Art Young Artists 2022

DeSe Escobar Lets the Good Vibes Roll

I think I first caught a glimpse of DeSe in 2018, as she shimmered on the other side of a dance floor coddled in something sleek and silky. Her bag hung off the V of her upturned arm. A Britney Spears trance remix. She seemed to warp the air around her, like asphalt in the summer. Club Glam, DeSe Escobar’s party at China Chalet filled with young creatives, was open to anyone—gay, straight, queer, trans—so long as you did your best to be glamourous.

Before that I knew her as @1inamilli0nangel on Instagram and I’d read about her as an “Alt-Kardashian” in The New York Times. DeSe studied fashion design at Otis College of Art and Design in California, and moved to New York in 2010. Working an underpaid and over-worked fashion job, she started immersing her-self in nightlife and drawing during the day. By 2015, she had found her chosen family, the House of Ladosha, and they helped her start Club Glam.

DeSe Escobar with Serenity in hand. Painting by Julian Rebeiro. Photography by Aubrey Mayer.

Nightlife—as performance, as care, as community—informs much of her artistic practice. For her contribution to the 2021 group show “It’s Much Louder Than Before” at Anat Ebgi in Los Angeles she showed a sculpture—a light-green cape dress she’d worn when hosting a rave in Bushwick, with the train lifted up like wings. “There was a huge snow storm that day. The cape got all wet. And someone spilled wine on me. I left it like that,” she tells me. Her work is often collaborative, something of experimental theater, performance and conceptual art. For a 2019 solo show at FRAGILE in Berlin, “More in the Morning,” she installed an “LA Airbnb” in the gallery, complete with a bed, a full tub and a living room. The show led the viewer through a narrative of a group of six girls getting ready for a night out. The opening became an after-party and a performance as her friends arrived.

DeSe Escobar, Serenity and Shade, 2015 at Anat Egbi Gallery.

DeSe ascribes some of her natural party-hosting abilities to growing up in a big Filipino family in California. “On weekends my aunties would set up banks of tables outside and play mahjong until six in the morning,” she says. “There was always this vibe of getting together and catering to a community. So at parties I’m always making sure there’s a good vibe, that it’s safe.” Since the pandemic she’s started to host Glam Nites at the Jane, an evolution of Club Glam, and is exploring an archive of clothing and designers she admires. When we signed off I figured I’d see her soon, perhaps somewhere dark and dancy.