Chris Slabber

Professional in Photography Design.

About Chris Slabber

Growing up in the South Africa, I was influenced from an early age by humble surroundings. It was here where I developed my imagination that would eventually fuel my Surrealistic style. Mostly known for my Photography and manipulation techniques, I like to focus on the subconscious. I want the viewer too finish each piece inside his/her mind. This results in an individualistic experience. It should be an inward journey, manifested as an emotional experience. After 10 years of working as a professional in both commercial and fine arts, I have received multiple awards for my work in Photo Manipulation and Mixed Media Illustration, of which the most prestigious was the 2014 & 2018 Platinum award for Photo Manipulation at the A’ Design Awards in Como, Italy. Alongside this I am the 2018 A’ Design Awards Designer of the Year.

  • Winner of 6 A' Design Awards.
  • 6-Time Winner of Photography Design Award.
  • Specialized in Photography Design.
  • 6 Featured Original Designs.
  • Highly Creative, Diligent and Innovative.
  • All Designs
  • Photography
Insect Sculptures Advertising

Insect Sculptures Advertising

Photography Design

Life From Stone Exhibition

Life From Stone Exhibition

Photography Design

We Set Sail Album Art

We Set Sail Album Art

Photography Design

Parallel Personal Exhibition

Parallel Personal Exhibition

Photography Design

Destruction/Creation Print Exhibition

Destruction/Creation Print Exhibition

Photography Design

Haezer  Album Art

Haezer Album Art

Photography Design


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Interview with Chris Slabber

Could you please tell us more about your art and design background? What made you become an artist/designer? Have you always wanted to be a designer?
I've always knew I'd be doing something in the creative world since I was a kid. It all just started with a lot of doodling and even more day dreaming, which for some reason always got me into trouble with school. Once I discovered "art" and that you can do this for a living I made up my mind.
What is "design" for you?
Its essentially a documentation of modern man. It will be able to tell future generations about our thought processes at the time. It would tell them what was important to us at a certain point in time. It would be able to show us/them the mistakes we have made in the past so that we can learn from them to improve the world through good design.
What kinds of works do you like designing most?
Surreal,Experimental, digital art. I love creating artwork for movie posters or album covers. I think its to do with the fact that you have to take an entire script or album and compress it into a single image. My work walks a fine line between Fine Art and Commercial art.
What is your most favorite design, could you please tell more about it?
Its hard to say, because I see awesome talent almost everyday online or in books, but on a personal level I'd have to say my entry for the 2014 A Design Award - Heazer - is my one of my favourites to date.
What is your favorite material / platform / technology?
I work in mixed media. I think that each piece of work is dictated by the brief. But for the most part I use Photo Manipulation as a technique.
When do you feel the most creative?
I think once my research for a project is done and the concept starts to emerge. The energy is overwhelming.
What kind of emotions do you feel when you design?
If the inspiration is strong I feel on top of the world, but sometimes you have to dig deeper and it can be quite the battle, but its worth it.
What kind of emotions do you feel when your designs are realized?
Just good old happiness which is so motivating to work harder to be able to do it again.
What makes a design successful?
I always say if you, as the designer, can look at your own work and it makes you feel good, then you've done a pretty good job.
When judging a design as good or bad, which aspects do you consider first?
I would say balance. Does the design feel forced? Does it seem like one cohesive unit? Are the different design elements complementary to each other? So essentially good composition between the different elements as well as between the concept and the design.
From your point of view, what are the responsibilities of a designer for society and environment?
As mentioned earlier, we as designers have the power to create a world of perfect balance, the trick is just to get the rest of the world to play along.
How do you think the "design field" is evolving? What is the future of design?
I think after the past 7 years of intense digital media boom with all the social platforms design has become a bit impersonal. So i think design will be looking to adopt a more "hand made" approach in order to regain its place amongst the arts.
When was your last exhibition and where was it? And when do you want to hold your next exhibition?
My last exhibition was during a local South African Art Festival - the KKNK. It was a solo exhibition consisting of 35 pieces ranging from photography & manipulation to mixed media and ink illustrations. I'm not sure when my next one will be, but sometime soon.
Where does the design inspiration for your works come from? How do you feed your creativity? What are your sources of inspirations?
I go through a ton of design sites and books to get my gears going, but at some point I have to distance myself from those kind of distractions and just go out in nature, being it surfing or fishing or just a walk in the open air. Its amazing how much inspiration nature has to offer, because in my opinion, nature is the perfect balance of design.
How would you describe your design style? What made you explore more this style and what are the main characteristics of your style? What's your approach to design?
Its very experimental. I love mixing media. I love mixing the abstract with reality. That tension between the two seems to evoke an exciting energy. My style is very textured based. I always try to make my work jump off the page or screen. My approach would be to follow my instincts and to trust my intuition.
Where do you live? Do you feel the cultural heritage of your country affects your designs? What are the pros and cons during designing as a result of living in your country?
I live in a small town at the Southern tip of Africa called Oudtshoorn. We're known for two things: Ostriches and the Cango Caves. I like the fact that its small and secluded, this helps a lot with the creative process for me. Way less distractions. Living in a 3rd world country does make it difficult to travel internationally, but with the level of internet today its a lot easier to maintain business relations internationally.
How do you work with companies?
For most agencies, I work online. Its super important to work out a good schedule to account for time difference, but sometimes if needed, I'll work in house.
What are your suggestions to companies for working with a designer? How can companies select a good designer?
I guess looking at the work he/she has done in the past and trying to get hold of a few of their clients to get a first hand opinion.
Can you talk a little about your design process?
Start with a lot of research as much as you can. After that start to divide these into 3 "concept folders", and from there present your ideas to the client and see if they like one. Then its a matter of exploiting the concept to its fullest.
Can you describe a day in your life?
Wake up early-ish, have a cup of coffee and some oats. Go to the gym for an hour. Come home, shower and start the day's work. At the end of the day I like to do a bit of meditation. Then have supper and watch an episode or 2 of a series or I'd go out for a whiskey at my local pub.
Could you please share some pearls of wisdom for young designers? What are your suggestions to young, up and coming designers?
Forget the rules. I'm not saying go out and cause chaos, but don't make up your mind before you've even started. Be frightfully honest with yourself. Trust your gut, but be willing to make sacrifices when its the right one.
From your perspective, what would you say are some positives and negatives of being a designer?
Positive: I love expanding my mind on a creative level. I love the insight one gets into the world. Negative: Not a lot of people understand what I do. I think most people just see me as some guy who draws pictures.
What skills are most important for a designer?
Having an open mind and to acknowledge good work when you see it. And also to always be a student of design. Design is always evolving and its important to be able to predict its possible future.
Which tools do you use during design? What is inside your toolbox? Such as software, application, hardware, books, sources of inspiration etc.?
My macbook is stuffed with the Adobe suite. I mostly use Photoshop, Illustrator, Premier and Aftereffects, but I'm getting into Cinema 4D as well. My one pride and joy is my M.C. Escher book - it amazes me every time I look through it. And finally my environment. I'm surrounded by mountains, so there are so much to experience here.
Designing can sometimes be a really time consuming task, how do you manage your time?
You compensate and prioritise. You have to make quick decisions on what is more important. This can sometimes annoy friends and family.
What was your most important job experience?
I think every job has experiences you can take from it. I feel that I learn a little more about myself every time I finished a job, especially when its a big one and your name is on the line.
Who are some of your clients?
GQ South Africa and NBA as permanent clients, but I have done work for: Mercedes Benz, Qatar Airways, Gordon's Dry Gin, Adobe and Huffington Post.
What type of design work do you enjoy the most and why?
I love movie posters and album art. I think its the fact that you have to compress so much information into a single image. Also print ads that require an extreme kind of execution - this enables me to push my skill levels. Besides that I enjoy experimenting with photography techniques, especially the high speed techniques.
What are your future plans? What is next for you?
Just to keep pushing and to get my name out there as an artist. I'd like to work on brands such as Nike or Red Bull. I feel that these kinds of companies have a better understanding of what good design can do for them as a brand. Also I wouldn't mind getting into designing movie posters for big production houses. It'll be an awesome feeling to walk into the cinema knowing that I helped to create a part of an awesome production. Another big goal is to supply commercial properties with artwork. for instance I would love to create a once off pieces for a boutique hotel or modern office buildings.
Do you work as a team, or do you develop your designs yourself?
It depends what I need to do for each project, but mostly on my own.
Do you have any works-in-progress being designed that you would like to talk about?
My studio is always full of works in progress. I started a monthly design challenge where I create desktop wallpapers and put then online for free download. Its my way of giving something back to my supporters/fans.
How can people contact you?
Via email: chrisslabber@gmail.comPortfolio: behance.net/csdandiWebsite: chrisslabber.comFacebook: Chris SlabberInstagram: Chris SlabberPhone: +27 82 381 5868
Any other things you would like to cover that have not been covered in these questions?
Just to all creatives, keep creating and know that you have the power to make your world beautiful. And thanks to my Mom and Dad for all the support.

Extended Interview with Chris Slabber

Could you please tell us a bit about your design background and education?
I was always into the arts from a young age and had fine art lessons through school and eventually went on to study Graphic Design at Cape Technicon, Cape Town, South Africa. This was when I discovered digital art. Immediately my mind opened up and I have been a student ever since.
What motivates you to design in general, why did you become a designer?
I think its something you’re born with. I wake up in the morning with only one thing in mind and that is inspire others as well as myself and in the process I grow as a person and an artist.
What do you design, what type of designs do you wish to design more of?
I always enjoy anything where there is an element of fantasy or surrealism involved. I think thats why I enjoy creating posters for movies ( especially Sci-Fi) as well as album art. These kind of themes aren’t always seen so much in the more commercial jobs, but I do enjoy working on ad campaigns that require some unusual approaches.
What should young designers do to become a design legend like you?
I think firstly to keep practicing and to make a lot of mistakes. Mistakes are the best way to learn. Then also they shouldn’t try to be someone else, they should develop their own style. And lastly I’d say that every designer needs to be honest with him/herself in order to produce the best work possible.
What distinguishes between a good designer and a great designer?
I would say to refine a design. You shouldn’t just settle for the first draft. You should explore as many possibilities in order to make the best of each concept. Another thing would be to remember that its the client’s money, so be respectful and you will earn the client’s trust, which will in turn give you the freedom you want.
What makes a good design a really good design, how do you evaluate good design?
As Mentioned before, explore as many avenues as possible for the design concept. Its game of trail and error and the little details that no one cares about. Its what you never see that makes the difference.
What is the value of good design? Why should everyone invest in good design?
Good design just makes more sense. People are stimulated visually, so you can determine their behaviour by what you allow them to see. Good design can make it fun for children to learn. Good design can save lives, but most important, good design can change the world.
What would you design and who would you design for if you had the time?
I would love to design the campaign artwork for someone like M83 (french musician). His music is very atmospheric and dream-like, which would complement my style a lot I would imagine.
What is the dream project you haven’t yet had time to realize?
Its hard to say, but I wouldn’t mind creating artwork for someone like Nike or some other kind of sports brand that has a bit of an alternative edge to it. Or maybe even get into doing work for a movie production studio such as Universal.
What is your secret recipe of success in design, what is your secret ingredient?
Honesty. Don’t try to kid yourself. Always be honest when you know you can do better and don’t be afraid to accept defeat.
Who are some other design masters and legends you get inspired from?
There are so many out there, but I’m still mostly inspired by the grand masters such as Da Vinci, M.C. Escher, and Renbrant to name a few. I love going back to their readings and seeing how they studied a certain subject to fully understand it form and function.
What are your favorite designs by other designers, why do you like them?
I wouldn’t say I have favourite designs. I’d rather say that I get inspired by good design.
What is your greatest design, which aspects of that design makes you think it is great?
This is also something i don’t really know, because every design is its own entity. I feel that once you say a certain design is your best, you will always try to better that point in your career instead of exploring your creativity.
How could people improve themselves to be better designers, what did you do?
Stay humble and accept defeat when you have too. Its those everyday life lessons that shapes your mind and soul.
How do you define design, what is design for you?
Design is a visual language. Its an abstract concept that is understood world wide.
Who helped you to reach these heights, who was your biggest supporter?
My friends have always been very encouraging, but my parents really supported me in the journey of finding my design voice and to trust my instincts.
What were the obstacles you faced before becoming a design master?
I’d say being able to get recognised as a freelance artist in order to land the bigger design contracts.
How do you think designers should present their work?
Professionally. Make effort to gain the attention you seek from the clients you want.
What’s your next design project, what should we expect from you in future?
Lately I've been working on some mural designs for the new Amazon Offices in Cape Town, so it seems that there might be some more work for that. Further more I'm in talks with a few agencies to do some experimental artwork work in the near future.
How does design help create a better society?
By being able to inspire people to become better people. The power of good design should never be underestimated.
What are you currently working on that you are especially excited about?
I just signed off an illustration series celebrating South African Freedom day. Apart from that I am working on a platform to exhibit local South African artists to the international market.
Which design projects gave you the most satisfaction, why?
I’d say the ones where the client trusts you and gives you the freedom in order to be as creative as possible.
Where do you think the design field is headed next?
To a way more global mind set. I think that more international collaborations will be happening which will see a good mixture of different styles from different corners of the world.
What is the role of the color, materials and ambient in design?
It all comes down to what you’re working on, but its using these elements to enhance the composition of a project in order to make the message as strong as possible.
Who is your ideal design partner? Do you believe in co-design?
I’d say someone that has a skill set that could compliment mine.
Which people you interacted had the most influence on your design?
Anyone who complimented my work in the past has an impact on my work, because they are the encouraging force to help me strive to create more and better work.
Irrelative of time and space, who you would want to meet, talk and discuss with?
Leonardo da Vinci, M.C. Escher, Elon Musk, Albert Einstein, Steven Spielberg, George Lucas, Kevin Smith.
What is your favorite color, place, food, season, thing and brand?
Teal, Still Bay South Africa (como is a very close 2nd), Seafood, Summer, Drumkit, New Balance
Please tell us a little memoir, a funny thing you had experienced as a designer?
I’d have to say when I faked it to make it in my first job as a photo manipulator. I was asked if I am good at it, which I wasn’t at the time, and I kind of lied. I eventually got the job and ended up having to do so many tutorial through the night in order to start my first big photo manipulation job. Needless to say I learned how to swim very quickly.
What makes your day great as a designer, how do you motivate yourself?
To feel that sense of inspiration and satisfaction at the same time.
When you were a little child, was it obvious that you would become a great designer?
Well it was obvious that I would be part of the creative world for sure.
Please tell us anything you wish your fans to know about you, your design and anything else?
I’m a friendly, down to earth person. I’m always open to give advice when I’m able to and I’m always open to the idea of collaborating on a project. I always say, you won’t know until you ask.

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