The words another man’s garbage bring to mind thrift stores, antique shops, and those unexpected finds at garage sales. These items often stir up memories from our past.
Our possessions carry a history and are personal, often emotional. For Vancouver artist Lyle XOX, they are the primary materials for his work.
Lyle XOX, also known as Lyle Reimer, has been creating art his entire life. His mother tells stories of him falling asleep with crayons in his hand. He worked as a makeup artist and trainer for MAC cosmetics for 16 years, but it is his personal work that gained the attention of 150,000 Instagram followers and prompted Lyle XOX to quit his job and focus on art full-time.
Lyle XOX's work is truly authentic. He blends his skills as a makeup artist with found objects to create one-of-a-kind sculptures that transform his face and head. After a base foundation goes on, the process begins. It is organic and cannot be itemized into stages.
Lyle XOX’s idea evolves by layering everything from matches (see above in Not a Match) to scrabble pieces into an elegance that no longer resemble items from your recycling bin. He skillfully brings together colour, shape, and texture in the most unexpected ways. It draws you in and tells you a story. LyleXOX takes your memory and brings it back to life.
As a result of his unique storytelling and originality, Lyle XOX is in high demand around the world.
In 2019 the multimedia artist was featured in a CBC documentary titled Random is My Favorite Colour.
In early 2020 Lyle XOX and his mom travelled to New York for his book launch at the high-end retailer Bergdorf Goodman. The luxury shop featured his work in their windows for the launch of Lyle XOX: Head of Design.
Late fall, he fit in a solo exhibit Intimate Specimens showcasing his work in gorgeous oversized prints at Vancouver’s Kostiuk Gallery.
Lyle XOX can also be found working with some of the fashion industry's biggest names and gaining more than a few famous fans. Cher loves him, he and FKA Twigs did a collaboration in Dazed Beauty, and then there are the projects with fashion giants Gucci, Vogue, Viktor & Rolf, and Moschino to only name a few.
More recently, he was commissioned by Japan’s Comme des Garcon to create six pieces for its 2 MAN 2 fragrance. Each piece is uniquely inspired and deeply personal.
For example, the fifth piece pays homage to the working man, who loves his work. It was created with gratitude and love for his father.
He was mind-bendingly busy and then, like the rest of the planet, he was put into lockdown.
So how does one approach this new reality?
“I take care of the things I can control, such as how I take care of myself and my art. I was able to go into the studio and pour myself into my art," he states.
“The lockdown didn’t change my inspiration. It has always been in the same vein. I only work with found objects or items that have been recycled.”
Lyle XOX’s work inspires, and as a result people send him boxes of curated items from all over the world.
“People want to feel they are part of a something. When they actually see the finished pieces, they know in some form a part of their life has been put into my world.”
Lyle XOX truly believes it when he declares: “The DNA of people’s stories are embedded in each of these found objects and items. For me to be able to bring them into the studio, transform them and give them new life, means that I then again add to their story. “
This personal connection creates an intimacy to his work. The viewer does not know the history, but quickly discovers a connection, which takes them on a journey. The more you explore his art, the more you see and feel.
Young artists and designers look to LyleXOX for inspiration. So what advice does this humble influencer give them? “As artists you need to find your own voice. Tapping into that creative voice is where the magic happens.”
There is no turning back for LyleXOX, he has found his calling. He describes it as his “drug of choice” and lucky for us, he will be creating these stunning pieces “until the day I die”.
Keep track of his work on Instagram at @LyleXOX.