Artist Spotlight No. 5: James Gardella

Know first about James Gardella - dancer, choreographer, drag queen - and No. 5 of 13 presented artists during Volume V, Issue II. Also known as drag persona Violet Elixir, James uses performance as a means to navigate through change, the passage of time, and death. Learn more about James and Violet Elixir on our Artist Spotlight. 


Photo: Jae Paige

Photo: Jae Paige

Three words that describe your choreography: 
Raw, Bold, Whimsical 

About James
James Gardella graduated from Wesleyan University with a BA in Dance in 2012. That fall, he performed for Ximena Garnica's residency as a part of Movement Research in Residency at the New Museum: Re-Thinking the Imprint of Judson Dance Theater, 50 years later. His choreography and visual art have been presented by Dixon Place, CAVE, City Bird Gallery and Con Artist Collective. He performs as drag persona Violet Elixir at various nightclubs in NYC and is also a certified Dharma Yoga instructor. In collaboration with visual artist/drag queen Untitled Queen, James will also present work for Triskelion Art's Collaborations in Dance Festival this fall. 

About James Gardella's Creative Process
My work responds to my fear of death and the impermanence of life by searching for timeless truth. I offer a new way of seeing to inspire transformation. I use performance to come to terms with change, the passage of time, and death, using my body as a vehicle for expression to reconcile artistic and spiritual understandings of self. My process is driven by my creativity and sexuality to generate and consume form. I utilize movement, music, costume, video, and photography to explore themes of identity, gender, and ego. 

Do you work in other mediums other than dance? Any other special talents?
I am currently working to bring together drag, costume, and dance.

What artists are you influenced by? Why so?
I am inspired by innovative artists who take risks and don’t repeat what’s been done before.

What is your most memorable moment as an artist, thus far?
Presenting my two senior thesis dance pieces, featuring sound collage by collaborator Sam Silver, gave me the greatest sense of pride and accomplishment as an artist thus far. 

We’re all physical beings! What’s your favorite part of the body and why?
I love hands because of their delicacy and strength.

Say what you want to say! Have a quote you live by?
“live in a rainbow of chaos." - Paul Cézanne 

Photo: Chris Harris 

Photo: Chris Harris 

Lean more about James here and connect with him on Facebook + Instagram.

See James present "glitter fabulous" in Volume V, Issue II., on Friday, August 23rd at 7:30pm + Sunday, August 23rd at 3pm with Talkback.

Volume V, Issue II. is happening August 21-23, 2015 at the wild project.
See the full schedule and get tickets here.