Today we’d like to introduce you to Travis Ivey, aka HANK.
Travis, aka, please kick things off for us by telling us about yourself and your journey so far.
Born 1978 in Cheyenne I am a 5th generation Wyoming native. I identified as an artist early on, and at the age of 18 set up a studio in my first apartment. I was an avid skateboarder and followed those aesthetics, which would ultimately lead to a love affair with graffiti and mixed media collage. A few years later I enrolled at the University of Wyoming hoping to pursue a degree in sociology, but found myself in the sculpture lab and majoring in fine art.
In 2004 I felt the desire to create work about the landscape. Growing up in a liberal college town in a very conservative state, I was prejudiced against “western art” as it was the only style you could find at the “high-end” galleries in Wyoming at the time. I was young and ignorant and was only interested in seeking the “Avant Garde” or what I believed was Avant Garde. However, the sometimes-desolate beauty surrounding me was too powerful to ignore, and I was at a point in my academic career where I felt the need to rebel. So, I rebelled by embracing the kitsch and sublime and started painting western landscapes. It was really my time spent photographing trains covered in graffiti that lead me into the landscapes I would become obsessed with. I thought how ironic it would be for my nom de plume (HANK), which I established for writing graffiti, to also function as my landscape-painting alter ego. Having this alternate persona at my disposal gave me permission to create a wide variety of work and to never let any predispositions to get in the way of inspiration.
Having the two seemingly disparate bodies of work has been amazing for my productivity and provided me with a platform to discuss image and identity, and hopefully break some of stereotypes of being an artist.
Can you give our readers some background on your art?
I primarily make work of and about the landscape. It’s a subject I’ve been unable to ignore, and I continue to find an incredible amount of satisfaction in my research. My oil paintings are a mix of industry and the sublime beauty of the American West. I want my paintings to show the ecological impacts of our civilization along with the beauty of the landscape, in hopes of drawing attention to the reality of the unsustainable “boom and bust” cycle of the West.
My collages range in material from empty cigarette packages to security envelopes. I enjoy collecting and I find it very relaxing to sort and organize these materials. Collage gives me a lot of freedom to abstract images as well as ideas. I feel the intrinsic desire to repurpose objects discarded by our civilization. At the moment I’m bridging the gap between my paintings and my collage, using a variety of industrial tape to create abstracted landscapes.
What responsibility, if any, do you think artists have to use their art to help alleviate problems faced by others? Has your art been affected by issues you’ve concerned about?
Artists play so many different roles, and I personally don’t think the roles have changed much since the camera was invented. We are here to express ourselves in so many different ways for a variety of reasons and sometimes for no discernable reason at all. I do admire those who make a conscious effort to draw awareness to social and environmental issues, but still see the necessity for beauty and entertainment. My work is often inspired by environmental issues because they are the issues that will change the landscape and in turn affect my experiences and how I express them.
What’s the best way for someone to check out your work and provide support?
I have several pieces on display at Found:RE Hotel in downtown Phoenix. This fall, I will be in a two-person show at Eric Fischl Gallery from Ocrober 8th – October 25th. The Eric Fischl Gallery is located at Phoenix College near 11th Ave and Earl Dr. Please visit www.travisivey.com to see past work or make an appointment to visit my studio at Mesa Artspace Lofts.
- Website: www.travisivey.com
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: travis_aka_hank