We had the good fortune of connecting with Xue DiMaggio and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Xue, what inspires you?
I am inspired by the multiplicities in our shared lives and the multifacetedness that makes our individual experiences so unique. As a student of and advocate for interdisciplinary cooperation, (specifically, on issues of social and environmental justice) – my creative inspiration has been largely shaped by my lived experience as a queer person of color who is contending with her intersectional identity.
My art aims to capture the nebulousness of connection and the life forces that run through us – much like waves of energy. As a neurodivergent person, my worldview and lived experience are integral to my creativity, expression, and interpretation of reality. In this way, I use color to capture the abstract, intangibles of life: emotions, feelings, states of being. My focus on the human form and the unspoken language of color, movement, and pattern aims to liberate and diversify from harmful mainstream social expectations. In essence, I am inspired by the large swaths of gray that we try so hard to categorize into black and white, the hard and spiky feelings that dig into our concepts of self, and how healing our relationship to ourselves is essential in understanding and developing healthy relationships with others.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
My art has always been a way for me to express and emote. It is what lights a fire in my belly, what inspires me, what makes me who I am. As a highly sensitive and empathetic individual, I often felt like I was absorbing the emotions, the energies of others. Creating became this outlet where I could pour out all the feelings, textures, movements and colors I had experienced that day, in a way that was cathartic and insightful. Someone once said, upon seeing my work, ‘its like looking at slides of your mind’. And in many ways, it absolutely is. My art speaks in ways that my mouth cannot. My ability as an artist is more than a hobby, or even a potential profession. It is the lens through which I view myself and the world around me.
XD art has been long in the making. While growing up, I always wanted to be “an artist” – but it felt like this lofty, vague concept, a forever moving bar, that I constantly chased. As I was funnelled through school I felt the pressure to choose, to narrow my life scope, to a singular focus – a core major, a profession, a career. I battled with this decision, feeling as though I had to sift through these different categories in my life and somehow weigh them against each other. But from these years spent in a pandemic, and the freedom of being fresh out of school – I had many big life realizations that led to embracing – not battling – my differences and diverse interests. I freed myself of the need ‘to choose’ and instead chose to embrace my creative energy as a companion, not a destination. To put it simply, I am learning and unlearning – my creative process is a flow, a state of being, a physical manifestation of a nebulous cloud of thoughts. We are multidimensional, multifaceted beings. We can be many things at once. XD art is just one, of many, extensions of myself.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I live in West Hollywood so I would definitely take them on a hike at Runyon Canyon with my dog. I’d probably show them the nearest doggy-daycare center, the ones with clear, floor-to-ceiling windows where you can see the dogs sleeping and playing on the way there. I love watching them all doing their doggy things. Then we might go to Melrose – maybe visit Fairfax if it’s Sunday, stop off at Nomoo for some plant-based burgers, and then hit up a tattoo shop – depending on our moods. Another day, I would absolutely take them to the Huntington Gardens (I could spend days in there). I would also want to share my local plant nursery – Mickey Hargitay Plants – where I would probably unintentionally end up taking 5+ plants home…
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I would like to shoutout my fellow femme creators. I would not be where I am today without the support and encouragement of other women, whether in the form of my high school art teacher, Suzette Morrow, or the lovely individual who nominated me for this series, Anna Harrington! I also want to recognize Audre Lorde and other monumental femme figures who continue to add depth and dimension to our discussions of racism, sexism, classism, etc., from ALL perspectives and narratives. Finally, I want to acknowledge the endless support and love I’ve received from my friends, family, and fellow art lovers. Having the ability, privilege, and opportunity to pursue my creative passion is the ultimate gift. Thank you mom, thank you dad, thank you all.