March 5, 2012
Back in the 80′s and 90′s, the world of design and illustration was only but what you could read in books (the internet was kinda’ starting out back then). There were only a hand full of designers and illustrators from Australia that made it big on a world scale, and from that spawned one of the best illustrators of our generation… Travis Price. We were lucky enough to catch up with him to talk about his career, motivations, goals and super powers that have lead him to his success today.
Wasap Trav… how are ya’ today?
I’m good….went for a skate this morning….so mind is all clear and ready to go.
You know it’s cool to see someone from our own backyard do such amazing work for people the like of Def Jam, Sony, Intel, Virgin, Telstra and so many more… what are you on?
Mainly instant Coffee, the finer things in life are wasted on me. No I must confess The Jacky Winter Group (my agents) http://jackywinter.com/ have been an integral part of working with most of those names. The Def Jam stuff happened because of the 1Two/Popular Demand http://populardemandbrand.com/clothing guys over in LA. I’ve really enjoyed working with them.
How long have you been doing this for again?
I’m just trying to think…I finished my design degree in 97 but branched out to concentrate on illustration work in 2007… designing was good but I’m loving the illustration life!
You might have been asked this a million and one times, but we find it interesting hearing it from different artists… how do you break down your creative process?
Is there a certain formula that you have when working on an illustration (client based or personal)? I do a lot of rough idea sketching in front of the TV at night, sometimes sketching the same thing over and over but slightly different. Once I’m happy with the sketch I then start researching colour palette and the styling of the illustration. For example if I was drawing a bear, do I want it be realistic, comic or cartoon style. When working for an advertising agency they normally have a clear direction of style and colour that they’re after.
Seldom do I create directly in vector/on the computer before a few roughs. If there’s enough time it’s nice to leave an illo for a day and reassess it.
This is going to sound weird but I can’t tell you how important a 1-2 hour walk is for clearing your mind, I try to do this a few times a week and I’ve been surprised with how much it’s helped with work.
3 years ago you started Mister Mista with your wife (Renee), how is that going? And what sparked the idea that started Mister Mista?
I always really liked the idea of working with Renee on a project and I’ve always loved Tshirts. When our son Oscar came along it was time to embark on a side project. A characters based kids label seemed the perfect fit.
On a personal and professional level it’s been great. I’ve learnt a lot and it’s pushed me to work quicker and make my own decisions. As a designer you can get used to an art director or client making the final decisions….it’s also been good for the folio!
You’ve worked on a million projects by now, but there’s gotta’ be one that, through the years, still stand as your favorite. Which one is it?
It would have to be my first commissioned work for Mambo. I grew up loving Mambo as a teenager and it was a bit of a defining moment when they wanted some of my designs….made me think “I might be good enough”. I look back and realize I wasn’t confident enough in my 20’s and I think it stunted my progress.
Coming off that, what are you currently working on? And have you got a long list of future projects you can share with your fans?
Ha Ha…. It’s been a nice start to 2012 doing work for Neff and helping out with new Melbourne label Oricle Accessories http://oricleintl.com/. Melbourne Label GTB will launch this year and you’ll see some of my design on tee’s.
UK designer toy label Dudebox will launch soon and you’ll see some of my work there, which is really exciting.
In regards to future projects, I’ll be working with LA label Popular Demand, FMX label Flightpath Materials, awesome kids label Furious Kingston, currently doing a fun colab illo with J3 Concepts and you’ll see my work on the Mambo 2012/13 summer range. Looking forward to knocking out some more fun tee design with Blindside. If time permits I’m hoping to self publish a Mister Mista book.
Speaking of future projects… you’ve not exhibited in a show for a while now. Any plans for one soon?
Yeah I’ve been a bit slack, Mister Mista and a young family have been taking up my spare time. I just took part in the SOYU Zodiac Project http://www.soyu.co.uk/ which I’m really happy with. Hoping to get involved with more group shows this year. Recently been playing with spray cans (but the skillz are still lacking Ha Ha).
Lets talk about your style for a moment. What inspired your cartoon/semi-realistic illustrative art?
I’ve only come to realise this but skateboard art of the 80-90’s has been a huge influence.
But saying that I’m always playing and tweaking and looking back at the 50s-60’s too….and watching cartoons with the kids.
Surely you would’ve looked up to someone from the illustration community when starting out. Who would he/she/they be and why did you like their style?
Back in the 90’s when I finished uni, websites were just starting to get up and you relied mainly on books…illustration wasn’t where it’s at today. When The Designers Republic started (they did the wipe out game) it was refreshing to see work I could easily relate to and enjoy. Rinzen were also up there, nice seeing a group of Oz guys & gal smashing it internationally! For me they were some of the first really pushing vector illustration!
Saying that, I grew up loving Jim Phillips’ work. If I created the screaming hand…I’d die a happy man!!!
If given a chance, who would you like to work with?
Woah that’s a hard one. I love doing tee’s…really loving some of the Aussie indie labels like Grand Scheme, Affends, Butter Goods…hint hint Ha Ha. But it would be great to do an animated music clip for Ween. Love Bare Hands …it would be crazy crazy weird! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_sDawXSHZ9E
Everyone has a life motto…
Day to day has been “Life’s as easy as you make it!”. In other words don’t get caught up in beefs with family, friends or just people in general.
But over the last few years I’ve taken on “Don’t follow your dreams, chase them!”
Like I said I look back on my 20’s and think I wasn’t proactive enough in chasing the type of work I wanted to do. In many ways I was just happy to have a design job and pay the bills.
If you were given the chance to swap industries, what would you do?
Ooooh that’s a hard one. I always wanted to work in a video store…..but that’s nearly a thing of the past. So it would have to be in streetwear/skate retail….I could look at that stuff all day. Maybe I could be Eddie Zammit’s (Tworld) Personal Assistant…as long as he takes me on the OS trips!
I’m sure there are heaps of kids these days that want to do what you do… have you got a few words to motivate them into taking that first step into the design world?
If you’re at uni or currently have a day job…do your own stuff out of hours…the work you’d like to do…self initiated briefs…and then get it online. Blogger and Behance are freeeeee!!! The more work you do the better you get! Also the dream job won’t land in your lap if you have 5 things in your folio.
On a lighter note, whats you’re favorite youtube video?
I’m hooked on this Del the Funky Homosapien freestyle . I had his Mr Dobalina on cassingle when I was young. Love his voice.
If you were a 70s porn star… what would your name be?
Ha Ha Ha……… Bobby Digital…..ah it’s already taken!!!
Super human powers are awesome. What would yours be if you had one?
Flying would be cool but I’m scared of heights. I think mind reading would be cool….find out peoples most inner secrets and then blackmail them….did I mention I’d be a super villain? Maybe I could answer a few lingering questions…Micheal Jackson, Lindi Chamberlain etc…A day with Gary Busey would be the end of me though.
What’s on heavy rotation in your stereo at the moment?
I can’t begin to explain how eclectic my music is. I seem to have dedicated months. November was Bob Dylan & the Pogues, December Lyrics Born but recently been revisiting the Beastie Boys and Money Mark.
To wrap things up, have you got anyone you’d like to thank for having supported you throughout your years of being an illustrator/designer?
I guess it goes without saying family and friends. Renee’s put up with my ramblings since I was 18. But on a professional level I’ve gotta thank Anna Walker and Matt Clare who I was lucky enough to share a studio with when working for Mecca Medialight with Nick McGee and the Wigley Brothers. Big thanks to the selfless Nick Morris for getting me in with Mambo all those years ago. Shout out to the Triiike boys Ben Sanders and Sam Harmer. Illustrators Australia are always great and the Jacky Winter team have been huge for me! And lastly, the over critical bunch I went to uni with!
Where can people find out more about you and what you do?
You can check out www.travisprice.com.au, to get to know me a little bit more you can follow me on facebook http://www.facebook.com/travis.price.illustration
Trav thank you again for taking time off to be with us today. We really appreciate your time and hopefully we’ll catch up soon in the near future. We wish you all the very best in your future endeavors and we look forward to all the awesome projects you have lined up for us.
Hey thanks guys, likewise from me. I love Fat Kids, love the fact there’s at least 5 posts every day!
words by Benny Teh