I was mesmerized by Valentine Addams the first time I met them. They were this total embodiment of eccentricity and glamour that graced the clubs where ever they were. They were punk rock, artsy, innovative, and on top of that… they were personable and kind. I didn’t know too much about them at the time, so when they came to my studio to interview about drag landscapes, I was even more transfixed when I got to hear their story.
Valentine has always marched the beat of their own drum. “I always knew I was different as a kid, and I was bullied a lot because of it”, Valentine says, “I was very artistic, and I didn’t like sports very much. People picked on me and called me faggot a lot. Because of this I just kind of developed my own magical world, and I lived in my head a lot.”
Not one to be defeated, Valentine came into their own at a very young age. “I came out when I was 16 and everything changed from there. I not only knew that I was gay, but that I was VERY QUEER.”
“When it came to drag, everything just kind of made more sense to me. I was making myself into art. Valentine is this hypersense version of who I am, and Valentine has become what I’ve always drawn and painted, and she’s like this creature that I’ve always thought I was. Valentine is who I am.”
Learning about their struggles in the world, and how they turned the hurtful bullying and name calling into a sense of power, I kind of see Valentine’s magical world in their head transform outwards into the magical being that is them. Valentine is a walking sculpture of art, a queer hero, and a creative tour de force that Chicago is so lucky to have.