In 2021, Lyle Reimer Is Still Transforming Rubbish Into Couture


03 February 2021

I love turning what’s perceived as garbage into something new, with a couture spirit _Lyle Reimer

One man’s garbage can definitely be another man’s inspiration to create genre-bending extravagant wearable art. Instagram sensation, Lyle Reimer has found a way to fascinate the entire world with high-class couture created in a way that has never been imagined.

In the words of Lyle, this marked the beginning of something explosively creative:

“I began taking self-portraits on April 27th, 2013. A dear girlfriend was over at my place and we decided to play make up and dress up. A couple glasses of wine, some great music and the bathroom shower was turned into a photo studio! That evening, something was sparked and I knew that I wanted more of this amazing experience. Now, creating mixed media self-portraits is my one and only drug of choice”

Saskatchewan-born artist, who works under the name Lyle XOX, has spent years hunting discarded and worthless items from the streets, his friends’ junk drawers, to the boxes of crap items he receives from fans all over the world. His hauls have included everything from spoons, broken toys, matchsticks, medical ephemera, hair balls, jewelries, ballet slippers to ceramic casts of teeth. The Uber-creative make-up artist spends hours cutting, gluing and shaping assembled junks to create intricate and well-constructed pieces that would have you perceive the trash in your bin as pure gold, because, first glance at his work doesn’t look like trash at all. His sculpted pieces have undoubtedly spoken loudly to our contemporary throwaway culture. According to Lyle, his goal is to prompt people to consider their definition of beauty and rethink where they look for it.

“I take something without value and turn it into an object of beauty” _ Lyle Reimer

The Instagram sensation has taken his vision to the world, released a book with Rizzoli, collaborated with FKA Twigs for Dazed, and has recorded his successful projects with Gucci. With working for almost two decades of his life as a make-up artist and trainer for MAC cosmetics. The style star has his most recent exhibition titled “Intimate Specimens” at Kostuik Gallery in Vancouver.

With his recycling-obsessed mother who instilled an eco-ethos in him from an early age, the artist is also highly inspired by Giuseppe Archiboldo and Man Ray who have drawn him to love the blurring of the lines of grotesque and beauty. When it comes to contemporary art, Ryle is captivated and purely obsessed with Wangechi Mutu, David Altmejd, Nick Cave, and Eliott Hundley.

In his words, “I remember seeing a show of Wangechi Mutu’s works at the Vancouver Art Gallery and to this day, I don’t ever think I’ve walked into a room and felt so completely immersed in a world.”

Lyle’s source of inspiration like we would all expect comes from the most unlikely sources, at the most inopportune time, and always keeps him at his toes! For Lyle, the key is to never judge the source of inspiration and truly be open to what can be manifested. In other words, if your inspiration comes from an empty tube of toothpaste, an expired container of milk or broken toys, it is all fair game!

Using himself as a canvas, the artist admits that even his mother still points to a photo and asks him to identify the model: “Mom, they’re all me. Relax.”