A quote by Somni 451 from the movie Cloud Atlas reminds me of Christopher Roberts: “Our lives are not our own. From womb to tomb we are bound to others: past and present. And by each crime and every kindness we birth our future”. In the last week of Advent, I had lunch with Christopher to explore what stamp he wishes to place on the world.
1991 Born in Cape Town
2009 Matriculated from Milnerton High School
2013 Graduated from The Animation School
2015 Signed up to Grace Model Management
2016 Working as a tattoo artist and graphic designer
1. You studied at the Animation School and trained as a tattoo artist. How does design manifest in your life?
I grew up in a creative family. My mom is an artist and my dad is creative as well.
I am not a suit and tie kind of guy. I couldn’t imagine my life being all about paperwork. From my youth I always had a passion for cartoons. I initially wanted to do my tattoo apprenticeship when I completed high school, but my dad wasn’t too keen on me pursuing that right out of the gates. As a result I studied animation and worked for a while for a graphic design agency but still wanted to be a tattoo artist. I barely draw on paper, it’s either digital or on myself.
I prefer doing tattoos than having them. I recently left the tattoo shop where I was apprenticing because they insisted that you have to be tattooed yourself if you want to practice. I’m still young and want to enjoy the skin I’m in for a little longer still. I will eventually get tattoos, and when I do, I will go all the way. But now wasn’t the time and I didn’t want to be dictated too.
2. Why specifically tattoos as an illustrative form though?
There’s just something about it that’s permanent. I find that nothing can be more meaningful since its something you are etching into your skin forever. I enjoy tattooing other as well since they are carrying some part of me. I can give something meaningful to someone that they can take with them to the grave.
3. Labels like skater boy, barman, model, vegan and artist by no means defines you. So who is Christopher Roberts?
I’m a 21st century hippie that has abandoned convention. Hipsters were always meant to be countercultural – I don’t do labels – I believe in questioning the status quo, even the music we listen to these days is brainwashing. I consider myself grounded. I don’t want to be like anyone else or place myself above anyone else. It is for that reason I don’t do competitive sports – I can’t win something if that means someone else has to loose. I skateboard, for example, simply for fun.
When it comes to modelling, I wouldn’t call myself a model but I have been doing it for a couple of months now. Starting out can be tough because you may go to numerous castings yet have no luck. A couple of weeks ago I booked my first job, a commercial advert for Coke that will be featured worldwide. This is really big. As a result my agency, Grace Model Management, also encouraged me to travel next year so I’m beginning to take it a lot more seriously.
4. Your instagram bio reads “less human – more being”. How does the spirituality of ‘being’ play out in your choices and relationships?
We humans think the world is made for us, it isn’t, it is made for all creatures. We decided that we are the top dogs. If the human species were to disappear from the planet it would actually be a gift. Yet if creatures seemingly insignificant like butterflies or bees died it would be catastrophic to the planet’s existence. We are only taking from the earth. This philosophy plays out into my decision to be vegan. I resist all forms of violence. I can’t save the world but I can change myself. Living sustainably is a positive force for the good.
Photo credits: Alexis Pillay for Curious Humanics