We had the good fortune of connecting with Camilla Carper and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Camilla, we’d love to hear about how you approach risk and risk-taking
For many years I would conduct elaborate dressing experiments, that I called my “dressing practice”. I would set a duration and a series of dressing rules to follow for that time. I was in a constant state of performance within my everyday life. Having a definable procedure for my life and art-making, gave me a sense of relief, it made me feel as if my life had value.
In my first dressing project, took a whole year. for that time I only wore clothing that I made myself from a single sheet of linen fabric. I started on New Year’s day with nothing but a sheet wrapped around my body and carved away at the sheet as seasons changed. I made garments as I needed them. Eventually, I ran out of fabric and had to continually rework items I had already made. Clothing alteration became a way to react to and facilitate change in my life. Through the year I became more comfortable with being in a continual state of transition.
In the next dressing project titled On Loan, I only wore borrowed clothing for 3 months. I let other people dress me using clothing from their own wardrobe. I was dressed by 72 different people. I got to lose a sense of autonomy, and try on other ways of being.
These projects required risk and vulnerability. At the time I desperately needed to question the ways in which I perceived myself and explore my relation to other people.
I “came out” as Non-Binary publically at the start of the On Loan project. I had already been using they/them/theirs pronouns among queer friends but I was afraid of directly ask people to adjust the way they knew me, saw me, or referred me. I never made a grand announcement on social media because I feared opposition, I feared judgment, I feared people would think I was following some kind of trend.
An article came out about me in Teen Vogue. I requested that they use my correct pronouns, and eventually I started doing the same to everyone around me. Most people didn’t care or already knew. My mom still is having trouble with it, some friends were angry that I did not “come out” to them directly, others just avoided having to address me altogether.
I should not have had to justify my identity to others, but now that I have had some tuff conversations with friends and family, I can see that my fears around others’ judgments, were perpetuating transphobia. My understanding of self is constantly growing deeper and asking people to be with me on that journey, is giving them the opportunity to get to know the person I am currently.
I have not felt a need to conduct a dressing experiment for a long time. I am open to doing more projects in the future but I no longer need to be in a definable art practice or “dressing practice”. I don’t need to justify my daily existence or illustrate my value by being in a constant state of art-making. I working towards taking the big risk of trusting myself fully and believing that I am inherently enough regardless of what I make.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I think I went into it enough in the last question
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I can’t tell you all my secret spots but…. love sneaking into the LA RIVER, pretty much any hill in Los Angeles is glorious. Just follow inclines and you will find something special.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
Big shoutout to my favorite healer, artist, teacher, and fashion maker Andera Diodati. She inspired me to think to consider the function of beauty and reminds me to be in love with love.
color full portrait by Logan White neutral portrait Svet Jacque twin photos taken with Jiro Maestu and Butter Ball