Our consumerist culture is filled with obsolete objects, many of which are passed the point of use. For Lyle XOX, these discarded objects are more than their materials—they are filled with artistic possibility. The Vancouver-based artist has developed a practice that combines his experience in art, fashion, design and make-up artistry to create striking images using his own body as canvas and plinth. Surrounding himself with found objects, Lyle XOX creates facial sculptures and adornments to design fictional characters that defy gender, cultural and beauty norms. Each photographed portrait is a study in contrast and fantasy, with humour and irony woven throughout.
The work of Lyle XOX immediately resonates in our social media-soaked society, which prioritizes the connection between images of one’s face with social identity. His photographs challenge notions of masculinity and femininity, embracing a spirit of duality and joie de vive. At the same time, the bold gaze of his characters directly confronts viewers with objects relating to their own carbon footprint—the detritus of capitalism. Through a surrealist lens, the objects and their inherent histories provoke thought around the relationship between mundane things, high fashion and consumerism.
After growing up in a small town of less than 200 people in rural Saskatchewan, Lyle relocated to Vancouver BC, attended Blanche MacDonald Centre for Applied Design, and worked for MAC Cosmetics for over fifteen years. Once Lyle decided to focus solely on his artistic practice, his career skyrocketed. In 2019, he was named as one of the Vogue World 100 (the top 100 people selected by Vogue Magazine for pushing boundaries of art, beauty and style, released his book Lyle XOX: Head of Design published by Rizzolo in New York, and was hosted by both the Dutch fashion house Viktor&Rolf and Cirque du Soleil to witness his process. CBC produced a full-length documentary Random is my Favourite Colour released in July, and three months later his book won an award for photography. Lyle’s Instagram following increased 300%, and nears 150K.
2020 has begun with Lyle XOX featured in an eight-page spread of the March Issue of the international V Magazine. In addition, Lyle collaborated with renowned musician and performer FKA Twigs, is covered in the Spring issue of Montecristo Magazine, and is working on a campaign with the prestigious South Korean eyewear brand, Gentle Monster.