Zine Watch: Theo-Mass Times

East London's masked agent provocateur releases a Cypriot-backed high fashion / mask zine

Photography: Stelios Kallinikou / Headpiece: Rein
Photography: Stelios Kallinikou / Headpiece: Rein Vollenga / Art Direction: Hector Carrillo Aspano

Back in May, the relatively unknown masked artist Theo-Mass Lexileictous fronted our ‘Is East London Dead?’ issue. Since then we’ve learnt that (aside from producing numerous collaborative works and blessing the Dazed office with his creative ‘attacks’) the superhero has been working hard on the latest edition of his reality-based comic book, Theo Mass Times. While experimenting with a new look – wearing masks by artists Patrick Ian Hartley, Rein Vollenga and VOID OF COURSE, and pieces by Givenchy, Mugler and Comme des Garcons. As the 5th instalment launches today, we get a preview, and catch up with Theo to talk funding, new missions and the prospect of mutation.

Dazed Digital: Why did you decide to create the Theo Mass Times?
Theo-Mass Lexileictous: In my first ever interview, which was for Dazed Digital last year, Anna Battista asked me if I would publish the Theo-Mass comic book anytime soon. Now that I am on the 5th episode I feel that it’s the time to do it. Theo-Mass Times as a publication was an idea I had from last year. I was printing a limited number of copies, which I was giving to some of the creatives I respected and had supported me in order to keep them updated on how the story was developing. Then a cheaper version of Theo- Mass Times, was printed and given for free to homeless people in London every Monday for a period of one month in order to sell them as much as they wanted in order to earn an income and it went really well. Now that I am celebrating a year of Theo-Mass with so many missions accomplished in reality, and so many collaborations, I thought it was the time to publish. In this specific issue there is a preview of all 5 episodes I’ve done, giving more emphasis to the current one which is called “The Ultimate Acceptance”. After that, each episode will be printed separately.

DD: How did you get funding from the Cyprus Contemporary Art Museum?
Theo-Mass Lexileictous: I am originally from Cyprus. When I had the very first draft, I arranged a meeting with the Cyprus Contemporary Art Museum founder Mr. Nikos Pattichis to discuss it. He is a true visionnaire and offers so much in Cyprus’s art scene so his opinion was really important to me. He was really interested in supporting it and here we are! The Cyprus Contemporary Art Museum, presents THEO-MASS TIMES on the 2nd of November 2012.

DD: What missions will you be undertaking in the issue?
Theo-Mass Lexileictous: The next issue will be dedicated to the next episode, which is titled “POSTDIGITALISM”. This is the first time I reveal information about the 6th episode. During the “POSTDIGITALISM” episode I will be exploring digital technology in all of its forms. I will be exploring the concept of whether I exist or not. The interaction I have with my followers through my social network pages like Facebook, Tumblr, Instagram etc, takes me to the question: Am I trapped in the screen? Do I really exist? During this episode I am creating PLANET THEO-MASS. A place with completely new standards, a place far away from reality. “A PLACE FREE FROM THE CONSTRAINTS OF GRAVITY”. There will be some amazing collaborations with some of the most innovative designers and artists from around the globe so I really cant wait to launch it!

DD: When do you see yourself swapping the superhero life for reality?
Theo-Mass Lexileictous: Well, that’s a difficult question to answer really but I guess NEVER. It is a creative journey and I don’t know where It’s taking me. Sometimes I am thinking that if an alter-ego overpowers ego it can be self-catastrophic. What if I reach to a point of literally “deactivating” my ego? With the pace that my work is evolving I am willing to do literally anything; there are some dark moments that I find myself thinking that this could go to the extreme. I am talking about exploring in depth the concept of mutation. Through the use of tattooing I could become black once and for all. So yes...I don’t even know where it is going and I am curious to see where I will take it – or rather where it will take me.

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