My art is inseparable from my lived experience. Gaia bless the visionary lawyer-scholar-activist Kimberlé Crenshaw for the word “intersectionality.”
I am a white, queer and genderqueer person, living openly with Alopecia Universalis since I was a teen, and with disabling chronic illness as an adult.
My work is nurtured by the wisdom of visible difference, queerness, chronic illness and struggle against the willful disassociative ignorance of ‘whiteness’.
I want to shout out that I did go to college, and though I didn’t major in art, I earned basically enough credits for a Studio Art minor. I have a BA in Comparative American Studies, with a focus in Identity & Diversity from Oberlin College. The formal and informal multi-disciplinary education I received at this wealthy liberal arts institution from my peers & professors (majority BIPOC & queer) taught me how to think. I hold that education close in my life & art: don’t dumb down complexity, speak truthfully, go deeper, and help others do the same as you are able.
I am a recipient of somatic based therapy for the last 10+ years. The focus on embodiment & investigation I learn from receiving somatic therapy grounds my approach to movement.
I began one-on-one study in Alexander Technique in 2018. AT has deepened my body knowledge greatly. I continue to self study during SIP.
Lastly, I grew up in a Greek immigrant community in New England. Greek & Greek Orthodox cultural traditions utilizing ritual, ceremony, trance, spirituality, iconography, and remembering history imbue my sense of performance.
The name ‘Dia Dear’ gives homage to my family history. ‘Dia’ is my given name, a shortened version of my full name: Diamandia. ‘Dear’ is the sound of ‘Dia’ pronounced by someone with a thick Boston accent, namely my parents, caretakers, and extended family.
personal & informal
My art education comes pretty much from learning through doing in San Francisco, California’s diverse SOMA and TL drag communities. I owe particular homage to my informal queer club community and my drag family. My queer club community hypes me up & encourages me to continue making. My drag family gives me opportunities, experience, & intergenerational education about drag / queer performance. Coming from drag gives me a solid foundation in queer art making as a lineage, part of a community, and as accessible.
In 2011, I began performing at clubs hosted within legendary queer dive bars ‘The Stud’ and ‘Aunt Charlies’. ‘Something’ and ‘High Fantasy’ in 2011. I produced and performed approximately 100 unique pieces in clubs throughout San Francisco in my first year of making work. In 2012 I won the Trannyshack Star Search crown for my rip of Madonna’s complicated & culturally appropriative track ‘Vogue’.
I am proud & blessed to have been a part of a small, informal, freaky, gender ambiguous group of young artists who re-ignited queer performance art (& partying?) in San Francisco in the early 2010’s, and whom collectively deeply influenced the queer and mainstream art and culture. Some of those artists continue to make performance art, and others have moved onto different forms of art practice. Queer freaks are like rhizomes, and supported by generations of freaky legends living and passed. I am endlessly blessed to be in this queer life.
Focus & collaboration
My work has been featured in various festivals and curated shows in the United States and internationally. I have danced for and collaborated with local choreographers and emerging international artists. Most recently, I became a 2020 MAP Fund semifinalist with collaborator Lil Miss Hot Mess for their upcoming piece ‘Care Scams,’ and are currently an EDGE Artist in Residence at CounterPulse with Rachael Dichter.
I continue to work in a medium adjacent to drag, and hold pop music, makeup, and adornment as cornerstones of my art practice. My focus in art is now complicated & enriched by chronic illness. I have a severe form of an autoimmune disease effecting my joints, called Psoriatic Arthritis. I often appear able bodied, though I continue to grapple with changing physical ability. I thank illness and disability for accelerating the depth of my body based art practice.
As my health becomes more stable, I am recalibrating my art practice to include more accessibility & care work. This includes centering rest and joy in my practice. I look forward to incorporating community into this practice.
I’m an earnest bitch.