Electrifying South African talent with cartoons and confidence
Michael Robertson’s hands were shaking. As the spotlight followed him to the stage, the crowd behind him exploded into applause. At the age of 19, Robertson had just won his first national award for flash animation. He would only graduate as an animator the following year, but his path of success was already lit. Wildly talented and incredibly cool, Robertson was short of only one thing: confidence.
“Being a creative, it’s natural to be hyper-critical of your own work,” Robertson says. Climbing the Loeries stage in 2005, surrounded by some of the best creatives in the industry, showed Robertson how stepping up in his field was within his reach. “It helped me with confidence to push through,” he says. Fresh out of college, Robertson established his own animation company, Toon53 Productions. In the decade since, he’s honed his work into the seemingly effortless craft it is today. “I got into animation when I found out I could make cartoon characters come to life,” Robertson says. But he doesn’t just electrify his creations – Robertson moulds a world of imagination no other art form can. His videos now leap off the screen in vivid colour and striking motion before the eyes of almost half a billion YouTube viewers.
With his eye for detail, Robertson has collaborated with renowned artists like David Guetta, Aloe Blacc, and Marshmello, and brands like Vevo and Disney. Despite putting the nation’s creative talents on the map, he has his eyes on a bigger picture. “I hope I’m able to pave the way for others,” Robertson says. Even though his work is internationally recognised, he knows he’s just a drop in the pool of our country’s talent – and he’s swimming with pride. “I think it’s time that South Africans acknowledge their worth,” Robertson says.