Her Story: An Artist Bio

My name is Danielle Diamond, and at the time of writing this, Fall of 2022, I am 34 years young & living on the unceeded territories of The Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh Nations. Diamond is not my given ‘sir’ name, it’s my adopted HER name & I dare say I’ve earned it.

I was born with an innate desire to explore both the great outdoors and the deep inner landscape of the human psyche. I was the daughter of a loving but short leashed second generation immigrant Mother & an alcoholic, emotionally abusive father. I was born severely hearing impaired in both ears and was a dedicated fundamentalist Christian until my early 20’s.

An artist by birth, I began my practice early by using myself, family members & friends as canvases for my artistic expression & mirrors in which I could see different angles of myself through. Though I loved to spend hours alone in nature; dress-up & improvisational interactive performances was how I filled most of my play time as a child, beginning what’s been a life long experiment of intentional shape shifting & documenting these shifts through visual storytelling.

I tell stories through dance, film & photography. These three mediums have been my life long creative passions & I was in my first ballet class by the age of two. My dance training continued to the pre-professional level until high school graduation, where self-worth issues, lack of artistic mentorship & a profound desire to understand ‘God’ lead me to dropping out of dance training & enrolling in full time bible-based theological studies. 

‘Love as sacrifice’ was a strong Christian value my family upheld, so I sacrificed my dream of becoming a professional dancer to become more Godly. Ironically this choice would lead to my eventual parting from the Christian community when professors couldn’t’ answer my interrogation style questions & the lights in the nightclubs started to look better then the self suffering hypnotic church songs on repeat.

In three short years my whole world view had shifted drastically. I moved alone from small town to big city, & as a naive ‘good Christian girl,’ I faced almost instantly, two sudden & shocking events of sexual abuse. These crisis’ were immediately buried with shame & guilt though they offered me the opportunity to deeply examine the fundamentalist attitude: If God was real, & He ultimatly wanted me to save myself for marriage, why would He let THIS happen to me?

A bitter sweet wakeup call was served & I was determination to fight back, but just who was I too fight if it was God’s fault but God wasn’t real?

I soon found perceived safety somewhere deep in the artistic subculture of Vancouver’s underground queer party scene. They say suffering leads to inspiration and between 2010 & 2014 I created an immense body of experimental artworks, becoming a locally infamous performance artist, concept model, costume designer & reliable all night access to some of the wildest parties in town. 

Since I no longer had God to blame my problems on, my battle turned inward & I became an expert at alchemizing gentleness into roughness, vulnerability into violence & the need for love & closeness into damaging inner rage. I was attempting to accept my queerness (big sin), failing to have positive sexual relationships outside of marriage (bigger sin), & finding that I gained self-protective energy in the various dramatic acts of rebelling against my puritan past. 

I was succumbing to the addictions of my father and they helped me resist the loneliness & displacement I felt from being essentially expelled from the cult-like world I grew up in.

Sometime around age 25 I hit my first rock bottom & had the better sense to move away from ‘the scene.’ As a result of my severe hearing loss, I had struggled to form genuine connections outside ‘the scene’ & instead of seeking help, I isolated & begun recovering from my drug & trauma induced psychosis alone. My creative life never stopped (at this point I was managing a fairly successful costume company & had just opened my own photography studio) but I was in a deep depression, afraid of therapy, and safely believing that the whole world was my enemy! 

In 2016 I had a revolutionary spiritual healing experience during a Hawaiin Lomi Lomi bodywork session, where I experienced an opening of my heart chakra and a profound awakening of love in my energetic body. At that point something made me realize that in order to curate a radical shift in my inner world, I needed to create one in my outer world! So true to my dramatic nature, I closed shop on my life in Vancouver & bought a one-way ticket to heal myself in Central America. (Yes, the bad hairstyle was a part of my plan…I would blend in until I was ready to stand out again.)

6 years & many more radical shifts later I am back where I left off, making art in a vibrant queer-leaning scene, though luckily this time around I am much more aware of my mental wellness needs, in control of my addictive natures & proud of my artistic accomplishments. I have credits as a feature film costume designer, I have traveled to many countries, I can transform myself & others into any sort of creature the imagination desires, & my quest for connection with Spirit is constantly unfolding in profound ways. 

I’ve decided to share my life story publicly for the first time in order to reach any fellow be-ings who could be realigned to their path of wellness knowing they are not alone. I am publishing this content on my artist website in order to merge the two identities I’ve been operating as; One as Danielle Diamond, a somewhat ‘out-there’, socially extroverted avant garde artist, and the other as ‘Red Velvet Renegade’, a student of plant medicine, nature-based artist, explorer of human consciousness & introverted empath.

I am currently in another life re-direction phase where I start shifting from textile-based projects into psychologically & historically-based projects as I am researching & studying a topic I call ‘costume therapy.’ I believe aspects of this ancient practice helped me on my healing journey without my awareness, so I am crafting a user-freindly formula which I believe will be a powerful healing tool for those people who like me, have been faced with debilitating identity crisis’ in their lives.

You can experience my archived work as a costume designer, creative director and performance artist at www.houseofregalia.ca and follow my two halves on instagram both the empath & the extrovert. As I move on to the next chapter of my life’s journey I want to take a moment of gratitude for all the major & minor players in my story so far. I remember more of you then you may think and thank-you for bearing witness to the struggle, enduring the aggressive years, & celebrating the big wins along the way. 

In Love & Understanding that HOPE is a VERB, & to be Hopeful, we must MOVE.

Birth of ‘Costume Therapy’: My Story

To define who I AM, and who I AM NOT has been a core inner struggle for me throughout my life. To some, this may sound over-dramatic & privileged, but many others will know exactly what I mean when I say that those of us who didn’t develop a stable self-awareness as a child often experience symptoms in adulthood that create complete & utter madness in our inner & outer environments.


 As I begin putting my non-tangible experiences into tangible concepts for the research that I am starting to develop, I was able to identify the essential impacts that lead to my personal identity crisis.

Three radical world view disruptions occurred at profoundly important times in my development:

1. My father’s prolonged addiction & mental health problems.

2. Repressive & dogmatic religious world views that came to an abrupt end in my early 20’s.

3. A sudden realization of my queer-ness after a life of homophobic indoctrination.

Can anyone relate? These ‘situations’ contributed to my highly distorted sense of wholeness, supremely under developed sense of self-worth & lead to the early development of an aggressive inner voice that kept me living in a bubble of fear, shame, guilt and resentment. 


I grew up longing for connection but for some reason had always viewed the world as my enemy. As I reached my early 20’s and my state of mind began putting me in real danger on a regular basis, I continued to resist reaching out for help. Instead, like many others, I sought answers to my ailments through sex, drugs & rock & roll. 

Not knowing this at the time, but my inner cries for help were answered through what I see now as Divine Creative Channels. I was diving into ‘The Art of Transformation’ & these practices became my mentors, teachers & guides. As I created various works, I was being shown where my pain was, where my blocks were, and being provided not a way out, but a way through a dark night of the soul.


My invisible guides spoke to me in metaphor, gut feelings, missed opportunities &  bright, bold, wordless imagery.

Though the works I produced in those years were uninhibited and shadow-based, glorifying the darkness & underbelly of society, the projects I was creating were bringing communities of broken people together. The observation of what occurred in these curated collectives helped guide me to create Costume Therapy.

“We found common ground in needing unrestrained creative release & companionship. Validation for ALL the parts of ourselves & most importantly, the parts that society had shamed in our past.”


During these times of great upheaval, I ripped through what felt like endless personal identities; Experimenting with gender expression, physical presentation, eccentric spiritual practices & sexuality. Though I now use she/her pronouns and feel quite comfortable embracing my femininity, my years of dysphoria have granted me a vast understanding of what many people face on a daily basis in their journey. 


I took a job at a boutique costume shop where I had to put a pause on my anxious & depressed mental states to help West Vancouver residents & TV personalities transform themselves for theme parties & corporate events. It was here that I carefully observed 100’s of client’s reactions to being dressed-up, experiencing countless shifts of energy both within each individual session, and by seeing them return year after year, each time with more bounce in their step.

I eventually took a break from the arts to deep dive into personal healing and via a complicated path of solitary travel, isolation in nature, professional therapy & eventual re-integration of my creative spirit, I find myself in a place (more often then not) of harmony, inner peace & deep love for all the aspects of my be-ing. 

I now know that maintaining a balance between my passionate states of creation, non-creation & being in right relationship with Nature is essential to my inner & outer happiness. I am elated to have won this particular battle with identity, and for it to have resulted in the development of a practice which I believe has the power to create REAL CHANGE in many lives. 

My current research is opening me to an ancient world of profound healing practices based in costumed performance & community ritual. I seek to bring elements of these more tribal & cultural practices into a medium where just about anyone can work through guided steps to a place of self discovery, understanding and love. 

PS:

If you are finding yourself in a dangerous place with your mental health please know that healing IS POSSIBLE, no matter how dark it all might seem right now. Finding a therapist can be a complicated & intimidating process (took me 32 years to work up the courage to do it) but I can vouch for the experience being 100% less terrible then I always assumed it would be. I found answers to what I thought would be issues for life and was shocked at the complete lack of condescending dialogue that I feared so greatly. So if you’re looking for a sign to get professional…THIS IS YOUR SIGN. 

*I am not a trained psychotherapist or registered counsellor so I highly recommend that you find one of these amazing folks to talk to if your situation is urgent.*

In love & gratitude to the collective consciousness…

New Years Eve 2022!

Are you looking for a gorgeous, wild, opulent, original, colourful and sexy look for ringing in the new year? GREAT. Consider booking a personal styling session with ME (Danielle Diamond) at House of Regalia…just off Commercial Drive, East Van.

I have three full racks of custom re-worked vintage and thrifted brand name clothes/costumes/wearable art to look through, jewelry, accessories, and a decade of professional costume styling to offer you.

These have been some REALLY CRAZY past couple years and there’s no better way to shake them off then to get dressed up as a creative, mythical, cosmic royalty version of yourself and DANCE…I’ve built my little costume studio for just this purpose.

I also have a tea shoppe here where a daily custom witches brew (Ahem I mean herbal tea :p) is always on the stove and a complimentary service to your styling appointment. Book in with a few friends or come on your own.

My number here is 604-341-7132. Text me to book an appointment or just let me know when you want to pop-by! I invite you to bring items from your own tickle truck to match with mine.

Sending you love, resilience, and a strong reminder that you are BEAUTIFUL, WILD & FREE. You are not alone and the rainbow tribe is growing. Deep breaths and here we go into another year of the unknown filled with opportunity to create the world we want to live in.

xox -Danielle Diamond. PS Follow me on the instas https://www.instagram.com/thehouseofregalia/

THE DIVINE FEMININE IS RISING!!!!!!

Lost Together

In an Instal currently Exhibiting at The Rattle Arts Collective

“To all the faces/places above and all the others who were there with me in those years, thank-you. Sweet dreams are made of these and we will never be the same.” -D

Contact me to purchase a print. 5×7 ish all hand matted. $10-$20 sliding scale and I will be donating all proceeds to local indigenous land protection projects.

dbarnes.creative@gmail.com or facebook messenger or insta @ Pippysemporium – Screen shot the ones you want.

Date With A Ghost

Playing with light, shadow, and improvisation. Filmed in one take without concept or direction. As usual, I put on the costume and let it lead the way. Synced up with this song from an art friend of mine Boxcar Kyla who I shot with many many moons ago. Watch and comment to support us ❤

There is this weird synchronicity for me and film making. Somehow I always find the exact perfect song. No struggle. This is odd because I struggle to do simple things like answering my phone or making it anywhere on time. Finding a song to perfectly match the nuances in movement is easy and I’m glad.

Extremely grateful for Kyla’s offer to collaborate on this macabre Valentines piece. Find her on Tik Tok & Insta as @KylaLeeLawyer

Happy Valentine’s Day to you all. Remember self love is the first love and the only love that you can count on to be un-conditional. It’s not easy, it takes work like any relationship. If you value it like you do the love from others, you will never be alone. Baby steps. Have a bath. Forgive yourself for ‘doing that thing again.’ Let yourself do something forbidden. Be free.

Seek Your Depth

A creative collaboration with dancer CC Stardust

I asked CC if she had anything she wanted to share about her frustrations with the patriarchy. I wanted this series to link not only with the beauty and power of wymoon, but to create a space where we can be both GORGEOUS and ANGRY. We’ve been told for too long now to keep quiet. That it’s distasteful to be an angry feminist. I beleive though, if we don’t keep sharing our depths we will continue to be silenced to protect the parriarchle ego.

“I’m having a hard time coming up with things. Maybe that’s what’s most frustrating? That the patriarchy feels so normal to me I can’t even think of anything specific to be angry about. I mean there are all the frequently spoken about things; women being paid lower wages, having decisions about our bodies made by men, no male contraceptives (that one bugs me a lot), victim shaming, the “pink tax”. I really hate the way women are portrayed in movies as well, like, usually it’s a love story about a male main character, then the woman comes into the situation and he ends up dying or going to jail because of her/their relationship. Like women or love of a woman are the cause of all mens problems, such crap. I hate that women’s bodies are simultaneously worshipped and demonized. Make up your minds! I guess there are a lot of things but they all sound overplayed to me and that in itself is ridiculous.”

Which version of this series is your fav¿ I can’t choose!