Beauty

Lylexox's Makeup Meets Garbage Instagram Is Blowing Up

If you haven't double tapped Vancouver-based Lyle Reimer's weird and wonderful self-portraits, meet the makeup artist who is turning found objects into Instagram gold

 

How does a boy from rural Saskatchewan end up collaborating with Gucci and rubbing elbows with Madonna and Beyoncé’s stylist? If you’re makeup artist Lyle Reimer, it’s just part of #thatInstagramlife. His account @lylexox has over 82,000 followers who click like crazy on his beautiful self-portraits, a soulful mix of his 16 years experience as a professional makeup artists and his love of found objects.

Reimer was recently approached by Gucci and chosen by Alessandro Michele himself to interpret the label’s Spring blooms print. They sent a brand new bag to deconstruct, NBD. Also a fan? B. Akerlund, the styling force behind all 14 of Bey’s Beyoncé videos who also counts Madonna, Lady Gaga and Britney Spears as regular clients. She contacted Reimer to join her upcoming children’s book, which focuses on the theme of motherhood, in collaboration with various artists, designers and illustrators. Here, we chat about growing up in a tiny farmtown, where he finds inspiration and his advice to people being bullied for who they are.

How long have you been a pro makeup artist? How did you get started?
I have been a professional makeup artist for 16 years. I started with a love of painting and art in general as a child and was heavily influenced by my “cool aunt” who also was a makeup artist back in the day. She would travel all over the world and then would have the most incredible stories to share with me and my siblings (who were starved for culture growing up in the smallest of small towns in rural Saskatchewan; Wymark to be exact.)

Much later on in life I went back to those root memories and decided that my love for clown makeup, dress up and theatrics should probably be put to use in some form of a career and so I moved to Vancouver and went to makeup school and then dove into the profession full on.

What were you like as a kid? Were you always interested in art?
It would be an understatement to say I stuck out like a sore thumb in the small farming community of 200 people (note the complete lack of zeroes). When all the other guys around me wanted to play hockey and ride dirt bikes, I took gymnastics and chose a unicycle as my first bike. I remember asking my Mom to make me red and white zebra “hammer pants” to go to gymnastics because I wanted to bring some extra theatrics to my floor routine.

I feel incredibly grateful that I grew up in a home that nurtured me as an individual and as an artist, when the environment around me might have predicted something quite opposite.

 

 

When did you start your Instagram account and why? Was the goal to deliberately to showcase your artistry?
I started my Instagram account 135 weeks ago to be exact (just had to check my account to make sure), and really it all started with a “five day makeup challenge” that I was rolling out for all the artist in B.C. who work for MAC Cosmetics. (I work as a trainer in the Artist Training and Development branch for the company). This was an initiative to get the artists to think outside the box and to break makeup habits. I thought if I’m asking the artists to do it, I may as well lead by example. I did the five looks and the response was so positive that people wanted me to do a 55 day challenge…and the rest is history!

I now have a studio that is designated just to the creation of all of my wigs, accessories, and everything else that gets glued to my face. It has become a full-time job outside my full-time job, and I spend time every day doing something in the studio to prepare for the upcoming looks.

Describe the process for your Insta photos. How do you get inspired and what are the steps to creating a full look? How long does it take?
The process in creating the looks is all very organic. I am constantly making objects and styling wigs never knowing exactly what is going to be done with them. I like to have lots of things at my finger tips when I actually begin the makeup so that if per chance I need to have earrings made out of brie cheese, then voila! There they are at my disposal.

I work with 90 per cent garbage and found objects. My partner, friends and family constantly supply me with junk from their drawers and regularly will get text messages with photos…”You want this Lyle? I’m gonna throw it out if not..”

I believe that when you remain open to any and all sources of inspiration, the journey can be the most amazing experience. I absolutely love what I do, and spend countless hours doing what I do because it just feels so damn good!

No idea is too random, and I embrace any and all thoughts that enter my mind while I’m putting the look together. The process once I start makeup usually is about three hours. This includes some spontaneous dance breaks and staring sometimes for long stretches in the mirror to wait for inspiration for the next move.

I then take hundred of images to choose the one I deem fit for public consumption, and then hop into the shower and wash it all off. While in the shower, I take the time to start thinking about the backstory and the character synopsis, and for me the addition of humour is what adds another element to the piece. I love getting messages from people who talk about how hard they laughed and how much joy is brought into their day. The power of bringing joy to a random stranger is something so simple and yet there is so much utter enjoyment from it.

Do you seek out inspiration from any regular sources?
I try to not look for inspiration from other makeup artists, only because I feel it can influence too heavily and then you just look like a copycat. Inspiration can come from anything mundane to the most elaborate sculptures in a gallery space. I am constantly writing notes to myself of all the random things I see as food for thought.

Using his own face as his canvas, Canadian make-up artist Lyle Reimer’s (@lylexox) works transform him into everything from a celestial body to a living couture accouterment. Taking the selfie as an art-form to the next level, Reimer’s Instagram feed is a gallery of attempts at both self-representation and disguise as his facial expressions bring to life the objects and abstractions he develops using make-up products and textiles. The dramatic colors and contours might call to mind drag, but the textures and shapes read as fine art. Each new creation is a study in couture cybernetics. Reimer’s #GucciGram remix sees him camouflaged into the warm and rosy tinctures of the #GGBlooms pattern, which come to life in three-dimensional flowers adorning his face. The Gucci bag he has refashioned into a slouching tilt hat reminiscent of 1940s high-street fashions, nodding to the glamour of the past but looking ever forward. See more talents through link in bio. Text by @alanakm

A photo posted by Gucci (@gucci) on

 

Why do you think your Instagram account has resonated with so many people?
I have thought about this for quite a while, and the only thing I can think of is that people connect to the random objects of every day life that have been placed into a totally different context. I have been told that people enjoy the work because it feels new and innovative and still relatable. The element of humour is also present, and people like to read the captions as much as look at the visual, so I guess it hits on a few senses. Honestly though, I’m just happy that people appreciate all the crazy, and are so generous with positive affirmation.

The thing with Instagram though is that you need to do it for yourself. When you start to do it for followers or for a number of likes, it dilutes your message and your creativity. I create self portraits because I truly get excited about the whole process and can’t think of anything else I would rather be doing.

The celebrity following and industry leaders (who I look up to and admire wholeheartedly) who follow, really are just a cherry on top and I feel so incredibly honoured that they want a piece of me in their life.

 

What would you say to young people who may be struggling with being bullied for the way they look or act?
My advise to anyone would be to know that there will come a time in your life that a spark of self-realization will happen, and when that moment occurs to listen to it. When you actually come to terms with who you are and embrace all the random craziness that is part of you, it’s then that the journey of life becomes so much more rewarding.

As a subject of pretty intense bullying growing up, I realized that all those hurtful words and actions can really take you off your course, and at times can feel incredibly lost. Surrounding yourself with people who love you and who are your personal cheerleaders can give you the confidence to move forward and the courage to recreate your own sense of self.

All the years of trying to be someone who I wasn’t and desperately trying to please the people around me, got far too exhausting! Life is way too short, and is so much more fun when you get in touch with what really makes you tick. Find that out, and in the words of NIKE…Just do it!

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