Christapher XO (aka MXXO) started on the traditional path going to school for graphic design, but somewhere along the way creativity took a different turn and they veered off into the realm of unexpected and inventive work. Using whatever materials may be at hand, from cardboard and old paint to the preset tools of new media, MXXO conveys messages open for interpretation by the viewer, but all are a release of in-the-moment emotion for the artist.
“I wanted to stop ‘caring’ about aesthetic and make a genuine expression of how I was feeling,” describes MXXO. “I didn’t want to worry about whether it was ‘good,’ but just make something.”
MXXO told their professor they were leaving art school to “become an outsider artist or something,” a statement that has become a reality for the Dallas artist. While in the beginning the snarky sayings and trite turns of phrase painted on torn pieces of boxes with leftover paint from dropping out of school were born out of frustration, the catharsis of creating bore a new inspiration.
An artistic identity was formed and dubbed MXXO, and the line “Nowhere or Bust” launched on Instagram (@nowhereorbust). Regardless of the followers or popularity of the work, the process of creating remains grounded in the real-world events and emotions that trigger the need to purge creatively. Each piece is tethered to moments and major life shifts that the artist can recall instantly.
“I would have months-long periods where I wouldn’t create anything, then something would set me off, and I’d make 10 things in a week,” MXXO explains.
As life continues, MXXO’s work continues to evolve. With time and resources often limited for the artist, MXXO uses new media outlets like Instagram Stories to capture the commentary and imagery of their style in the moment. The limited tools of the social media platform in a way mirror the more traditional limited tools of crusty old paints and cardboard that MXXO started with. The stream of consciousness is delivered one way or another for viewers to see.
“One of my favorite parts of working with text is that regardless of whether you end up liking it or not, you have to read it to decide,” says MXXO. “And at that point I’m already in your head.”
No matter the medium, MXXO harnesses self-expression and creativity through familiar phrases on a sharp turn, relatable mantras that can make audiences equally laugh and sigh at their truths.
Written by: Cali Thompson