SDN Spotlight: BoXXi
18 Sep : 18:28  by jimbo9294

BoXXi is synonymous with skinning.
In 1998 before there was, he built up enough courage to upload a wall to, and the rest is history.
Just about every skinner knows of BoXXi (aka Bryan Cook) his influence is seen throughout the skinning community.
He inspires people. His style can be seen in the skins of the many skinners he has mentored.
BoXXi the Master, recently topped the 5 million mark in total downloads and is the third “All Time Top Skinner” at And who can forget the awesome community project done as a tribute to him. Admired and respected by so many skinners BoXXi remains humble towards it all…Speaking about his Master status he said “I think of it as an honorary title rather than an opportunity to sell skins, because I have never thought my skins were good enough to sell.”
In this Spotlight as in others, we ask the artists several questions that help us build the post along with questions you read in each Spotlight. Boxxi was open in his answers, I wanted to share some of those parts we do not normally add, so here is the September 2011 SDN Spotlight, BoXXi.

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How long have you been skinning?
”Since around 1998 when I discovered, and I decided I wanted to try and make my own wallpaper. I found that I really enjoyed doing it, even though I was just fumbling in the dark at that time with Photoshop. I eventually got a wallpaper past moderation at Skinz, and that really inspired me to get better and get some more wallpapers on that site, which was one of the top skinning sites at that time.”

How did you get started in skinning?
”Just from the desire to make my own wallpapers initially, but like everyone else, you discover things like WindowBlinds etc, and then you REALLY get hooked. It was Larry Kuperman at Stardock who pushed me to make my first WindowBlinds (skin), but I was certain I couldn't do it as I'm not really a technical person. But he persuaded me, so blame him! (I think I was right). But back then I was lucky enough to get help from people like Treetog and Jafo and MikeB314, who are all brilliant people and helped me immensely. Paul (Jafo) helped me with programming Litestep, which was one of the early desktop (explorer) replacements. I loved Litestep, but then I discovered DesktopX and found
it suited my non-technical style a lot more, so I started making DX themes too. Since those days, I've just kinda plodded on making things when I get the inspiration, or when I have time. Time is the big factor for me these days, I have very little of it that I can give to skinning as I'm a single dad of four children.

What type of skins do you prefer to make?
Hmmmm... good question....... I think I get the most satisfaction from completing a WindowBlinds skin, just because I find them so damn difficult to make. But I get the most enjoyment from skinning the music player "Xion", because of the freedom it gives a skinner to go crazy with their imagination, and because the skinning system is pure genius and so user friendly. But at the moment I'm really enjoying
making cursors for CursorFX. I like the challenge of coming up with new, interesting designs in such a small medium, and dreaming up entertaining animations. They are good fun! And of course, I still like to make the odd wallpaper now and again, when I'm trying out a new Photoshop technique that I have learned.

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Who are your favorite skinners?
”The obvious one's are Treetog, MikeB314, Essorant, Johanne etc, the old school guys. They made incredible stuff back in the day and really pushed skinning to where it is now. I have always been in awe of their talent. I like Vstyler's skins for everyday use these days, he knows how to make a clean useable skin. But for pure indulgence, some of the new breed of skinners are really turning out some interesting stuff, and I love the skins that Vampothika, 2of3, The AVMan and Xiandi make. I love Xiandi's style, I always think her skins look like something that came out of MY head, but she knows how to really
make them work, unlike me! But, my ultimate hero is Layne Karkruff, of "Blue Sky Heart", it was seeing his wallpapers when I first got my computer that really made me go: "WOW"!! ........ I think many skinners, even some of the newer ones are influenced by his work...”

Has anyone of them, inspired you to make a skin? If so, elaborate a bit.
”Layne Karkruff........ Treetog... MikeB314... just seeing their work years ago inspired me to try and learn Photoshop... (I'm still trying!!).”

Of the skins you made, which is your favorite?
”I love all my skins, because all of them gave me some kind of pleasure while I was making them. But I guess I would have to say a wallpaper called "Love's Dying Embers".”

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Do you have anything you are working on now?
”Oh man! you have NO idea how much stuff I have here......... time and inspiration will determine if they ever see the light of day.”

What skins are you using right now on your desktop?
”"Sakura" WB skin, "Rounder" icons, "Omgi7" ObjectDock tiles, "LibertyIX" Xion skin, "Glissando" wallpaper and an unnamed cursor that
I am working on. smile
But tomorrow it could be Frontier again, or even my Gridscape DX theme... I change all the time, can't help it, I'm a skinner!! smile”

Stay tuned to find out who is next to be put under the Spotlight.