"A perfect face can be very boring to look at over a certain amount of time."
Photographed in the intimate space of his own home for Issue 7, we decided to find out more about the boy in the checked pyjamas, otherwise known as Charlie Levi (Chadwick Models). We take a step into the dream world of The Sarcastic Sleeper and really try and delve into the creative mind behind the physical charm. For those who may share the visual mind of Charlie, the visuals surrounding this interview can be found in the issue 7 "Boys in Pyjamas" feature and also in the digital extended version Boys In Pyjamas Editorial. Living in Newcastle, Australia, a city two hours North of Sydney, Charlie gives us an insight into his outlook of the world, explaining his style, creativity and why charcoal is his chosen drawing tool.
He is now in the pre-university stage, weighing up his options for the future. Away from the beach, the sun and surfing, we talk surrealism, faces and growing up.
Could you please introducte yourself.
I’m Charlie Levi, I’m 17 and I’m from Australia. I could throw in some Interesting things, but I’m not a very interesting person (BBG dissagrees). I like to draw and I like music and I like my bed and I like sleep.
So if people had to remember you in history, you would be the Australian boy that liked to sleep?
You’ve shot for Boys by Girls Issue 7 with Rachel Dray, which is super cool. How was that?
It was very quick, very fun. When it was happening out by the front of my house, these people were canoodling at the front of my house and started to try and get in on the photos. It was really embarrassing. But anyway it was really fun and very fast paced. Rachel came out from Sydney to where I live. It wasn’t intimate, but it was very close and personal. It was great.
She was capturing you at your house.
Yeah I think that’s why it felt so close and personal.
It’s a Boys by Girls thing we do.
Yeah it's really cool, I like it. My Mum kept getting on my case about my room though.
Did you tidy your room for it?
No I didn’t and then she came to tidy it and I told her off. Then I made it messy again. haha
I like the pictures because Rachel captured the atmosphere in your room well and she included some of the stuff on your wall. Some of the things that show what kind of person you are. If we gave you three words to describe yourself, what would they be?
Sarcastic, sleepy and lame maybe... no not lame. Maybe creative.
Where does your art interest come from?
I’ve always been interested in art since I was young. I didn’t usually talk very much as a child, but I always knew my colours very well. I would always point to things and say it was a certain colour when I was very young. I think I’ve always been interested in drawing and art, so I’ve always been doing it. My recent stuff which is on my wall, the style for that is derived from German expressionism, which is one of my favourite art movements or forms.
You use charcoal a lot to express yourself.
I like charcoal, because with a paintbrush you have to refill or rewet it and get more paint, but with charcoal you can just keep going and going. You don’t have to stop. You can go crazy. I tried ink the other day, that was fun, but I got a bit on my clothes and couldn’t do it again.
Some of your art is quite surreal looking. Why are you drawn to the surreal side?
I don’t like looking at faces which are too realistic. I like looking at faces which have weird things on them, a little crazy and I like putting things out of proportion and making them a bit distorted. A perfect face can be very boring to look at over a certain amount of time. If you see a face which is of stranger, you get to pin point the things that are strange a little more clearly.
That’s very very interesting coming from a pretty model.
Thank you…yeah sort of. I kind of wish I was like one of my drawings. I wish I had like really big eyes and crazy ears and stuff like that.
How do you feel about your own self-image?
I didn’t think too much of it really until I started getting into modelling. I do think about it sometimes. If I’m on a shoot I’ll be thinking about it, but I tend not to think about it during the day. Sometimes it will just hit me at lectures like let me look at my face to see what’s going on, if anything’s on my face. I don’t really focus on it that much. I think it's good to keep it well kept but a face is a face.
You and I were talking about ‘model poses’ versus a natural capture. How did we challenge you on this shoot?
Well when I’m doing the posy things I’m usually just doing what I’m told. Like looking that way, clenching your jaw, doing this and doing that. I liked this, because I didn’t have to do anything. I could just chill out and relax.
So talk to me about where you’re growing up.
I’m growing up in a place called Newcastle, which is two hours North of Sydney, Australia and it's centred around the coast. It's very beach and surf orientated which is one of the world's largest cult sports. It’s very industrial as well. It’s not for me; it’s not my cup of tea. As you know I'm more interested in the city and London. I like to stay inside and not go out in the sun.
You should swap places with someone in London.
I’d die for that. So yeah it’s a coastal city I’d say.
What’s it like growing up there?
It’s a good place to grow up, because it’s very carefree. Everyone’s very chilled out and it’s not like Sydney where it's very fast paced. People just got to the beach and don’t really have worries.
So you’re still in school right?
I don’t know how it works with your school system but I’m in year 12 over here,which is my last year of school. So I have to make some decisions now about where I will go next.
Do you have universities near you that you already have in mind?
I was thinking to go to Sydney for university, because that’s where I like to hang out and that’s where I do my modelling work, but there's a uni up where I live called University of Newcastle and it’s a good uni but I’m gonna go to Sydney I think.
What do you wanna be when you grow up?
Like dream job? When I’m 40 I wanna be the curator of an art gallery or something like that. Not like a boring art curator, a cool art curator. Not one that’s really monotone. I wanna be one that’s cool.
That sounds great, you should come to London and set up a Boys by Girls gallery!
That sounds great! That would be so good. You could feature all the art works as well.
What do you see around you at the moment?
I see my room is more messy than it is in the photos, a coloured wall and broken lamp, cans of caffeine to keep me awake.
Would you describe yourself as a deep person?
No, when I’m awake I’m probably the least serious person you’ll ever meet in your life. Everything’s a joke. Nothing’s literal unless we get to a deep conversation, then I might get a little bit serious and deep
Thank you Charlie for sharing more of your world with BBG and the people to hang on our site.
Interview by Cecilie Harris.
Photography by Rachel Dray.
Introduction by Rachel Abebrese.