lia chavez, Closets
Our Greatest Strengths Lie Within Our Wounds

StyleLikeU has met its spirit double: “I’m stripping naked my creative process in an effort to create a spectatorship that doesn’t fetishize someone, but invites and inspires wonder and participation.” Those are the words of the spirit double in question — this month’s Closet, painter and performance artist Lia Chavez. Her “utilitarian” uniform of paint-splattered Jackson-Pollock jeans and Peggy-Guggenheim Pradas allow her to go from feverishly creating away in her home/studio to mover-and-shaker meetings, all while keeping the cosmos close to her heart (because it’s emblazoned on her favorite tee shirt). We first featured this all-in-one monk goddess, draped in kaftans and headdresses, along side her Internet guru husband in our Valentine’s Day love video, and we sure did fall in love.

We’re obsessed with those who create their own path, and Lia built a road leading out of  small-town Colorado, where her family owned a used-car lot, and into Italy, where, while studying art, she came face-to-face with her “heart’s true desire.” We have meetings in our bedrooms and workshops at the beach on Sundays, so we don’t place barriers between “art” and “life,” and neither does Lia. As her thunderbolt tights suggest, art strikes Lia literally at her core. Her performances are feats of endurances that can last for up to 90 days. They involve “moderate fasting” (i.e. no alcohol or caffeine, just water and blended fruits and vegetables), as well as mediations so deep that, in her words, “I’ve encountered a light so beautiful, it’s frightening.” Throughout all of this, she’s recording her thoughts on an iPad that’s projected onto a wall so that everyone can is included in her mental process.  A sage-like seeker with a glamorous silhouette, Lia explores her body and brain with the daring of her grandma. “Within every wound lies the invitation to one’s greatest strength,” Lia believes, and her grandma did just that. When her German father disowned her and told her that she would never have any shoes because she was marrying a man of Mexican descent, Lia’s grandma got herself a pair of shoes in every color of the rainbow.

Growing up, Lia’s “core creative ritual” consisted of locking herself away in the dark attic so that she could experience "the apparitions." For her, “what we consider dark is actually the bright light of intimacy.” We have described what we do at StyleLikeU in hundreds of different ways, but we resonated emphatically with our own mission when we heard Lia describe the method behind her own art. We, too, desire to harness the “bright light of intimacy”(as opposed to the incendiary, exploitative, and invasive glare that’s smothered the culture) for the stories of individuals, who, like Lia, inspire us to bring our own worlds to another level of capital "B" Beauty, which, for, us is synonymous with vulnerability. As Lia so eloquently explains, “ I don’t think that there’s been any truly great art that’s been created outside of an absolutely vulnerable state. It’s suffering that allows us to be emptied of our own strength so that we can experience a state of filling that is not only worth living for, but that’s worth dying for.”

Your Style is Your Story, & Lia's is in her above Closet video!

Elisa + Lily

Follow Lia on Instagram: @liachavez
Follow her on Twitter: @liachavez
Lia's video was edited by Andrea Cruz
She was photographed and interviewed by Elisa Goodkind

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What's Underneath
What's Underneath