de’Angelo Dia is a Charlotte based artist who uses a variety of contemporary media – spoken word, poetry, photography, and performance art to explore social, cultural, political, and theological issues. We love Dia’s energy and passion for each subject that he approaches. He makes us think, talk, and reconsider our commonly held ideas about things. Be sure to go and see his work at CPCC The Boxing Gym on display until December 18th, and go hear him talk about it today in Ross Gallery at 3pm.
HCLT: Describe yourself in three words
d’AD: Extremist, Loyal, Energetic
H: Who or what inspires you artistically?
d’AD: Martha Cooper, one of the first photographers to document street art. Also Shel Silverstein, Maurice Sendak, and Dr. Seuss. As a kid I didn’t just like their books I wanted to be in their books. To me the ultimate project would be to recreate their work in a physical sense.
H: What do you think is the most valuable art experience in the Carolinas?
d’AD: As an artist I would have to say McColl Center for Art and Innovation. The space and resources are a real luxury but it was the community access to my work that really pushed me to ask questions and figure our the direction I needed to go in with my work.
As a patron of the arts, I really enjoy the Nasher Museum at Duke University and the Turchin Center of Visual Arts at Appalachian State University. Both are doing really amazing things and making really high-end art accessible.
H: When did you realize you were an artist?
d’AD: As a kid my mother really supported my creativity and my love for fantasy and superheroes, making me costumes, covering the walls of my room with paper so I could draw on them… until I cut up the curtains to make a cape. So I was always creative, but it wasn’t until grad school that I would call myself an artist. My background is in writing, I have a MA in literature, the photography and video came as a way to document the words.
H: Tell us about your current body of work?
d’AD: The Boxing Gym is a collaborative body of work with Shaun El C Leonardo. It a narrative work that explores the rise and fall of athletes within our culture. Also because it was filmed in a real old boxing gym in NoDA – which no longer exists – it also became about this place and the meaning and history of this sport in NC.
H: Where can we see your work?
d’AD: At CPCC Galleries until December 18th. I also have works in the 40 and Counting show at the Gantt Center until mid January. And recently I also participated in a group show called Axis with fellows from the Virginia Center for Creative Arts. This was huge honor to be in a show alongside one of my heroes in the field, Indrani Nayar-Gall.
H: Best meal in Charlotte?
d’AD: My favorite meal is the veggie plate from Mama’s Caribbean Grill on Central Avenue.
H: What book is on your nightstand right now?
d’AD: I always have a copy of Where the Wild Things Are and Dick Gregory’s Bible Tales on my nightstand. But I am also a book junkie, I am always reading or listening to books and then rating them on GoodReads. The best book I read this year was The Goldfinch.
H: What three things would you take with you to a deserted island?
d’AD: Dick Gregory’s Bible Tales, the Ethiopian cross I wear around my neck, and my running shoes.
H: What is up next?
d’AD: Applying for residencies. The result of this will kind of determine the direction for my next public project. I have some ideas for personal projects though, due to some recent experiences, I want to start looking at how we as adults build relationships with one another; whether it be through interactions at church, work, at the school where our kids attend. I’m not sure how long it will take or what kind of shape it will take yet. I’m also interested in looking at what fear and forgiveness looks like in a visual/physical form. I have been working on this in my writing for a while and think it is time to explore it from a visual perspective.
We here at Happenings can’t wait to see what Dia has in store in the future. Keep up with him on his website.