We had the good fortune of connecting with Carla X and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Carla, how have you been keeping yourself busy during quarantine?
Being an out of work performance artist during a pandemic has had its share of emotional turmoil. I spent an awful lot of the time sulking around the house the first few weeks. Having establishing myself in Austin after just shy over two years of living in this city, I had been working gigs as a full time performance artist just about every Thursday- Sunday for a year straight. This all came to a staggering halt after my last gig (March 14) and has since continued to devastate me with the uncertainties of the future for artist and gig workers. Through this I have in many ways forced myself to face the uncomfortable and start to adapt to a new era of entertainment in which the possibilities are yet to be discovered. This new found perspective has allowed me to find some joys in the home time bestowed upon me. Finding myself trying to reconnect with my art for the love of it. To me that means getting excited about conceptualizing and doing research to inspire new act, even if it’s not something I can create right away just getting lost in the concept world, like reading a book and being transmuted to another fantastical dimension. Previously, I allowed my freelancer and gig mentality to lead my creative decisions letting the hussle get ahead of my creativity to turn out shows because i’m a little burn out from a month or more of traveling and doing gigs every single weekend, always missing social and art events that I am not hired for and having FOMO. This fatigue can sometimes be overwhelming despite how much I love living my art. But this forced time off has really started to light a spark in me to continue being a creative tour du force, So, that’s been my favorite thing, trying to find my voice in this new world of digitized performing arts. I’ve been forced to rediscover myself as an artist, and it allows me to expand my reach and really let my art speak through me. This process of creation is really keeping me sane right now. I have kept myself busy by training at home via zoom with many of my wonderful teachers and friends, joining live stream shows and being innovative in finding ways to choreograph, record, and edit shows using only the things and area available to me at home. I think it’s really important right now to take this time to get in touch with our creative expression. Using our minds to find creative solutions will be the only way for artists to survive and thrive in a rapidly changing world. I take this time to express what is fundamentally true to myself because it grounds me to something familiar when everything around me feels out of control.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
The diversity and quality of my talents is really what makes me different from other performers around me. My ability to combine costume design, makeup art, and circus arts with high concept ideas really help me elevate my presentation as a solo performer. A lot of my career has been through people who believed in me early on in my career and word of mouth through those events. I probably got in my own way a bit early on, and one thing I’ve been focusing on now is being better about building my network out and more actively pursuing work. It’s hard to overcome the self doubt that naturally comes with being an artist trying to sell your talents, but that’s the only way to build a career doing what you love with full creative freedom. I’m reminded of a saying here, “Everything you want is on the other side of fear” An affirmation which really helped me overcome many artistic insecurities. I’m most excited to debut my ability to present circus acts on my own in the next few months. I’ll be launching my company, Intergalactic Media, in a more official capacity and putting some real energy into making my vision of media, technology, and art come to life.I’ve been building up a bank of circus equipment, and I’ll soon be able to provide equipment and casting for events wherever they are. I have a number of really high concept digital performance videos I’ll be working on in the near future with other groups of talented performers, so that’s another thing I’m really excited to put out into the world. Coming together and working on events in the new reality of social distancing takes a huge collaborative effort, but I’m excited to be part of an adaptable group of people making changes to keep bringing art to the world.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Well, this is an interesting question for the times we are in now as most things are closed due to COVID 19. But lets pretend pretend things are fully open and back to normal. If you’re going to do a whirlwind tour of Austin, TX, one of the first things you should do is get breakfast tacos. Veracruz All Natural is one of my favorite spots (Reminder to support local business, they’ve had to close a location already.) Once breakfast is out of the way, I always like to take people to Mt. Bonnell, so they can see how pretty and diverse the Austin landscape is. This is a pretty quick trip overall, and should only take you an hour or two if you’re really taking in the sights. Fair warning, there’s stairs like a buddhist temple up front. I’d probably go to lunch at Nixta Taqueria first…I always like to showcase the best the city has to offer, and these are the best tacos maybe in the country. From there, I’d take a stroll around Ladybird Lake, and do a little people watching. The cityscape out here is always a lot of fun. Dinner gets a little harder to choose, but Barley Swine is a really good introduction to local flavor and cuisine. It’s sort of a toss up with them or Suerte, who really showcase the Mexican roots of Texas and local cuisine. Then it depends…Austin’s such a dynamic city, that often the best thing to do is whatever is “happening” that week. City wide art and music festivals are pretty common throughout the year, and some of the most exciting ones are free in East Austin. On a nice weekend day, driving around Lake Travis is great. One super enjoyable thing to do is cruise around Lake Travis and up to Jester King. If you can get there around sunset it’s one of the most enjoyable places to relax in town. If there’s nothing extremely out of the ordinary, we most often would end up at an event on or near Red River. 6th street is worth walking down, but I avoid it outside of work. For a nightcap, the place we end up the most often is Roosevelt Room. While there’s plenty of exciting bars, like Garage in particular, Roosevelt room has the best and most exciting drinks, the most consistently. Honorable mentions for things to see: Any Park, but in particular, try to check out Hamilton Pool while you’re here. The Generative Art Project is doing fascinating things with digital art The Cathedral of Junk is a uniquely Austin piece of art, and is a really inspiring space to walk. Honorable Mentions for Food: Peche Any Tatsuya restaurant. DipDipDip, Kemuri, Ramen…they’re all amazing. Uchiko. The best sushi in the city, and some of the best in the country. Uchi is great too, but Uchiko is doing more interesting things, especially their pastries. Emmer & Rye – A fresh and upscale take on Dim Sum Sugar Pine – Some of the best casual lunch food in the city. Patrizi’s – Food truck Italian that’s the best in the city Troy – Authentic turkish food Honorable mention for cocktails: Prohibition Creamery – Alcoholic milkshakes and ice cream! Barley swine, again Garage Clubs: Rose Room – Austin’s only mega club, and where I perform most, in normal times. Elysium – This is the spot for alternative music in Austin Indra’s Awarehouse – Really interesting spot that often hosts music events and circus performances
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
There are so many people that deserve recognition in my story. I have been fortunate throughout the years to have surrounded myself with some incredible artists and people from all walks of life. Many supportive friends and mentors that have taught me an incredible amount over the years. I guess my story began in Florida with help from a few DJ friends that started my career when I didn’t even know it. Brandon Range (a.k.a DJ Deranged) and Max Cabral basically put me on the stage for my very first paid gig at which I was also entrusted with making costumes and putting together a team. This essentially kickstarted my life on the stage. Fast forward a few years later I met one of the most creative and unique artists i’ve had the pleasure of also calling a friend, muse, and mentor. Defenz Mechanizm. Who took me under her wing, taught, and inspired me with her ability to create otherworldly visions and carve them into existence. At the time I started working and creating with Defenz Mechanizm I gained lot of experience in curating multi character conceptual performances, the importance of unique concepts and storytelling through movement as well as the importance in the details such as costuming and makeup. Our consistent work together also allowed me to meet many other highly skilled artists and performers During the time I spent working in Orlando and beyond working with DefenzMechanizm I had the opportunity to work with the talented crew of body painters, makeup artists, and costume designers at Wolfe Fx where I learned a lot about body paints and different makeup techniques and types. I not only gained a lot of knowledge in my time working here but also got to make friendships that are still prominent today. And with that Id like to shout out Kurt Drake and April Powell for happily answering my questions any time I have a face painting or FX inquiri. Miss Isobel Devi is another name worth mentioning, this woman is so dedicated, driven, talented, and just all around boss. She taught me a lot about discipline when it comes to being a freelancer. I have never met anyone as driven as her to reach their goals, she works so hard and makes it look easy. Fast forward again to my last few years living in Florida, Val Barlett (a.ka. Val Vampyre) who was a huge inspiration to my interests in the world of burlesque and what burlesque and performance art could look like in terms of pushing the edge but with grace. Danny AE whos unique way of thought helped me in turn think more creatively and conceptually. He is also the awesome graphics designer who made a handful of my logos. They showed me new perspectives of what art could be and added some mysticism to my life. They both hyped me up and helped me create in so many ways, their words of greatness really put some power behind me and inspired a new level of confidence in myself. Living in Austin has been revolutionary on its own when it came to giving me room to further grow and continue my career but it wouldn’t have been without the help of some really awesome people that saw my work and believed in me enough to help me get a start when I knew no one and nothing in Austin, TX. So the first on this list is LeFevre Cabaret, a wonderful group of ladies that helped me find my footing when I moved to Austin by making me one of their resident performers and also casting me on my first burlesque show. My work collaborative work with the crew of Illuminatra Entertainment has also been exceptional enough to be deserving of a shout out. Jordan Remar is one of my favorite people and best friends. This woman is so skilled and talented in so many different ways, a true muse to what big dreams and determination can achieve. Ilia Dragonwolf is another member of the team who has pushed me beyond my limits, and I mean that, strength training with him will turn you beast mode. Thankful to have these two video chatting me for at home workouts on the regular, I certainly wouldn’t be coming out of this quarantine in shape without them. KS Entertainment, these ladies are one of the most skilled group of dancers and flow artists I have ever been a part of, I feel very fortunate to be a crucial team member on this squad of badass women. Their level of professionalism is unparalleled. Our team leader Krystal makes every one of our costumes herself, she makes us look our best and feel our best every time we are on the stage. She is an incredible leader that makes it easy to want to go above and beyond to make her proud and in turn making us our best selves when we’re out there performing. Next on my list is Lache movement Co, my other home, who’s teachers have done so much for me in my journey as an aerialist and contortionist. Their walls gave me place to grow and learn new skills in my career as a professional circus performer, they welcomed me into their community with open arms and have always been a safe space. Otgo Waller my contortion teacher who’ve i’ve only been training with for a short time but made so many discoveries and advancements in my training. I have unlocked so much since working with her, her style of teaching really works in favor for my body and mind. I genuinely feel like she cares so much for her students and is just an incredible person to get to know. My last shoutout is reserved for my partner Derek whos support, wisdom, and tech knowledge have been invaluable. He really helps me polish a lot of my work and look at things from a larger perspective. And of course my family for accepting that I am a professional weirdo.
Bound by image Photography InspireFilmsOfficial Scott White photography Addison Noel Photography