Everyone belongs somewhere. If you’re lucky, as you grow up you can find that little niche, that subculture where you feel you feel like you truly fit. The teen years are so entertaining because that’s where we hunt through blue hair and body peircings, the sports and spandex, the guitars and guys and girls and find our ‘thing’. For ‘unusual’ people like Li Pawson, it took a trip to a Tasmanain circus festival for him to find ‘his people’, and stop getting weird looks for doing yoga while travelling with sporting teams…
DSM: We stumbled across the shit you do when your stunning pics popped up on social media and we just had to talk to you! Partly out of curiosity, but honestly, mainly out of extreme ab-envy. Tell us about the shit you do…
LP: I’m into circus arts, and music. I grew up playing a lot of sports, but in 2000 I went to the National Circus Festival in Golconda, Tasmania. That changed my life. I found my people. I loved that it wasn’t so obviously competitive; people helped you! And I could do yoga and nobody looked at me weird! I grew up doing yoga, and if I did any whilst away, playing basketball for instance, I’d get weird looks!
‘Within circus I specialize in Flying Trapeze, Handstanding, Acrobalance (balancing People) and straps.’
DSM: So the circus festival was a turning point to find the shit you do, but how do you go from having a great time at a festival to becoming a performer yourself?
LP: I played a lot of music in my teenage years, and it was kind of natural to go onto different types of performing. I didn’t want to be an artist; I grudgingly accepted that I was…
“A lot of people noticed I had a physical gift as I grew up and I didn’t want to not use my body that could “DO SHIT!” However, I come from an isolated area (‘The Channon‘), and it was difficult to access skilled people or facilities…”
When I was 20 an awesome woman came to my area and introduced me to circus. I found my people and I loved the discipline of training skills. She took me to the circus fest in 2000 and i’ve never looked back from there.
DSM: What’s the most challenging aspect of what you do?
LP: While it’s difficult, I love the regularity of training and the endorphins it produces. I don’t feel right if i don’t do it.
‘Circus takes something and makes it very difficult, for entertainment purposes. I love that challenge.’
Have there been setbacks? Yep! I had a big knee injury and I’m still working on it 15 months later!
DSM: What gets you motivated to put in the extreme physical training that your art requires, especially to come back from a massive injury??
LP: These days I’m inspired to keep going ’cause it makes me feel good. I used to chase a career a lot more; these days, especially after a massive injury, (and at 34) I tend to be happy that I can “do shit”! When I get gigs; all the better!
I used to think about the future a lot more; I’ve accepted now that there’s some things you don’t have control over. Happiness equals expectation minus reality… so I try to reduce the expectation! I’d like to join my music and circus at the hip, then I’ll have gone full circle in life.
‘Really, for me, it’s about inspiring my Son Otis to do awesome things in the world from here on in.’
Contact Li here.
Image courtesy of Stills by Hill Photography.