that entering is as easy as posting a response to the question "As Miss CAM Antonio, how would you promote contemporary art in San Antonio?" These responses are posted to the Miss CAM Antonio Facebook page "in the form of words, video, photos or any other medium that can fit into a wall post." And, the individual with the most likes takes the designer crown. At this point, the voting has already closed for this year, so let's talk about the hardware that will adorn the winner who will be crowned at Thursday's CAM Kickoff Party.
This year's custom-made crown — that's it on our cover, in all its fuzzy fierceness — was created by Sarah Fox, a painter, sculptor, collagist, designer, art instructor and Texas transplant. Fox, who recently received her MFA from UTSA, where she teaches along with summer stints at the Southwest School of Art, began her career in the arts as a graphic designer before diving into her true calling as a multimedia artist concerned with figurative and symbolic work that often fuses history and fantasy, the familiar and the alien, the human and the animal. Last week, she explained to the Current that her goal with the crown was to "create something big and beautiful to follow up in the Miss CAM Antonio crown tradition but also fuse that with elements of my other work." The morphed spider figure, inspired by a character in a recent collage, "is supposed to be fierce, because we tend to associate spiders with evil or violence, but the yarn and thread soften it." Continuing, she noted that the upcycled yarn and thread she used "once kept people warm, so it's like a nod to the fact that spiders are actually pretty benevolent creatures, despite our fear of them." As such, the gorgeous crown is a bit of a yin-yang figure that considers how closely related our fears and hopes, our suffering and our comfort, really are.
Commenting on the crown, as well as her work in general, Fox summed it up this way:
"Creating these animal hybrids frees me to meditate on big social issues without finger-pointing or being too obvious. Much like fables and fairy tales often use animals to tell human moral stories, my work with animals is supposed to feel mysterious, but also to have a point."