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Art & Life with Travis Sparks

Today we’d like to introduce you to Travis Sparks.

Travis, please kick things off for us by telling us about yourself and your journey so far.
My interest in art started with a trip to the DMA in Dallas, Texas- where I grew up. As a kid, my parents took me to the museum and I stumbled upon “That Gentleman” by Andrew Wyeth. Never before had I realized that painting was more than just a fix for boredom. I understood it could move people in the same way as a beautiful song, and I immediately knew I wanted to create something of that excellence and quality. I haven’t done it yet, so it hangs above my head as some impossible goal for me to aim at. After high school I was getting into trouble, involving myself in drugs, alcohol, and toxic people.

I had to hold off college, and in those few years I spent without a consistent home, rehabilitating and getting as far away from my hometown as I could- I learned and grew my identity. I moved to California in 2014 and attended Laguna College of Art and Design where I would learn not only the fundamentals of traditional picture making, but invaluable lessons about relationships, and individuality. There, I found people who also had impossible goals floating above their heads and were so incredibly close to reaching them it was inspiring. I’ve recently graduated and have been working on many freelance projects and personal paintings.

In each, I draw from memories of those hard times in Texas, my failed relationships, my drug use, but also the beauty I find in it all, and the beauty I find in people. Accidentally, I have become mainly a figurative artist. I’m never really happy with the results I get, nothing is ever equal to what I see in my head or moves me like Wyeth did as a boy, but I continue to try and it’s probably the only thing keeping me alive. I’m always challenging my perspective and wanting to change my work to keep it fresh- this has become my biggest struggle because there is no formula to follow. I know only that I must continue to be true and honest with myself and create work that comes from within if I want to make something worthwhile.

Can you give our readers some background on your art?
My artwork borders the abstract and the real. I focus mainly on paintings of the figure, animals and nature- but not in the way someone might normally see them. I want to paint what I feel a subconscious might take away from a subject, and that requires more creative thinking. I use symbolism and expression. I want every choice of the painting to have the potential for meaning, from the colors I choose, to the strange brushstroke abstracting part of a rendered face. I love the subjective nature of art and play to it by giving the viewer’s subconscious room to form connections. Much like Rothko’s purposeful voids of color and space, something in my work is not completely telling the story. The viewer gets the chance to project their own life experience into the picture- or at least I’d like for them to have that chance.

In your view, what is the biggest issue artists have to deal with?
The world has become very small in such a short amount of time, our generation is connected to each other like never before. I believe in a sea of voices, finding your own can be difficult. I find myself shutting off my phone for a weekend or so to really find inspiration from within when I need to. Not that looking at others for inspiration is bad, it’s just not honest to speak someone else’s voice.

What’s the best way for someone to check out your work and provide support?
Instagram has become the main showcase for what I’m working on. I sometimes show in group shows in various galleries, but haven’t been exclusive to any yet. I make most of my earnings from selling directly from Instagram, so if anyone is interested in purchasing something- that’s the place to do it.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
“Eclipse”- charcoal and acrylic. “Lost”- charcoal and acrylic. “Lord of Cruelty”- Oil on canvas. “Revelation 21:4” oil on board. “Jonnaray”- oil on board. “Chapman Rager”- oil on board. “The Fairy Tree”- charcoal and acrylic. “Katie”- oil on canvas.

Getting in touch: SDVoyager is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

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