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  • Writer's pictureLonely Artist Club

Xue DiMaggio: Multimedia Artist

Lonely Artist Club had the pleasure of sitting down with Multimedia Artist Xue DiMaggio to discuss her work and perspective on what it means to be an artist. Let’s dive in…


Thanks for meeting with us Xue. First and foremost, we want to talk about your art. What mediums do you work with and how did you come to find them?

I mainly work with acrylic paint, but I love exploring and having fun with other mediums such as drawing, wood burning, and digital renders.

I’m a very tactile person and I love some good textures. Acrylic paint is perfect for building layers and making textures so that was truly my first love. Also, as a self-directed artist, I found acrylics to be more accessible and less daunting in that I don’t have years of formal training, just years of self exploration! I like the idea of oil paints and have given them a try, but after evolving my practices with acrylics, I found my style didn’t translate as well with oils - to be frank, I just didn’t have the patience to let things dry!

Along with my love of textures, comes the joy of using a good pastel stick, random objects like plastic forks, knives and spoons, and anything else that can bring along a satisfying mark-making experience. There’s something delicious about smooshing colors around. My pieces reflect my use and enjoyment of color. My friends like to lovingly refer to me as a color wizard and I love that descriptor for my creations.


"There’s something delicious about smooshing colors around."


We want to hear more about your multimedia artwork, but first can you tell us a bit about who you are outside of your creative work?

I feel a lot. When I was younger I used art to explore myself and the world without the burdens or clunkiness of language, preconceived notions, unrelenting structure and expectations. Creating became a gateway to understanding my emotions. A good part of my personal journey is unpacking belonging, identity and self-worth. My art features a lot of human forms, mental and environmental landscapes, movement and feeling. Creating has become a way of exploring connection - to myself, to others, to our shared environments, the ecosystems that build our lives - physical, emotional, mental.


"I used art to explore myself and the world without the burdens or clunkiness of language, preconceived notions, unrelenting structure and expectations. Creating became a gateway to understanding my emotions."


From what I understand, creativity is extremely important to you - crucial even. How do you handle creative blocks if or when they arise?

Oh yes! Like most other creatives, my creativity ebbs and flows. That being said, I think that the frustration with creative blocks stems from the inability to 'control' your skill, craft, talent, etc. Us humans are so obsessed over control and predictability, but the real power comes from learning and observing all of the moving forces and processes around us and how we can move in it rather than dominate it to our will.

So I guess in a round-a-bout way, my advice for creative blocks is to accept it. And along with that acceptance, maybe explore the feelings and fears that might be - consciously or unconsciously - directing your creative flow. I also feel that finding other artists and sharing these experiences can help connect and ground us all as well as help us all feel less alone in our struggles! Thanks to Lonely Artist Club for creating these connections.


"Us humans are so obsessed over control and predictability, but the real power comes from learning and observing all of the moving forces and processes around us and how we can move in it rather than dominate it to our will."


Creative blocks are a challenge to overcome. However, is there another aspect of your work as a multimedia artist that is equally, if not more, difficult to manage than creative blocks?

The hardest part is knowing when to step away. I will forever fixate on a piece and push it around into eternity - I’ve started a practice of stopping and stepping away and then returning to a piece once the spirit finds me, to re-evaluate with fresh eyes. I also think that this goes hand in hand with my assumptions around a 'finished' piece of art. My tendency to overwork a piece used to stem directly from a need for perfection, or rather, a need to control an outcome. I used to have a running script in my mind of how a 'professional artist' would do things, as opposed to the way I do, a self-directed learner. But it’s just a self imposed boundary, a lens I’ve put on myself that makes me believe I’m an imposter… and constantly doubting yourself gets exhausting! Getting out of your head is hard, but this experience is what unites all artists.


"I used to have a running script in my mind of how a 'professional artist' would do things, as opposed to the way I do, a self-directed learner."


This next question is a bit more candid, but we have to ask! Do you have any fears surrounding your art?

I think we might all share a baseline fear of 'but what if no one likes this.' It comes down to value and appreciation, along with being seen. Allowing yourself to put something out there, in the hopes that it will resonate with others, is scary stuff sometimes. Putting a lot of time and effort and love and concentration into a thing and then presenting said thing to the world can feel very vulnerable. And like the social beings we are, we just want to feel seen, accepted and valued.


"Putting a lot of time and effort and love and concentration into a thing and then presenting said thing to the world can feel very vulnerable. And like the social beings we are, we just want to feel seen, accepted and valued."


Speaking of feeling 'seen,' what are your thoughts on social media and how it effects artists?

Like most things, social media carries positives, negatives and everything in between. I appreciate the connectedness and ability to cross so many boundaries - geographical, cultural, time & space, etc. This form of community-building, though different and relatively new, can help us widen our mental scopes and lenses while remaining inside the safety of our physical spaces. Yet, on the flip side, social media in general can also be isolating - mirages of people’s best lives and appearances.

In terms of art and artists with social media, it demonstrates the overall system we live in, where content has become capital and understanding the artistic struggles and processes takes a backseat to producing, producing, producing a product. The pressure to create is innate within artists. But, when combined with a social media environment, and the need to satisfy an endless audience (or at least your followers) that comes with it, it can definitely get in your head and impact your art.

I think it’s a careful balance of trying to connect with others while maintaining your connection to self and your work - regardless of what the external validation might look like. The fact that you are creating makes you an artist, not your platform, not the number of followers, not the notoriety but the feeling and release of doing the thing.


"The pressure to create is innate within artists. But, when combined with a social media environment, and the need to satisfy an endless audience (or at least your followers) that comes with it, it can definitely get in your head and impact your art."


Lastly, before you go, we have one more question... what advice would you give to other artists out there?

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder and often we are the most critical beholders of ourselves. I’m most surprised when I have partially done pieces with half-visions and ideas that people really like as is. It just throws off your perception of a piece because, for me, it was the landing before reaching the destination. I guess what I’m saying is, we all experience art in different ways. It’s often your closeness to the process that makes it harder to step away and zoom out. So, remember to be kind to your creative mind, and if you’re feeling frustrated, ask a trusted friend to lend you some supportive insight from the outside.


"...We all experience art in different ways. It’s often your closeness to the process that makes it harder to step away and zoom out. So, remember to be kind to your creative mind."


Thanks again Xue for sharing your work, background, and creative process with us. It was truly a pleasure chatting with you.


If you want to learn more about Xue, check out her socials:


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