Meet The Artist – What I’ve Been Up Too

Greetings World! Right now feels like an important time to reintroduce myself on the social medias…;) Diamond is the last name I recently adopted for myself & the I in my name is short for Irene, it’s my given middle name & my maternal grandmother’s first name. ❤

Many of you knew me previously as ‘Dani Barnes.’ I’ve shape-shifted so many times over the years it’s been challenging to come across as both authentic AND consistent at the same time. 

Transformation isn’t a linear process…Fellow shapeshifters do you feel me?!

This is what instagram’s bio never gives me room for: 

“I’m a dancer, a character actress, a photographer & a costume designer. I’m a personal stylist, a filmmaker, an art director and a choreographer. I’m a writer, an art model, an herbalist, a traveler, an earth based spiritualist, a student of permaculture, a depth psychology researcher & a costume-therapy investigator!

YEE GADS! Way over my word count there! 

Here’s a story I’ve never told online before about how I got to where I am now…

I began my arts career moving from Abbotsford to Vancouver in 2009, as a straight-out-of-bible-college (it’s true), professionally trained dancer & theater actress. 

I started working in the industry & had some incredible experiences performing in drag, as a backup dancer, working as a model, a burlesque artist ect.  However, when faced with some serious ‘scene’ drama & financial struggle, this country Gal lacked the thick skin needed to fight back in the City…

…so by fluke I put my passion for performing on the back burner & became ‘The Costume Lady’ instead.

The stylist aspect of myself seemed to be more easily digestible, I was challenged less by life, and didn’t often have to face rejection. I seemed to succeed naturally in this realm & people rewarded me with compliments, kindness & connection. My sensitive spirit wanted & needed more of that.

I dove into my special interest in couture fashion by reclaiming vintage wedding gowns to make avant garde costume collections, complete with opulent wigs & accessories. I produced fashion shows, photo shoots & art films with these collections & practiced my photography skills by installing a small portrait studio in the costume rental company I was managing at the time.

Though I did get out for a year of overseas travel, I essentially hermited on the North Shore, working on my art while secretly battling what I now call an ‘Identity Crisis.’ (More on that later.)

Then enter 2020. Dun Dun dun…

I had been working so hard in the film industry & FINALLY was sworn into the coveted TV/film union on March 1st, 2020. Just over two weeks later, March 15th, the entire industry was shut down indefinitely…The irony! 

I spontaneously decided to buy a camper van. I gave up my apartment & left for the Kootenays in search of freedom.

These covid cancellations actually re-ignited my spiritual path & helped me rebuild my relationship with Nature. I still post about this path if you are interested…that’s what @redvelvetrenegade is all about.

So I found myself touring around BC, studying herbalism & alternative, sustainable lifestyles. A year and a half later while I was staying with a local medicine woman up North in the Cariboo, I received an offer from a designer back in Van to move home & take on a big Netflix contract….

I accepted that Netflix invitation because there were wild fires in three different directions surrounding the property I was living on and I took it as a sign it was time to go back to work. :

My time spent alone in nature had helped me shift into a new heart frequency and I felt ready to start letting myself be fully seen, unaware of what that would end up looking like..

Quickly settling into City life, my Capricorn business-nature fired into overdrive & alongside working that Neflix contract, I built a sweet little studio in City Center Motel to start hustling my costume & vintage collections.. 

Summer came around & Mural Fest threw a 2 week long event at our studio. It was bloody HOT out, thousands of ppl were coming through, & I was feeling overwhelmed by the attention I was getting. Not because I don’t like attention, *EMOJI* but because without realizing, I had focused all my energy on becoming the costume lady again, leaving my other passions on the side lines.

“There MUST be a reason I keep doing this,” she thought to herself as she scrambled to re-invent her business mid summer. “There MUST be a reason I keep coming back to costumes…but I still feel misaligned!” 

It was during this hot girl summer panic attack that the words ‘Costume Therapy’ first came to me. *LIGHTBULB*

After my accident last September there was a time period where everything felt like it was floating. Anything that wasn’t aligned in my life felt super heavy & I made some life decisions:

  1. I promised myself I would stop partying, and replace that habit by getting back into dance & performance.. 
  1. I committed to getting organized & staying focused on transforming my costuming career into something that could have profound healing effects on individuals & communities. 

So after some solid research I can not claim to have invented the idea of ‘costume therapy’, (in fact I believe the concept is ancient), the program I have been designing over the last 6 months uses a unique blend of my personal & professional experiences in transformation & I’m ready to publicly present a practice that feels in the vein of ‘My Life’s Purpose.’

Naturally, this both terrifies & electrifies me at the same time.

So without further ado…I will proof-read my website for the 100th time, make a wish, and press PUBLISH on what I am thrilled to present as my life’s next chapter:


‘Waking Dreams’ Off to the Burn.

Here is the first out of three film projects I will complete from my trip to the Burn. I’ve been trying to capture my experience in words, and will continue to do so after this film, but see if you can feel what I am feeling in the imagery below, as it speaks much louder than my words do. (Or so I would like to think)

Above all else, what I learned at Burning Man 2022, was that I can live my dream in this reality, or I can live my nightmare. Both are accessible to me at all times. In this dimension. On planet Earth and in my inner world. I shot the footage for this video on the last day’s sunrise. You may have noticed the Temple in the background of the bike shots, less than 12 hours later all that wood, becomes ash.

If I live my waking dream my life would look like this: Community, security, safety, consistency, abundance, peacefulness, stillness, & inspired movement. If I live my waking nightmare my life will look like this: Alienation, abandonment, shame, exclusion, inconsistency, panic & abuse.

They say we get to choose. Every day. Which reality we exist in. Though sometimes we land ourselves in situations where circumstance chooses for us.

When unexpectedly on the playa, I found myself in my waking nightmare…I was faced with this vital question:

How did I get here, emotionally/energetically, but more importantly, how do I get back ‘home’?

I understand that humans have the Power to call in that which we seek, & and to send out that which no longer serves. Great care must be taken here, as it’s easy to call in what has served us in the past without awareness. It’s familiar, therefore it’s easy. Our system understands how to implement this reality and I am coming to believe that unless we intentionally implement the dream, the nightmare can appear to surround us without warning.

My pilgrimage to Black Rock City was an incredible awakening & a vivid reminder of what I already know to be true. It took a deep desert disaster to finally admit to myself what has been happening in this grown-ass woman’s life; She was consuming the suffering of her childhood for her daily bread! That’s the problem with familiarity, the familiar slips in, unnoticed.

I had been trying to achieve wellness via methods that created the imbalance in the first place. Speed, schedules, assignments, disapproving words, expectations, force-fullness, crossing boundaries, sitting in danger, compromise, risk & repeatedly accepting situations, plans & people that don’t feel safe for me.

I’ve identified a sick sort of ‘safety in danger’ that I’m sure many of you can relate too.

Scorching hot & impossible to ignore, was the amplification of the patterns in my life that I was consciously seeking to escape from, but subconsciously still participating in! Amazingly…this vivid comparison and post festival accident (more on that later) was enough to reset my system onto a path of safety, trust & acceptance.

The reward was finally recognizing that in order to shift my outer world I have to cultivate an inner world which exudes what I seek. As above, so below, as within, so without. At the center, I find stillness. So mote it be.

I survived, my beauties, as we often do. Through things that could have taken us away, and I am so grateful to be here, on a different sort of other side, to continue working on my path to self mastery. My ‘Learning Man’ gift was an incredibly visceral & compounded experience of life in My Waking Nightmare, however the short but sumptuous glimpses of My Waking Dream were tantalizing & true.

I will go back again, with a clearer vision, to Burning Man 2023. If meant to be, and beyond.

With much love and respect,

Danielle I. Diamond

Queendom of Atlantis

Premier short by Diamond Eye Films, featuring soundtrack by Blackberry Wood, & performance by Diamond’s roving theatre troupe. Film was shot at a luxury event experience produced by Kat Single-Dain of the Dusty Flowerpot Cabaret. Costumes & main character concepts designed by House of Regalia

Still Photography by kuna lu // ig: @kunaphotography // w: //

Partnering with Blackberry Wood, a wild carnival band who just released a Halloween inspired album ‘Spooky Magic’ that you can listen to & purchase on their bandcamp.

Our film was shot during a luxury event experience curated & produced by Kat Single-Dain of the Dusty Flowerpot Cabaret. Link yourself in with these folks for all the most spectacular & original performance art, dance classes & theme events to be found in East Van & beyond.

Costumes & characters were styled & designed by my company
House of Regalia.

Special Thanks to my DOP Vášeň Srdce who had zero direction from me other then ‘follow us.’Nailed it as usual. Follow his youtube channel here.


Director Danielle Diamond

   DOP       Vášeń

               Event Producer       Kat Single-Dain

               Soundtrack       Blackberry Wood 

              Casting & Story     Danielle Diamond

             Costume Design    House of Regalia

Makeup Lead Chastity Chains

Fan Dancer Queen B

Hoop Clown 1 Lizard Queenie

Hoop Clown II Changeling

Pageboy Gray Magik

                           Juggler I Jesse MacKenzie Ward

Juggler II Shane Mackie

           Queen of Atlantis     Chastity Chains

               Muse of Poetry      Amethyst Mist

                 Muse of Song         Mohini Dances

               Muse of Dance        Danielle Diamond

                     The Scribe      Jai Aquarian 

               Queen’s Guard         Wade Jordan Wade


A photo story to celebrate the season of shadow, of the Other Side & a wish that you too find a the lantern for the path into darkness.

I had my hair done for a competition by stylist Travis Battaglia. I remember this shoot with my ex-girlfriend Katrina. We were both miserable, stressed out and in our independent mind-states of anxiety. Probably also hangry. We pushed through anyways, this was when I had that photography studio in North Van. I was learning studio lighting and found the results captivating so we went and shot this, AFTER a full afternoon shoot for the hair competition, and I’m glad we did it. It’s one of my favourite self-directed shoots in my portfolio.

I think it captures how I was feeling in my body at this time very well. There is the juxtaposed contrast between struggle & power. Maybe I can just see it because I lived it. But I identified as non-binary at the time. I was at war in many ways with my physical body. Anxiety, depression, self doubt, dysphoria…I guess I would have found acceptance at the time had I worked through some of these things with a professional but I was fiercely independent, have always been, and independent in a fearful way. The whole ‘universe is against me,’ paranoia which is, I think, not spoken about even these days as much as it could be.

Happy Samhain everyone. To my Witch Sisters in the darkness…may you rot perfectly this Fall and settle into something safe, warm & dark until we meet again in the Spring time. Birthing again the world.

Art Film: Date With A Ghost

Playing with light, shadow, and improvisation. 

There is this weird synchronicity for me and film making. Somehow I always find the exact perfect song. No struggle. This is odd because I struggle to do simple things like answering my phone or making it anywhere on time. Finding a song to perfectly match the nuances in movement is easy and I’m glad. 

Extremely grateful for Kyla’s offer to collaborate on this macabre Valentines piece. Find her on Tik Tok & Insta as @KylaLeeLawyer 

Happy Valentine’s Day to you all. Remember self love is the first love and the only love that you can count on to be un-conditional. It’s not easy, it takes work like any relationship. If you value it like you do the love from others, you will never be alone. Baby steps. Have a bath. Forgive yourself for ‘doing that thing again.’ Let yourself do something forbidden. Be free.


My name is Danielle Diamond, and at the time of writing this, Fall of 2022, I am 34 years young & living on the unceeded territories of The Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh Nations. Diamond is not my given ‘sir’ name, it’s my adopted HER name & I dare say I’ve earned it.

I was born with an innate desire to explore both the great outdoors and the deep inner landscape of the human psyche. I was the daughter of a loving but short leashed second generation immigrant Mother & an alcoholic, emotionally abusive father. I was born severely hearing impaired in both ears and was a dedicated fundamentalist Christian until my early 20’s.

An artist by birth, I began my practice early by using myself, family members & friends as canvases for my artistic expression & mirrors in which I could see different angles of myself through. Though I loved to spend hours alone in nature; dress-up & improvisational interactive performances was how I filled most of my play time as a child, beginning what’s been a life long experiment of intentional shape shifting & documenting these shifts through visual storytelling.

I tell stories through dance, film & photography. These three mediums have been my life long creative passions & I was in my first ballet class by the age of two. My dance training continued to the pre-professional level until high school graduation, where self-worth issues, lack of artistic mentorship & a profound desire to understand ‘God’ lead me to dropping out of dance training & enrolling in full time bible-based theological studies.

‘Love as sacrifice’ was a strong Christian value my family upheld, so I sacrificed my dream of becoming a professional dancer to become more Godly. Ironically this choice would lead to my eventual parting from the Christian community when professors couldn’t’ answer my interrogation style questions & the lights in the nightclubs started to look better then the self suffering hypnotic church songs on repeat.

In three short years my whole world view had shifted drastically. I moved alone from small town to big city, & as a naive ‘good Christian girl,’ I faced almost instantly, two sudden & shocking events of sexual abuse. These crisis’ were immediately buried with shame & guilt though they offered me the opportunity to deeply examine the fundamentalist attitude: If God was real, & He ultimatly wanted me to save myself for marriage, why would He let THIS happen to me?

A bitter sweet wakeup call was served & I was determination to fight back, but just who was I too fight if it was God’s fault but God wasn’t real?

I soon found perceived safety somewhere deep in the artistic subculture of Vancouver’s underground queer party scene. They say suffering leads to inspiration and between 2010 & 2014 I created an immense body of experimental artworks, becoming a locally infamous performance artist, concept model, costume designer & reliable all night access to some of the wildest parties in town.

Since I no longer had God to blame my problems on, my battle turned inward & I became an expert at alchemizing gentleness into roughness, vulnerability into violence & the need for love & closeness into damaging inner rage. I was attempting to accept my queerness (big sin), failing to have positive sexual relationships outside of marriage (bigger sin), & finding that I gained self-protective energy in the various dramatic acts of rebelling against my puritan past.

I was succumbing to the addictions of my father and they helped me resist the loneliness & displacement I felt from being essentially expelled from the cult-like world I grew up in.

Sometime around age 25 I hit my first rock bottom & had the better sense to move away from ‘the scene.’ As a result of my severe hearing loss, I had struggled to form genuine connections outside ‘the scene’ & instead of seeking help, I isolated & begun recovering from my drug & trauma induced psychosis alone. My creative life never stopped (at this point I was managing a fairly successful costume company & had just opened my own photography studio) but I was in a deep depression, afraid of therapy, and safely believing that the whole world was my enemy!

In 2016 I had a revolutionary spiritual healing experience during a Hawaiin Lomi Lomi bodywork session, where I experienced an opening of my heart chakra and a profound awakening of love in my energetic body. At that point something made me realize that in order to curate a radical shift in my inner world, I needed to create one in my outer world! So true to my dramatic nature, I closed shop on my life in Vancouver & bought a one-way ticket to heal myself in Central America. (Yes, the bad hairstyle was a part of my plan…I would blend in until I was ready to stand out again.)

6 years & many more radical shifts later I am back where I left off, making art in a vibrant queer-leaning scene, though luckily this time around I am much more aware of my mental wellness needs, in control of my addictive natures & proud of my artistic accomplishments. I have credits as a feature film costume designer, I have traveled to many countries, I can transform myself & others into any sort of creature the imagination desires, & my quest for connection with Spirit is constantly unfolding in profound ways.

I’ve decided to share my life story publicly for the first time in order to reach any fellow be-ings who could be realigned to their path of wellness knowing they are not alone. I am publishing this content on my artist website in order to merge the two identities I’ve been operating as; One as Danielle Diamond, a somewhat ‘out-there’, socially extroverted avant garde artist, and the other as ‘Red Velvet Renegade’, a student of plant medicine, nature-based artist, explorer of human consciousness & introverted empath.

I am currently in another life re-direction phase where I start shifting from textile-based projects into psychologically & historically-based projects as I am researching & studying a topic I call ‘costume therapy.’ I believe aspects of this ancient practice helped me on my healing journey without my awareness, so I am crafting a user-freindly formula which I believe will be a powerful healing tool for those people who like me, have been faced with debilitating identity crisis’ in their lives.

You can experience my archived work as a costume designer, creative director and performance artist at and follow my two halves on instagram both the empath & the extrovert. As I move on to the next chapter of my life’s journey I want to take a moment of gratitude for all the major & minor players in my story so far. I remember more of you then you may think and thank-you for bearing witness to my struggle, enduring my aggressive years, & celebrating the big wins along the way.

In Love & Understanding that HOPE is a VERB, & to be Hopeful, we must MOVE.

Danielle I Diamond.