I first learned of Travis when he curated an exhibition at the Yellow Springs Tavern. The show, called Imaginative Realism, had works by Travis and 5 or 6 other artists.
Imaginative Realism is not only the name of that exhibition, it is also the name of the genre in which Travis excels. A recent article in Fine Art Connoisseur called Travis “one of the exceptional practitioners of imaginative realism.” To me, that means that Travis imagines fantastic beings that could not actually exist and then draws very realistic sketches of them.
Travis has his studio in one room of his home, in Dayton’s St. Anne’s Hill Historic District. In addition to holding a computer and a drawing board, the room is overflowing with items Travis has collected. There are books, skulls of all kinds, bones, teeth, more than 20 old cameras, action heroes, posters and more.
Travis exhibits in shows around the country but has found it difficult to get any work done while traveling. “My work is not large” he says. “Theoretically I should be able to draw almost anywhere. But I can’t do good work in a hotel room. I need to be here.”
I visited Travis because I needed a photo of him to post as ARTIST OF THE WEEK for my facebook page Dayton at Work and Play. Since the Travis Lewis facebook page is called The Haunted Pencil we tried a few fun shots using his pencil. I like people who take their work seriously, but as a photographer I prefer to work with people who don’t take themselves too seriously.
In the end, because it was Halloween week, we decided to use a pose with one of the studio’s skulls.