Christian Ariel

Christian Ariel


Christian's journey is a dance between the meticulous and the chaotic, conveying a story of metamorphosis and dichotomy through a unique style that blends the underground with the opulent.

Christian's art is a whisper from the streets, a tag on the pristine, a voice that speaks both the rebellious and the connoisseur's language. It's a journey that began with a love of street art and graffiti and has evolved into a profound obsession highlighted by a defining moment—a piece by graffiti writer Sliks that merged the worlds of model photography and graffiti, a combination of the regarded and the disregarded.

The journey reflects Christian's complex persona, a mix of his love for beauty, premium brands like YSL, and his love for the raw and real, as portrayed by underground rap and metal. A journey filled with challenges and transformations

Christian's creations are a dialogue between his personal experiences, philosophical perspectives, and artistic expressions. It is about making art that allows the mind to roam, that does not force meaning but instead welcomes interpretation, and that values pompous ambiguity and utter honesty.

In this intimate conversation, we delve deeper into Christian’s transformative experiences, his muses, his challenges, and his evolution as an artist. We go into his work's ethics, collaborations, and vision for the Luxury Absolute series. It's a journey of discovery, of getting to know the man behind the art, and of connecting with the stories, emotions, and thoughts elicited by his artworks.

Immerse yourself in the universe of CXA, where luxury meets absolute, pristine meets labeled, and every item is a whisper from the streets, a reflection of the artist, and an invitation to explore, interpret, and connect.

Mismir ( M ): Artists often experience a defining 'moment' where a simple interest evolves into a profound passion. Could you delve into that transformative experience in your artistic journey?

Christian ( C ): I took an interest in street art and graffiti growing up and it was always something that was present in my life in one way or another. After years of just appreciating it, I got into tagging myself around 2018. I followed a graffiti writer who goes by Sliks on Instagram. He has a cool hand style with a lot of flares that are really visually pleasing, but I saw one piece that particularly made me feel something, which is a photo of a model in black and white, taken in a white studio backdrop, but was tagged over with Sliks’ hand style. It was a moment when I fell in love with graffiti even more so than I had before. I love the dichotomy of underground art forms that are most times looked at as a nuisance and “trash”, combined with another form of art like model photography that is viewed completely differently. I wanted to do something similar but find a way to make it my own so I wasn’t blatantly copying off of his style. I have a background in beauty and fashion as my main career, so it’s been an interest of mine for at least the past decade. So I had a few Vogue magazines and started tagging the models in the magazines. Christian Dior, YSL, Gucci, etc. All their models are being tagged over. It became a hyper-fixation that was just a lot of fun. I had a couple of friends who were willing to buy some of the pages and wanted me to tag things of theirs. So that really was the moment where a style started to form. Coincidently it was around the same time where NFTs started to become a hot buzzword, then everything else just fell into place from there.

Queen Anne

M: Muses come in various forms—people, places, or experiences. Can you reveal who or what has been the most impactful muse in your artistic endeavors and elucidate why?

C: “Affinity for pretty things, fine perfume, and graffiti.” Is a line I use a lot when explaining what I’m about. Everything YSL does I’m a big fan of. I’d admit they are my biggest muse when it comes to the art I do. I suppose saying “my life” is a muse can sound cliche at this point but it would be the truth. Looking at my work so far, it’s all just ingredients of me. Things, moments, people. Currently, if my muse was a person, it would be Queen Anne. She’s a person who doesn’t exist because I made her with AI. But when she was first generated I almost felt butterflies. Like she actually existed. She is a redhead who has her hair cut into a textured bob, has green eyes, and always wears black lace. Her name is a reference to the Queen Anne borough in Seattle and one of its wealthiest neighborhoods. Just seemed like a fitting regal name for a beautiful person that I use a lot in my AI work. Lastly, I’d say that underground rap and metal are other major muses. Which is just more dichotomy. I listen to a lot of it when I’m creating. I enjoy nice things. I also enjoy dirty things.


M: Challenges in the artistic journey often lead to growth and transformation. Could you discuss a specific challenge that significantly altered your perspective or approach to your craft?

C: A challenge I faced in the beginning when I started NFTs was that I couldn’t just upload and sell copyrighted images from fashion magazines that were tagged over. I had to source from stock photos, but everyone uses that and it wouldn’t make anything feel unique and my own. I used to take photographs of my friends for fun and had a back catalog on a hard drive of old work I had done that could help get me started. My friend Meghan also let me take new photos of her in a photo studio. She brought her own personal wardrobe stylist with everything I had asked for (designer everything), and secured the space to do it. I couldn’t have been more grateful for her going above and beyond. So that really helped with having content for my Genesis collection that were original photos. So I had to essentially make my own fashion brand, have a name, a typeface, take my own photos to simulate that luxurious fashion brand look and feel, and then tag them — all to capture that image of what I was doing on the magazines, and to avoid copyrights. It was through the course of all this that birthed Luxury Absolute.


M: The evolution of art is a reflection of the artist's own transformation. How do you perceive the change in your style or approach from your initial creations to your current works?

C: I started dabbling with AI image generators and the game for me changed from there. The style and the image were built, I was just refining each piece I made. I began to fall in love with the fashion and graphic design side of things a little more. I actually started to believe it and take it seriously. Like, this is a luxury brand that exists. This is how I want it to look, and how I want the images to look, and the colors, the font, these are the themes I want to explore for the brand, and what it believes in. People began to tell me that they would actually buy the clothing that was in the images and that I was simulating a luxury brand pretty believably. So that kind of pushed me more into the direction of where I am now. But of course, still utilizing street art tactics. Obey taught me everything I needed to know on how to wheat paste. So marketing Luxury Absolute posters in the streets of Seattle is a fun way to play with the public mind and have them question, “What the fuck is this? What does it mean?” While also imprinting a repeated name and typeface in their brain by thrusting it into their everyday surroundings, like any other corporation we are being marketed to buy their goods and services. Whatever they think it is, or isn’t, is up to them and their interpretation.

M: The interplay between life and art is a timeless concept. How do you believe your life experiences and philosophical outlook are mirrored in your artistic expressions?

C: ADHD and hyper-fixation are key here. I can’t just like something and be done with it. If I like it, I LOVE it. I obsess over it. It becomes a part of me and ends up becoming part of the art. Like Kir Royale. Living life also just naturally shapes you. Humbles you. Sways your direction like a blade of grass. Being a wanderlust exposed me to a lot of different experiences and walks of life that have left impressions on me be it good or bad. All correct. Life is beautiful this way when it is reflected on with balance. I used to believe I was too all over the place and should focus on one thing, but I accepted that I am not one-dimensional and I don’t want to be. I have a lot of things I find joy in and am willing to share it with whoever wants to listen.

M: There are many people who have heard of "LUXURY ABSOLUTE" and there will be more. However, while many may connect with the name and the art, I believe understanding the story behind it can deepen this connection. How did it come to life, and why was it named LUXURY ABSOLUTE? Personally, I believe YSL played a role as well. Am I right?

C: I inadvertently explained the origin earlier, so I can expand on the name. During the process of trying to come up with a high fashion brand name, I started to source from music that I listened to. A lot of bands title themselves and songs after other bands and their songs, so I was just doing the same thing. I remembered an underground metal band I love called Clair Cassis put out a record titled “Luxury Absolute”, and that was the name I needed. I remember back in the day when I first found it the title stuck with me because it created a sense of decadence, but also a lot of confidence, almost arrogance from the “Absolute” part. The image of the band is luxurious, but the music is abrasive and mysterious. It has the dichotomy I was going for, and the name represented what I wanted my art to represent.  I ended up learning a lot about perfume from this band because the guy behind the project abandoned it to become a perfumer. So an Absolute in perfumery is defined as “is the most concentrated form of fragrance and highly regarded in natural perfumery”,  and in general “free from imperfection.” And I think both definitions are relevant. Keeps it loose, keeps it vague, but gives it enough meaning to play.

M: One thing I love about your art and you as an artist is the ethos you have and instill in your work. I'm reminded of street art and streetwear every time I see a piece of your creative work on social media. You truly create art for art's sake, and I've always believed that you will start a movement with your guiding principle: "No algorithm. No gallery." I deeply resonate with these words, and I am confident many others will too. What inspired you to take your art to the streets, and how do you envision the evolution of street art in our digital age?

C: Obey raised me. Street art and graffiti have only gotten more accessible with the help of Instagram. You can find writers from all over the world now posting their work. So I think it’ll only keep the culture alive for each generation to come who may not live in a place like New York or Seattle. Punk always has always had the best form of advertisement and style from things being DIY. Hip Hop the same. Graffiti the same. Gallery won’t pick your work? Go to Fedex Print and Ship, print out your own posters, and paste them on the side of a building. Let the public walking their dogs be the viewer. Look at any punk/metal show flyer on the side of a mailbox. It’s all the same. I learned all this from just being in a band and listening to underground music.

Roses and Dagger

M: Two of my favorite pieces are: "Valérie" and "Roses and Dagger". What was the inspiration behind them? Can you take us through the process you underwent to bring these two masterpieces to life?

C: Valérie is part of my “24k” series. 24k gold is the purest form of gold, so it fits the “Absolute” definitions. I was listening to a LOT of hip hop/rap/trap during the 24k Genesis and really going for the rapper chain stuff but on classy and soft images. Initially, I was doing animated images, but for the second round, I wanted them to be photorealistic and go back to the magazine spread style. So for Valérie, I assembled a mood board of images, words, feelings, and music I want the output to be inspired. Then taking the time to assemble the right descriptive words to get the elements you’re after. As well as trial and error, a ton of garbage outputs and regenerations, photo manipulation, then graphic design. I want all my pieces to have the poster/magazine texture feel so I do a lot of zooming in to make sure it has those details.

Roses and Dagger came from a line I found in a poem that resonated with me titled “Venus and Fire” by Rune Lazuli. The line is “Love comes without hesitation. It comes with roses and knives.” The dichotomy is at play again. But the handle of the dagger must be ornate and it must be gold.

Osmo x CXA - Sticker Collab

M: Your passion for street art is evident to me and likely to everyone reading this. It is not just the words that convince us that this is true, but also the reflection of it in each of your creations. You recently collaborated with a super-talented street artist, OSMO, to release a Queen Anne-themed street art sticker. The end result was truly magnificent. How was the experience of working with OSMO, and how did this collaboration come about?

C: I’ve worked with Osmo a few times in my graffiti-style work and we’ve formed a great relationship through Instagram DMs. I saw that he had done another collab sticker with a street artist called Psycozrcs, and I wanted in on that. I’m a big sticker tagger so I wanted to rep Osmo out here in the United States in some way so I’m happy we got to do it. I used Queen Anne in the 24k style with gold chains, tattoos, and my personal Chanel rip “CXA” tag on her hat. On the bottom, it has Osmo’s signature script hand style. One of the most beautiful styles I’ve ever seen. So big shout out to him in Germany.


M: What's on the horizon for "LUXURY ABSOLUTE" and for you as an artist? Is there a specific goal or message you aim to convey through your art?

C: Always striving to be better, put in my time, and to refine my work. Be the best artist I can be today to help build the artist I will be tomorrow. Give people the best work I can possibly produce in my one life and earn the respect of the people. Above all, have fun. If I’m not having fun, I’m not doing it.

There is no hard message in my work, and I don’t want there to be. My favorite pieces are those that let my mind wander. Come up with a narrative. Or put the puzzle pieces together to form my own theories. When people view them, I would like for them to have that experience and not take away from their moment to have a moment because I told them what to feel and think with words. Some of my work simply has no meaning at all other than to look like the coolest shit you’ve ever seen. Some have hidden references only I would know about or those who are around me or follow my social media. My work has already been described as having “pretentious ambiguity”, which I think is pretty funny and I want to own that. I don’t want to be an artist who forces a meaning to sound ~~ D E E P ~~ and troubled. Absolute, authenticity, is everything to me.

M: If you could have dinner with three people, dead or alive, who would they be?

C: My parents and Bethany.

We hope that this exploration into Christian Xander Ariel's deep mind and spirit has provided you with a wider perspective and a deeper admiration for his art and the intricate themes he navigates. His path exemplifies the limitless realms that emerge when luxury and rebellion collide, and his creations serve as a beacon of innovation in the field of digital artwork.

Christian's exploration of dichotomy and authenticity inspires us all to consider our lives and the world we live in. We encourage you to go further, peel back the layers of his work, and discover your own meanings and connections.

We are grateful to Christian for allowing us inside his world and for sharing his thoughts, inspirations, and aspirations with us. It has been a journey of discovery and enlightenment, and we are looking forward to seeing what new boundaries he will explore in his future works.

Follow Christian on social media platforms ( Twitter - Instagram) and visit his “website” to stay up to date on his latest works and thoughts. We anticipate witnessing the ongoing evolution of his artistic narrative and the resonance it will have in the realms of art and beyond.

Thank you for joining us on this journey, dear readers. We hope it has inspired you as much as it has us, and we are delighted to bring you additional insights into the brains of the artists that shape our world.

Next week on Storied Strokes, another incredible artist's voice will be heard. Keep an eye on our social media ( Twitter - Lens - Instagram ) as we may drop some hints, but only the most astute among you will be able to figure out who the artist is.

Storied Strokes keeps growing, its fabric richly woven with the voices of people like Christian! Artists are the future's architects, and their words carry unsaid truths.

The journey continues!

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