This Indigenous Artist Is Using His Love Of Astro Boy For A Great Cause

This Indigenous Artist Is Using His Love Of Astro Boy For A Great Cause
Image: Brian Robinson

This article is sponsored by Australian Red Cross Lifeblood

There’s something fun about spotting video game references or anime characters somewhere they wouldn’t normally be. It’s like finding a real Easter egg.

This blurring of fantasy and reality is something Indigenous Australian artist Brian Robinson loves doing with his own work, which includes paintings, prints, sculptures and design. A curator for the Cairns Regional Gallery, Robinson attributes his style and influences to growing up on Thursday Island in the Torres Strait.

“Just like any other kid growing up on Thursday Island, the entire island was our playground,” he told Artist Profile.

“We were always out fishing, diving, hunting and playing sport, and some of these were seminal experiences growing up. Combined with cultural practice, learning the in and outs of my traditional heritage, I led a very exciting and active life.”

“Even though I was a child growing up in the Torres Strait, I was still influenced by television, comic books and other publications. I used to sit at the kitchen table for hours on end sketching from imagination and memory, comic books (Spiderman, Superman and the Phantom) or the Women’s Weekly – just anything I could get my hands on.”

Catholicism also played a role in Robinson’s art. “I also grew up in quite a strong Roman Catholic household and was dragged along to church by my mother,” he said.

“Being bored unfortunately sitting in mass, I started to become interested in the stained glass windows and the statues of Jesus and Mary scattered around the church. That’s where my interest in the biblical narratives and renaissance art stemmed from.”

As you can see in one of his pieces below, there’s a real mix of influences, including those from film and TV. Astro Boy is hanging out up the top and on the left-hand side, you’ll see a Death Star nestled amongst the clouds.

Recently, Robinson’s work has contributed to a very worthy cause — blood donation. He’s one of six Aussie artists who have designed limited-edition bandages for Australian Red Cross Lifeblood’s True Colours campaign.

If you donate blood between now and the end of November, you’ll be able to walk out with one of these bandages proudly wrapped around your arm. Think of it as a way to show off your good deed without straight-up bragging about it.

As you’d expect, Robinson’s love of Astro Boy has taken centre stage on his design below.

In Australia, 31,000 blood donations are needed every week to keep up with demand. Donated blood only lasts for 42 days, which means Lifeblood is always in need of regular donors. 

To put it another way, 1 in 3 Aussies will need blood products in their lifetime — but only 1 in 30 people will donate.

If you’re keen to help do your part, booking an appointment is easy. Visit Lifeblood to check your eligibility and book your donation. So go on, show your True Colours this November by rolling up your sleeves and getting involved.


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