Real Talk with Travis Millard: Exclusive InterviewJuxtapoz // Monday, 03 May 2010
You're a well-know illustrator and graphic designer for the urban art community. What's your background? Talk briefly about your choice of medium and how you ended up where you are now?
Well shoot, let's see…I grew up in very suburban Olathe, Kansas. My mom was a self-taught crafty artist and encouraged drawing to keep me occupied. I remember discovering a pile of 70s Mad Magazines in my uncle's drawer, which probably creased my brain at a young age. I was kind of a sponge for anything my parents found offensive. Old Freak Brothers comics, grotesque skateboard graphics, R-rated comedies, horror movies, punk tapes, rap tapes, bad heavy metal, etc. These childhood fascinations stuck with me, and for better or worse carved a loose path to wherever I'm at today.
You've been an artist for a long time now, and lived in LA's Echo Park for some time. What do you think of the current art scene and where do you see contemporary art headed?
The Scene is strong! The Scene is barreling headlong into oblivion with a devil-may-care attitude! Do not get in the Scene's way lest you may receive a serious wowing to the dome! The Scene is headed for the throat of contemporary art and all it's future holdings. Furthermore, I have no idea where art is headed. I'm not even sure where I'm headed half the time.
Needless to say, your work is often humorous. What inspires you? Do you aim to make your viewers laugh?
It hurts my feelings when people laugh at my work. Stop laughing! *(Travis runs from the room sobbing wildly)
You have stated that your artistic process is "thematically cathartic." Explain this further.
Whoa, I said that? Must've been on some roll when I blurted that one out. Was I drinking? I tend to get loose lipped after a couple beers...sorry about that.
You and fellow artist Mel Kadel have been a couple for years. You both maintain your own distinctive styles, but are also both very involved in the same artistic community. How does your relationship with a fellow respected artist affect or influence your work?
It's an energy that I think we share together, sort of encouraging and informing whatever we're working on. I've seen Mel's work grow in big leaps over the years, and I think that's pushed my stuff into new territory. We don't tend to hover over each other too much though. Her best influence over me is probably prying me out of the chair for a walk or ping-pong.
How do you approach commercial versus fine versus personal work?
I'm generally futzing and distracted on a handful of projects at a time, then some paid work comes in and I get really motivated to blast out those personal things like I've never had any time to work on them. Somehow the juggle of work with parameters builds steam with what I'm doing on my own and everything gels at once. Generally the companies that connect with me aren't looking for something too far from my particular universe…and if it's not a good fit, I have enough to futz on.
Any big plans or shows lined up for the rest of 2010?
No big plans! Just rolling out a pile of little plans that could snowball by Fall if things go well. So watch out Winter 2010!
More information about Travis Millard lives online at www.fudgefactorycomics.com