Editorial by Nick Woolley
The Codeine Crazy art piece by Chris Dxwsxn is a whirl of purple color over iconic Levi's and Adidas canvases. In his most recent project, Dxwsxn draws from childhood inspirations and a graffiti background. The collection includes a black pair of Adidas Stan Smiths, and a black Levis Commuter Jacket which was altered into a vest.
Dxwsxn grew up in Hawaii with a strong art background, learning to paint from his grandfather at a young age. He describes having always had an interest in clothing as a medium for a canvas, ever since growing up around graffiti culture - a culture in which by its very nature, is defined by painting on everything but canvas. So applying his artwork to sneakers, and boots is nothing new for the young artist.
But when asked about his specific choices of canvas for the project, Dxwsxn reflected, "Both Adidas and Levis are very timeless brands. They can fit in with any year; any genre. Nothing ages. In the earlier years, I could never really paint on Levis. At the time, I couldn't afford to purchase a really nice pair of denim. So I was always trying to work my way up to painting on some quality Levis denim. And with Adidas, they work with a lot of artists in different genres and it shows they are creatively open, which I've always respected."
Both the sneakers and vest display bold scenes with heavy tension, depicted through Dxwsxn's character usage. As we often see throughout his work, there is the ever present lurking demonic figure, which he describes as "the constant monster." In a dramatic depiction, the monster seems to be following our protagonist of the series, Courage the Cowardly Dog.
We asked Dxwsxn to explain his choice to incorporate the Courage character into the piece. In responding, he paused; then went on to say,
"My favorite song from [the musician] Future is called Codeine Crazy. But that’s also how Courage is. When you drink Codeine, everything is slower. Sometimes you see hallucinations, just like Courage in the TV show. And my character is something that follows me - something I always see. So it's like Courage is always trying to warn me, or always points out the bad things and looks out for me. It’s kind of like the balance between the Yin and Yang. To me, the monster is like someone who has no boundaries, whereas Courage, he is the complete opposite. So it’s basically a battle between that confinement and freedom"
Although purchased for private collection, Dxwsxn promises more apparel based artwork in 2016. During his interview with us, he hinted that his new work could be available to be seen by the public as early as this summer, when he plans to host his first independent Portland based art experience, TRAP PARADISE.
Modeled by Demetrius C. Mensah
Artwork by Chris Dxwsxn