I am Celestina. I am 29 years old. I am currently located in Manhattan, NYC. I hail from the urban South, the sprawling bayous and heat of Houston, Texas.
My body, my work, my background and my life resist easy classification. I'm a "multidisciplinary" artist and arts administrator, a "multiethnic" queer woman, a deviant scholar and a vagabond--driven as much by a self-respecting (sometimes self-obsessed) ego as by compassion for the world. This perspective has been enhanced by my global travels as a solo female backpacker before coming to NYC.
Prior to settling in New York, I spent five years traveling the world solo. I supported myself by writing, performing, directing . . .critiquing the status quo and throwing parties. In other words I was a professional bohemian lay-about. My favorite cities of my travels so far have been Tokyo, Taos, Paris, Glasgow, Distrito Federal. Houston also has a special place in my heart. It's where I was raised and where my creative career began--I first realized I could "be somebody" when the Alley Theater, the largest regional theater outside of NYC, commissioned me to write a one-act play at age 18. It was a small scale hit, so much so that it traveled subsequently in a roadshow across the state. Following this experience, I completed my bachelors degree in Creative Writing. From there, I quickly dove into the international performance circuit both on stage and off stage in a myriad of roles.
I am inspired by both my own lived experience and heritage, and the lives of my collaborators, many of whom like me are on the precipice of "being discovered." We come to our work tired and excited, the world we've inherited is full of both despair and promise. Creative courage is reconciling this polarity in the work. I am not interested in cultivating safe spaces so much as I am in breaking down barriers to communication, access and belonging. We should be serious about our values, without taking ourselves too seriously.
I believe that breaking down the disciplinary barriers between fields and practitioners is important. Most of all, I am invested in a transformation in the relationship between "artist" and "audience." This is an important evolution in both experiencing and creating art. Agency is key. In my work as a director, my collaborators are treated as peers, not as cogs in a machine. This ethos elongates and complicates the process but I believe it is worthwhile to keeping my integrity.
As a culture-maker, I am invested in combatting the larger trend of cultural production which perpetuates stereotypes, encourages victimhood identities, proliferates propaganda, exacerbates consumerism and silences dissidents. My work resists the demand for easy entertainment, it exists not to be understood but to be encountered. As such, my work has never sold a product nor has it ever bowed to the demands of trends. Yet, my work has drawn audiences in the thousands, exhibited in galleries around the world, and regardless of scope-- my colleagues and I have always been compensated for our labor. This is not the accident of "genius" but the result of knowledge sharing, community backing, and ongoing conversations with peers, patrons, audiences and institutions.
A LOVING REMINDER: Power is not only hegemonic, there is a light in all of us that together illuminates the path of justice. Art is a profound expression of power.