- the ojai vortex on the basic premise gallery residency 2021
- Body Bags at Marciano Art Foundation July 2018
- Floor Plan
- Pieter Performance Space
- Jmy and Dorothy, 2017
- Tara Jane O’Neil
- Bright Warm Watercolors
- Modern Garage Movement
- Sunland Dancers — Friend at Hammer, 2014
- Sunland Dancers — Welcome on Flat Top
it’s already almost summer, what?
My work is celebratory in nature. I celebrate the mundane radicalness of living, dying, loving and hard shopping by dancing, performing, weaving, feltloom and building community. I don’t know what I believe in anymore but I look for shape and feeling patterns everywhere.
I am building or finding a Music and Dance Temple someday. I am looking for sheer beauty, small scale and deep state transformation.
I fall through cracks. I love falling, in the cracks.
I want to bring sunshine inside…. sunshine is health and happiness. sunshine glitters and sunshine can be dangerous. sunshine is fire. california has been burning. I want to bring all of these things into this dance. inspired by the designer and architect India Mahdavi, the painter, textile, costume and set designer Sonia Delaunay and the healer and artist Emma Kunz. this dance though is a dance. I believe that the function is beautiful. for something to be functional it must be alive, to be alive is to be able to be playful, feel the room the pathway to twist and turn and move around.
I hold all of my shit in this bag of a body.
dancing for people is the most vulnerable part of my practice. I don’t really have a way to talk about what it is exactly because it is not words or sentences or images or videos. It is just bodies, dancing is just bodies. I dance to be seen and felt, to connect with people in the process of designing dances, to connect to this physical body I inhabit, to transform energy, to be human. dancing is to me just being human. the steps, the moves, the dances I work on for months and years don’t really matter to me. it just just shifting weight which is already always happening anyway in us.
I make each piece with special love and care. About 60% of my fabrics are given to me by friends for no cost which allows me to keep my prices reasonable. I don’t have a desire to mass produce or be on any sort of fashion schedule other than the weather. I make clothes as an interdependent part of my work which includes designing dances, dancing, painting and community activism. I work in non-standard sizes of Small, Medium, and Large. I use a wide variety of natural and synthetic fabrics and materials that might not be considered fabrics. I have a propensity for brightly hued patterns; there is something for me about looking at or being inside of many different patterns that makes me feel alive and calm. Many of my designs began as outfits for dance pieces both my own and other choreographers. I would prefer to be naked as much of the time as society and temperature allowed but if I have to wear clothes I want them to be comfortable and durable and make me want to move my body. In my process of making pieces I design them, procure the fabrics, test them out on my friends and send them out into the world. Since moving to Los Angeles 8 years ago I have had the incredible opportunity to work with a wizard seamstress who I can’t publicly name. She expertly makes the patterns, cuts the fabrics and sews them. I don’t know what I would do without her intelligence and supreme skills.
about James Kidd Studio written by someone at Hammer Museum for Made in LA 2014:
Organized under the umbrella of James Kidd Studio, the activities of dancer, choreographer, and costume designer Jmy James Kidd are as varied as her pseudonyms. Kidd—née Jean-Marie Dauray Leary, aka JM Leary, Jmy Leary, Jmy, Jbird Leary, Jamm Leary, Jmlly Leary, Beatrice Wong, Penelope Margolis, Johnni Durango, and James Kidd—established James Kidd Studio in 2011, and it encompasses the artist’s individual practice, her company (the Sunland Dancers), and her Lincoln Heights dance space, Pieter.
Since opening Pieter, Kidd has participated in, fostered, and collaborated with an expanding and cross-disciplinary community of artists. She has produced costumes for A. L. Steiner and Gerard & Kelly, also featured in Made in L.A. 2014, among others, and collaborated with Nick Duran (as NICK+JAMES) and Tara Jane O’Neil. A formally trained dancer, Kidd often merges conflicting styles of dance such as ballet and modern, incorporating movement, sound, and stage sets she builds herself. Kidd’s practice is dedicated to a rigorous and at times humorous investigation of the discipline of dance itself. If Kidd’s list of aliases suggests the refusal of a singular identity, this same logic is apparent in the multiplicity of practices and perspectives that she promotes.