We continue our Friends of LITA Series this week with Los Angeles based artist, and our friend, Travis Millard. Travis is an extremely talented dude who has done work for The Get Up Kids, Vans, Volcom, Foundation Skateboards, and multiple books and zines. He is also responsible for the mind-blowing etchings on our recent reissues of Roky Erickson‘s “The Evil One” and “Don’t Slander Me“. Below you can read our Q&A with Travis, where we discussed skateboard art, pancakes and Steely Dan.
1. We are all big fans of your work and really loved the etchings you did for our reissues of Roky Erickson’s The Evil One and Don’t Slander Me. What was your process like when working on the art for Roky?
Thanks! It was a big honor to do it. I’m a long time fan of Roky’s music, and those two records are especially haunting. I started by just revisiting both albums, listening to the lyrics and drawing from there. There’s definitely no lack of evocative imagery to work with, if anything it was a challenge to narrow down my selections. I came up with illustrations for Creature with the Atom Brain, Bloody Hammer, Starry Eyes, Two Headed Dog, and Roky just sitting on a demon’s shoulder. I knew it would come down to Roky’s approval, so I tossed all those in a pile and hoped something would jive with him.
2. You do a lot of stuff in the skateboard world. How has skateboard/surf culture and art influenced your work?
I grew up skating parking lots in Olathe, Kansas and obsessed over the graphics of Jim Phillips and VCJ at a young age. My brain was just malleable enough to sear their images into my consciousness and forever crease the gray matter.
3. How would you describe yourself in terms of your art?
I think my drawings are a reflection of myself, for better or worse. Like myself, my drawings are grotesque, loud & quiet, occasionally sweet, often funny, and sleep in a box.
4. We heard you live in a really old cabin in Echo Park. Do you have any crazy/spooky stores about the place?
Yeah, it’s a pretty creaky old shack built in the late teens. The kitchen is a stagecoach we heard pulled up around then and was built on to over time. No right angles in any corner. It’s one of eight cabins tucked on the backside of Red Hill. We heard Hemingway finished a novel in one, Bukowski lived in one, and the cabin next to ours was the HQ for Black Sparrow Press, Hank’s original publisher. Rumor has it “Ricky Don’t Lose That Number” was written in another. An old neighbor told us there was a murder in our place in the early 80′s. We’re cool with the ghosts.
5. We love your pancake morning series, it’s arguably the best thing on Instagram. Tell us about it, how did it come about? My personal favorite is Slimer from Ghostbusters, Freddy Krueger and the Tapatio guy…. I have to ask though, do you eat the pancakes?
Ah ~ thank you.. I really don’t like eating pancakes as much as I like making them. They get caught in my beard and I smell syrup all day. It began with Gavin McInnes heckling me about drawing fat fingers on my characters on Instagram. I’d been following the pancakes he makes for his kids and posts to #pancakemorning on Sundays, so I decided to hone my skills and beat him at his own game. I challenged him to a joust in May and the battle rages on.
6. Before I let you go, can you tell us about what you’ve been working on these days?
I’ve been doing a weird fun drawing show with a few friends on the internet called “Drawing Stories”. It’s a slowly entertaining glimpse into the process of telling a non-fiction story while doing an illustration based on the subject. We shot 6 episodes last year and started releasing them a couple months ago. It all started as a volatile experiment, but we came together and shot another grip of stories last weekend. Things are getting better and I’m excited about it.