My guest post for Adler Integrated’s blog. Check it out here.
Listening to: My mind turning far too much…
Travis Millard is a funny guy. I read an article about him in the LA Times Magazine and was fascinated. He runs a site called Fudge Factory Comics, once worked for Spin Magazine and lives in a weird log cabin with his girlfriend, artist Mel Kadel. Travis has a book coming out sometime this year, by the name of ‘Hey Fudge.’ He is a constant creator of work for Vans, Bueno Skateboards, and Volcom. Millard’s work is dependably witty and irreverent. His pieces are multi layered and repetitive, both quiet and contemplative in form and screaming at you, beating you senselessly over the head until you get the idea, after which you start laughing hysterically.
While a lot of artists have a tendency to elaborate on the state of world affairs, or externalize their internal struggles, Millard seems to be mainly influenced by what is going on in his daily life. After tracking him down, I asked him a few questions about his work, his work partners, tattoos and that notorious Echo Park cabin he lives in.
How long have you been drawing? Really, what I mean is, how did you get started?
My mom would always keep my brother and I occupied with a pen and paper to keep us from strangling each other in public. I still employ the same technique today and I haven’t even strangled a single person.
You and Mel Kadel live and occasionally work together, how does that work?
Mel who? Oh… Kadel… yeah, she’s cool. For the most part Mel and I are working on our drawing and projects individually, but bounce questions and advice back and forth a lot. We’ve done a fair amount of collaborative drawings together, but mostly we don’t get all scribbly on each other’s stuff.
Are you tired of people asking you about the cabin you two live in in Echo Park? If not, tell us about it.
A guy got shot in the face in our doorway in the 80s. I heard Steely Dan lived here. It used to be a Hells Angels camp. Our kitchen is a stagecoach they built onto the cabin in the 20s. Hemingway used to finish novels in the cabin across from us. It smells like an old stove. It’s Kind of a weird spot.
How many tattoos do you have? Did you do all of the artwork for them?
Just the iridescent tiger-face on my face, visible by black light only…and the van on my hand. (Which he actually has. Apparently his brother and frequent collaborator Brett had a van Travis drew for one of Brett’s books tattooed on one of his hands a couple of years ago, to cover up a scar. And so, the story goes, the next time Travis was in Kansas, he had the tattoo artist do the drawing on one of his hands as well.)
How many hours would you say you spend drawing everyday (hey, that rhymes!)?
Hey, nice rhyme. You should be a rapper. “I draw a whole lot, with a coffee shot, and a ‘smoke’ of some pot that my Grandma bought, and she don’t get caught, cuz her legs are long!!!”
You once worked for Spin Magazine, doing comics for the rag. Do you have any interesting stories about your time there?
Yeah, let’s see…interesting stories, there are so many… the office leg wrestling tournaments were a lot of fun, the chicken fights, the pie eating contests, craft hour, nap time, dancing around the may pole…man, I miss those guys. We all still summer in the Riviera together though.
You tend to do a lot of collaborating. Do you have any new projects coming up or being released?
I’ve been putting some comics together for the upcoming Volcomix book, and collaborating with some musician friends, taking their drawings and plunking them into a comic-like form. Eddie and Tom from Nebula did one. Ariel Pink did one with me, and putting together one with Jerod and Coady of Big Business. Other favorite collabs: the “Hitten Switches” project with Michael Sieben, and little zines with Mel and my brother Brett.
Who are your artistic influences? Your general influences, what else besides visual art influences you/your work?
Gallagher’s pioneering book, “The Watermelon Years” was very inspirational. Sugar Ray’s powerful documentary, “A Time to Live”. I lift a lot of weights and just think about things. Bungee jumping is very centering, peaceful. And street drugs!
What would you say the goal of your art is? Are there any specific statements you’re trying to make with your work?
Just trying to score a goal … to say something I guess.
Si Scott: Illustrator, designer, typographer
Si Scott is among the most notable of the freelance design creatives today. Very much in demand, his work has appeared in Massiv, Computer Arts Magazine, advertising for Casio and The Royal Academy of Arts’ 2006 Summer Exhibition. Drawing since he was very young, Si attended Leeds College of Art and Design where he developed his love for designing his own typefaces. He then went on to Buckinghamshire Chilterns University where he began to expand his methods of expressing himself through graphic design. He has held posts with a number of exclusive London-based studios, including Frost Designs and is currently a part-time lecturer at Leeds College. His work can be found at http://www.siscottdesign.com and http://www.somagallery.co.uk.
Where’d you get such an interesting first name?
My first name is short for Simon – not that interesting really I know. Everybody always calls me Si so it’s just second nature to call myself it. There’s quite a funny story though – My Mum and Dad agreed on Edward Benjamin Scott for my name. My Dad went to register my name on his own and called me Simon instead! No wonder they got divorced!
How would you describe your working process?
My work process normally begins with an idea a thought around whatever it is that I am planning to do and then I generally have an idea in my head of what it is I want to create. Normally though things change as I work on them and things just happen.
It’s almost as if the type bursts open and the contents come flowing out in the form of the line drawings. How did this style come about?
I don’t really know how this style came about – I think it is may be down to both my love of type and drawing and trying to do something that is a happy juxtaposition of the two. I like the idea of doing something quite traditional like hand drawn type and doing something with it that is more contemporary!
I’ve read that music is one of your biggest influences. What have you been listening to lately? Are there songs that you find you come back to over and over again?
I love music and apart from Design it is the one constant in my life that I never get bored with. There’s always something else to discover that you haven’t heard before (which is like design in many ways – it’s always changing and new things happening!). I think my dream job would be to direct a music video or something like that for a band or musician that I really like. There’s too much music to list what I like and I would just frustrate myself by forgetting things and then wanting to change it later – so I’ll just say there’s too many to mention.
What question, besides the standard ones you’re always asked, do you wish someone would ask about your work?
I honestly can’t think of any question that I wish somebody would ask me! I’m just quite chuffed that people want to ask me questions about my work anyway!
What would you suggest to someone who wants to take up your craft, schooling, apprenticeship, studying and practicing on their own?
I saw a quote on an Anthony Burrill poster which read ‘WORK HARD AND BE NICE TO PEOPLE’ which really struck a cord with me for some reason! I think it sums up the best way to be in whatever you choose to do! I don’t think there’s any one way of getting into design you everybody’s story is different – just stick at it I guess!
Interview by d/visible contributor Courtney Walker Visit her blog.