BY AUSTIN BRALYNSKI
A multifaceted artist that focuses on blurring the lines of gender while encouraging real life representation within fashion. He challenges others to push the boundaries of self expression whilst uncovering the awareness of mental health and its importance. Slippage had the absolute pleasure to sit down and talk with Christopher Quarterman, featured in episode 8 of the Folx Films short documentary series. We talk about his journey of self acceptance, how he regained control over his life and tapping into what helps him to stay inspired.
Docu Series: @folx.films Director: Krystalline Armendariz @k_stallin Producer: Julia Reagan @lajuli
Cinematographer: Brandon Roots @broots PR: Najva Sol @najvas0l Talent: Christopher Quarterman @lejoursdechris
We came across you at a magazine launch party in 2019 and approached you, as we thought your looks were killer. For those that don’t know Christopher, tell them a little about yourself!
First, many thanks for approaching me and for your beautiful comment! My name is Christopher Quarterman. I am a Kentucky born and New York based artist that focuses on blurring the lines of gender while encouraging real life representation within fashion. Day to day, I challenge others along with myself to push the boundaries of self expression whilst uncovering the awareness of mental health and its importance.
There is so much freedom with sexuality and identity in the world right now. And you are a huge part of that wave. Can you tell us a little bit about your journey?
There is so much freedom of expression right now however the fight for equality still continues today. We are not equal until we all are equal, so yes, I do consider myself a part of the revolution. Reminiscent of the past civil rights movements, many humans are again realizing that they are enough. Our physical appearance, our identity, and our sexuality has become more about our personal values rather than society’s. My journey has been nothing less than an evolution of self and a pursuit of my own happiness. I was born and raised in the South; much of who I am was developed as an escape of mental oppression. I needed to think for myself and unlearn many values/ideas that didn't coincide with my own. Still I am very much a work in progress. I am fearful and fearless at the same time for I know what can come with such freedom today and all I can hope for is a better understanding for tomorrow.
Folx is doing an amazing job at exploring the LGBTQIA+ community and raises awareness through voicing stories, experiences, and hardships of everyday people. What was it like working with Folx Films?
Working with FOLX Films was a great experience! I am truly honored to be a part of such an incredible initiative that uncovers the true heartbeat of the community. We are no less human than anyone else; even though we are steered to think otherwise. As the interview commenced, I had to take serious deep breaths and evaluate what I was saying because words are permanent and I wanted my voice to reflect the truth of the experiences that have shaped me. This opportunity was one of the firsts where I've been asked to share my story and my voice. Although I was hesitant in the beginning about sharing, I enjoyed the trip down memory lane and I was appreciative of being able to have the support and respect from my friends, family, and people I've yet to experience.
You told Folx, “No matter what you have been through, no matter the past traumas…you have to learn to accept that it’s part of who you are and what makes you beautiful.” What was the pivoting moment for you when you reclaimed your power and recognized your self worth?
I still am learning the power that I have against what keeps me trapped and acknowledging my own self worth. I am composed of so much trauma, anger, and depression, but that doesn't mean that I let it hinder my onward journey. I felt that I was speaking more to myself as I tend to do. My therapy comes from my own writing and my art. I write or express things with others, but I understand that the message is not only for them, but for me. By releasing my anger, frustration, and even positive affirmations, I am able to use that as fuel for my life's passions.
We can see that you are a style icon and makeup feen! Where do you typically draw your inspiration from when it comes to your work?
I am a spongy empath. I absorb the emotions and characteristics of many individuals. It’s hard to differentiate what's mine and what I have adopted from something else. Typically, I am inspired by the depths of my own imagination. I value the times where I am able to let myself go and be creative. I'll wake up and just feel the lines that I wish to draw with my eyeliner or sometimes I even lay in bed and think about the combinations of my own wardrobe, which makes getting dressed easier. I am surrounded by so many beautiful artists and I have so much respect for their vulnerability and the connection that we all share through our expression.
This industry can be beautiful, wild, messy and toxic, all at the same time. What do you hope to see happen/improve in the coming years in this industry?
The fashion industry has a reputation of being messy and toxic, but I do believe that there is equally as much beauty and it’s no different than any other industry. I live for a bit of regality and attitude. Our work isn't to take to heart the brutal honesty; we have to remain as focused because at the end of the day it's still a business. I do believe such negativity can affect someone mentally, as it has done before to myself. The toxic element is in the homophobia, racism, fatphobia, and all around exclusivity. Queer people make it acceptable to wear $2,000 designer hoodies, but we dismiss the idea of seeing its consumer being depicted? We need to see more inclusiveness that way the industry can speak to a broader audience as opposed to the exclusive few.
Moving forward to the coming years, I would love to see more of the hard working assistants such as myself secure more lead jobs. I've been reading many articles on the ways that fashion is geared to change and some are quite scary, but others maybe refreshing. I’m apprehensive about the precautions that will have to be taken in future projects due to COVID-19. It will not only affect the fashion industry but every worldly interaction. I am excited to know that designers are becoming less excessive by condensing collections and showcasing true artistry. This reduction will be beneficial to the environment.
How do you feel about the current state of queer acceptance in 2020?
The current state of queer acceptance to me is still shockingly exclusive. We are invited, host, and are gifted at the fashion parties and runway shows because we embody the brand's reputation. However, if someone that is not in the industry sees me on the street pumping in a 7 inch pleaser heel why is my existence still being reconsidered? That exclaims the need for representation within media as it holds so much visual presence.
It's crazy to think that even within the queer spectrum there is bigotry. We can't forget that black trans individuals have fought the most for this community and are the most marginalized still to this day. I not only hope but plan to aid in more representation within commercial and editorial projects showcasing the 360 human experience. I am a part of a revolution to expand the human mind of acceptance. Yes, it may be tiring at times, but its impact is priceless.
We are incredibly honored for all the support you have given to us. What does Slippage mean to you and how does our platform translate into your own life?
Thank you! I am very appreciative for you willing to share my story. What Slippage Magazine means to me is a wide appreciation of what the male form can be. We are more than what has been prescribed. This platform is aiding the work and the ways that many including myself are pushing for the world to understand. With Slippage you are building a bridge for acceptance to exist. What this does for me is it encourages the way that I live my life.
For anyone reading this interview, what is one piece of advice you can give them?
Advice I would give to someone reading this would be to begin with yourself. What are you taking from this world to be able to give in return? I choose to reflect the time and push for equality within any realm that I find myself.
What’s the future look like for you? Any upcoming projects or big plans?
The future to me is limitless. I try my best to remain as multifaceted as I am and follow my heart's desire. Growing up I was persuaded to think otherwise. I've been working on a memoir for years that I will release in due time. Acting has been something that I've set aside while pursuing a fashion career, but I aim to bring my attention back to this. Being an artist my focus changes each and everyday but my efforts for equality remain consistent.
Any final words for the people reading this?
Please check out FOLX FILMS if you have yet to! Please continue to remain sane and positive during this time. If you feel the need to be creative and productive do that. If you feel you need to rest and do nothing do that. Focus on yourself and make sure that person is loved. Thank you all for reading! Xoxo, Christopher.