Christopher “Titus” Strickland, better known as Twitch streamer and professional gamer FyrBorne, is a tattoo artist from Tennessee who doesn’t remember life without video games. His rise to fame began with EA’s Battlefield 4.
Battlefield 4 released in 2013 and is now in the annals of gaming history, so FyrBorne has turned his skills onto new games like Valorant and Call of Duty: Warzone. Using his Twitch stream, FyrBorne has amassed a dedicated following of fellow gamers and used his powers for good, working on behalf of charities. Between gaming and charities, FyrBorne works out of Ambition Tattoos in his hometown of Tennessee.
PopAxiom spent some time talking with Fyrborne about his work as an artist, charities, and his rise as a gamer and streamer.
FyrBorne’s earliest memories include holding a controller with eyes locked on pixel characters. “I’ve been playing games since I can remember. One of my first memories is owning the original Nintendo Entertainment System when I was around four or five, and playing Super Mario Brothers 2.”
Many games later, FyrBorne’s hand-eye coordination, timing, and strategic thinking harmonized into potential gaming excellence. “The first game I was exceptionally good at was Rainbow Six: Vegas. I’ve been playing Rainbow Six titles since they first came out. Rainbow Six was the first one I got to sit down and spend a lot of time on. I’ve always been a first-person shooter player.”
Going from gamer to ‘gamer making a living from gaming’ wasn’t precisely a designed career path. “It was surprising to learn I could do this for a living. I didn’t realize it could be a job until I started working with EA.”
EA or Electronic Arts is one of the largest video game publishers on the planet. How did FyrBorne get together with the company that makes Star Wars and FIFA? “I started working with EA because of my rank on a leaderboard for Battlefield 4. I was the #1 Designated Marksman Rifle user in the world.”
FyrBorne’s ranking started an upward spiral of new connections and opportunities. “I ended up being interviewed by a local community for Battlefield, which got me introduced to a competitive team for a bunch of games and eventually introduced me to the community manager for Battlefield. I was invited to start streaming on their twitch channel. I had my own, but I was new and terrible at it.”
Becoming Number One
Leaderboards are standard now in most video games in some form or another. For Battlefield 4, EA featured a detailed ranking of players. “You could check to see where you were against other people in comparison to your town, as well as to all around the world. Their website was always keeping track of successful fights with pistols or rifles.”
FyrBorne was on board with Battlefield 4 from the time it was in beta. At that time, he explains, ��… the marksman rifle was hands-down the worst series of guns in the game.”
It didn’t deter FyrBorne from playing with the worst gun in the game. “I started playing with them and thought, ‘Wow, these are bad I’m going to just use these.’ It was funny. I would get messages from players saying, ‘How are you beating me with that thing?’”
FyrBorne’s mastery of the marksman rifle is a story that includes a mysterious rival from a far-off land. “I was racing a guy in Russia for #1 in the world. For three or four months in a row. We went back and forth for a long time.”
Learning To Stream
Streaming is the place where social media stars are made, but it takes the proper mix of skills to get it right. “When I first started, I was not very good at it. I was playing on streams specifically to show off my skill level. I thought ‘This would get me through. No one wants to hear what I have to say, they want to see what I can do.’ So, I streamed from one to nobody for months.”
FyrBorne was “… putting out good gameplay …” but the viewer numbers weren’t climbing the leaderboard so-to-speak. “I had someone join my channel, and they were talking to me, so I spoke to them while still playing the game. I realized more people wanted to talk. My strong suit is my ability to talk constantly and play decently.”
As FyrBorne’s fame rose in the virtual world, he made strides to help in the real world. “My connection with charities started when I started working with the competitive [gaming] community. One guy left to go work with St. Jude. We started talking about his work there. I thought it was cool, so I joined one of their charity events.”
One year later, Fyrborne was at St. Jude’s Memphis campus for a special event, the St. Jude Play Live Summit.
At the summit, there’s lots of formal talk about St. Jude’s current state and its future. But FyrBorne found a deeper connection with the people on a personal level. “I got to meet some of the kids and see all the stuff they do there. That was the most profound experience to see all these people working towards the same goal. I’ve been working with them ever since.”
Charities are now as much a part of his life as tattoos and gaming. “So, my goal is to try and grow a strong community and continue to do more for St. Jude, and other charities I work with like Stackup, a military support charity.”
Body & Art
FyrBorne’s covered in tattoos and creates artwork on people when he’s not gaming. Who inspires his artwork? “Some of the artists who inspire me are mostly out in California. One of my favorites is Carlos Torres, he’s a black and grey realism artist. Another fellow named Mike Dorsey, he’s up in Ohio and did a piece on my shin. He does a lot of traditional Japanese work. Up in Detroit is Bob Tyrel.”
FyrBorne is a living canvass of colorful and beautiful art. But the motivation to start getting tattoos did not come from a desire to be that. “One of my biggest fears in the world is needles. So, I started getting tattoos to try and beat my fear of needles. It hasn’t worked. I’m fine with tattoos but piercings and hypodermic needles, oh man, I pass out.”
There’s a lot of intricate work on FyrBorne’s body, but what was his first tattoo? “My first tattoo was dragon scales on my spine. It was not my smartest move. Man, it was rough.”
If you ask him how many tattoos he has, FyrBorne will say, “… one. I’m just one big tattoo. If I had to guess, it would be 40 to 45 deep. All I have left is the back of my thighs, my stomach, and my lower back if I do not include my head.”
FyrBorne is currently killing suckers in PvP (Player-Versus-Player) content in two games: Valorant and Call of Duty: Warzone. What does he do to relax after a night of streaming and competitive gaming? “I play League of Legends every night after I stream. It makes me want to pull my hair out if I had any. It’s just like Valorant, it’s a very technically difficult game, and I play it because it gives me a challenge in a game mode I don’t play nearly as much as shooters.”
FyrBorne’s charity work has gone on strong during the global pandemic. He’s been raising money for St. Jude all the month of May by “… playing Minecraft or eating those nasty jellybeans, the Beanboozle ones, peppers, hot sauce, anything that will entertain people.”
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Thanks to Christopher “FyrBorne” Strickland and Impact24 PR
for making this interview possible.
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