Chris Rawlins is a talented and diverse psychological illusionist or er, a mentalist. What does that mean? We hear you ask? Well, you’re about to find out. Chris’ friendly approach and mind-boggling tricks are quickly making him popular on a national scale and he’s turning a lot of heads within his industry. We have a chat to the 21-year-old Lancaster-born, York-based visual artist about his career and plans for the future.
“I want to entertain people, not pretend that I am psychic”
S] For those unfamiliar with your work, how would you describe what you do?
C] “Well, I’m essentially a performer. Though, more specifically, I am a Mentalist and Psychological Illusionist that appears to read people’s minds and control people’s actions. I do what I do to entertain people and not to pretend I’m psychic. Although I like to leave audiences wondering, it’s about making people question their beliefs of what is possible.”
S] What keeps you most passionate about it?
C] “I think my constant learning keeps my passion for performing going and, my intrigue with how people are in themselves. People in general are just very interesting, especially when put in the situations that I put them in. My mind is constantly thinking up new ideas, possible presentations, techniques and styles. This all helps.”
S] How would you advise others looking to get in to the profession?
C] “Well, this is a tricky one! I often get people messaging me via e-mail, Facebook or YouTube asking how I do certain things. This angers me a little sometimes, although I am always grateful of the interest. I started out within magic from a young age and that has grown in to a passion for the more psychological performances. I would recommend reading in and around the subjects of psychology, magic and mentalism. Start by learning some card tricks and see where you end up.”
S] What would you say that some of your biggest challenges are on a daily basis?
C] “Well, it depends; one day it could be thinking up a new effect, another day I might be filming, performing or writing and another I may be rehearsing. I think my biggest challenge is trying to make sure that what I do entertains.”
S] What about your background before becoming a mentalist, what did you do?
C] “Like I said, earlier in my career, I did card tricks. I still do now on an odd occasion although I never perform that stuff any more, really. I also drum, that’s a great past time when I’m not performing. I used to be in a band actually, called Idol Minds. They’re all good mates still and going strong. Other than that, I really enjoy just relaxing with my mates, my lovely girlfriend and being a normal twenty one year old.”
S] What has been a personal career highlight for you?
C] “Personally, so far I have been most proud of getting my own book published on the subject of mentalism. I got in touch with Kenton Knepper a while back and sent him some of my ideas, he loved them and I got my thoughts and material published. I get e-mails from people who have read the book and loved it which always makes me smile. It’s such a good feeling to know that people are out there in America, the UK and god knows where else performing and using my ideas.”
S] What do you enjoy most about what you do?
C] “I enjoy all aspects of performing although I thoroughly enjoy stage performances. Nothing beats the feeling of walking out on stage in a theatre, bar or a club and performing for a crowd.”
S] What are some of your goals for the future?
C] “I would love to potentially head to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival sometime in the future and touring theatres would be a dream come true.”
S] Do you get nervous when you perform on stage or go up to people in the street?
C] “Close-up and one-on-one, not so much because I like to think I am pretty confident. I do however always get nervous when performing for a crowd. Whether it be twenty people or a thousand. Nerves are good though, they keep me on my toes.
S] Which of your methods do you find most effective in achieving a reaction from the audience?
C] “Well to go into detail would reveal far too much! However, making demonstrations fun in some way always helps and I think just being a nice guy goes a long way; if the audience like you, they will enjoy your performance.”
S] How do you find being based in a city like York – does it help or hinder your progress as a mentalist?
C] “Yeah, York is a great city to live in! Loads going on, I have met some great people here that have helped me out in many ways. Mates, fellow performers, business men/women, they have all been great.”
S] Who are the people that inspire you the most?
C] “Luke Jermay is a huge inspiration of mine. If I am ever half the performer and showman he is, I will be a happy guy. It’s going to sound cheesy but also, my girlfriend and my parents, who have each inspired me to aim high and all that jazz!”
S] What would you say that the biggest misconceptions are about the mentalist profession?
C] “Well, the biggest misconception I would say is the whole psychic thing. I obviously have no way of knowing if such a thing exists but I do know that there are a lot of people out there using the tricks and techniques I use to pretend to be psychic and to me, that is really messed up!”
S] Why should people book your for their events?
C] “For people who want to be bamboozled, entertained and have their minds explored should book me because I’m me.”
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