The London-based artist, shot by Walter Pfeiffer for Dazed & Confused's May issue, on wearing a mask, launching 'creative attacks' and his memories of east London
Theo Mass-Lexileictous is an enigma that has collided with our everyday, turning up at the Dazed offices unannounced to orchestrate beguiling moments that stop us in our tracks. Yesterday saw his latest, visiting with a cupcake featuring a protruding shard and custom artist copies of the Dazed May issue. (Thanks!)
We are living in a world with no constraints on what should be done and what can be done. I am taking risks and searching for new ways of artistic expression. All the world is a stage. MY INSANITY WILL BECOME YOUR IMAGINATION
Mass-Lexileictous was photographed by Walter Pfeiffer and styled by Robbie Spencer for the magazine and has unexpectedly found himself as the cover star of our Is East London Dead? debate, gracing newsagents and newstands internationally as well as billboards on our home turf of the capital. Hailing from Greece, Mass-Lexileictous moved to the area back in 2005, and believes "the culture and character of the area helped me develop some of the aspects of my personality and my work." Dazed Digital caught up with the artist to elaborate...
Dazed Digital: Are you surprised to be on the cover of Dazed, as the icon of our east London debate?
Theo-Mass Lexileictous: Well, to be honest I am extremely honoured. As a religious reader of Dazed & Confused I am deeply fascinated to be the cover of the magazine that I greatly respect and admire. Seeing this happening does not only gives me power to continue my paranoid journey in the real world but also justifies my actions, ambitions and expectations for the future.
DD: Is performance how you would label your work creatively?
Theo-Mass Lexileictous: Labelling my work as 'performance' is a way in which I can categorise what I do, but I really don't see myself as a performance artist. What I explore within my work is the construction of my own identity, which will enable me to fulfill my own desires and 'insanity'. Throughout my work I am exploring iconic notions of life and how the meaning of mutation can be translated in my reality. We are living in a world with no constrains on what should be done and what can be done. I am taking risks and searching for new ways of artistic expression. All the world is a stage. MY INSANITY WILL BECOME YOUR IMAGINATION.
DD: What about your mask and superhero identity?
Theo-Mass Lexileictous: Fashion plays a principal role in my work. I use fashion as a weapon to inspire, since fashion is an art form that connects instantly with the audience; there is an immediate attraction with the passerby. All garments, masks, headpieces and props are selected and created from episode to episode very carefully and under a lot of research in order to communicate the story in the best possible way. Until this moment, I have never used or worn anything made of fabric. All my garments and masks are made by contemporary and technological materials such as holographic film, plastic, metal, latex – and others. I collaborate with a lot of new and talented designers and artists for the creation of my garments as well as with renowned brands. You might say that I am a bit dark and probably evil because of my masks and costumes but I can guarantee that I am not!
DD: You visit us regularly at the Dazed & Confused office and create happenings...
Theo-Mass Lexileictous: While touring for the second episode of my story 'MY POWER IS BEYOND YOUR UNDERSTANDING', I had to find every possible way to create awareness of me as a character. In order to do so, I unleashed my creative attacks all over London and New York. Dazed & Confused was the first publication to receive my attacks as it was on top of my list. All of my appearances at the office were part of my mission 'Creative Attacks', trying to create a dialogue between you and me.
DD: You left us cases of money and test tubes too...
Theo-Mass Lexileictous: Theo-Mass Dollars have a symbolic meaning in the story. Printing my own currency was part of the second episode 'My Power is Beyond Your Understanding'. This episode, which was held for almost four months, saw me travel around the world and make my presence known to the masses. I've printed my own currency to show my economic power as well. I've sent you the Dazed & Confused October issue with a doll resembling me on the cover as an 'illustration' of my desire to become your cover and then the briefcase with the Theo-Mass Dollars as a payment to do so. It seems like it worked perfectly. The third episode, the one I have just escaped from, is all about me going back to the genetic mutations laboratory 'G.M Lab' continuing my experiments. As my aim is to become a 2Dimensional character, I have created a series of paranoid experiments that I believe that once I inject them into my body I will be transferred back into the comic book pages that I have left blank. The green colour of my experiments refers to the green screen, used to cut and paste backgrounds when filming in studios. That colour is symbolic in my work as it represents my desire to become a 2D character.
DD: Do you have a favourite memory or anecdote of east London?
Theo-Mass Lexileictous: Last September, artist Andreas M. Georgiou did a research on me as a character by living with me for 24 hours in order to document a typical day of my life, whilst touring to create my portrait. That day I was in Shoreditch. I did graffiti on a wall launching that way the second episode of my story, then I was walking the streets, spreading my dollars and observing people's reactions. Although this could potentially cause issues with the law I did it and it was rewarding to see people embracing it – my mission was completed. It was one of my favourite moments as I spent more than 12 hours socialising with the bystanders.
The May issue of Dazed & Confused is out now
Tune into Tim Noakes' Dazed & Confused x Strongroom Alive radio show tonight at 7pm where Theo-Mass is one of his guests...
COMPETITION: We are giving away a briefcase of Theo-Mass dollars and a copy of Dazed's May issue that Theo-Mass has customised with his artwork! To be in with a chance of winning it, just tell us how you would spend it. You can submit your response by tagging us in photos on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram, or by simply tweeting your answers! All submissions must be received by midnight Friday April 27, 2012. We will select our winner later next week...