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.