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Home FEATURES Travis Millard Interview

Travis Millard Interview
Written by Trippe   
Sunday, 16 April 2006 04:12
Travis lives in LA and is the man behind The Fudge Factory Comics. He and Michael Sieben are about to come out with a book through Volcom entitled Hitten Switches. Be on the look out for it. Age? Location? Preferred sexual position?
30. Echo Park, LA, CA. Under the butt.

You and Michael Sieben on some a collab book? What?s the deal with that?
About 3 years ago Sieben sent me a stack of unfinished drawings and asked me to just doodle on them slowly, start some new ones of my own, and mail them back. So I think I held on to them for a couple months and eventually got them mailed out. The same with Mike, and as we started passing them back and forth, they started refining, and instead of starting hundreds of new ones, we just worked the same ones over and over, for about 2 years. And really with no other plan, other than to maybe make a little zine of about 100 or so. Then Sieben's bud Mike Aho, who works at Volcom saw it, and showed it to the company. Before I knew it the thing started to become kind of a strange monster. Volcom is printing something like 5000 of them, and doing it up real nice. they want to send us around to do supporting art shows for it in LA, NY, Austin and Tokyo. I think it is pretty wildly ridiculous and exciting. Mike Aho is really responsible for pushing into the hands of people at Volcom, and Ethan, Marty, Ben, and the rest of the Volcom art crew has helped to turn it into this thing. I still haven't seen it yet. but I think it comes out sometime in May.

Fish told me that you and Mel Kadel work well together. What makes you two click?
I do click with Mel Kadel. We like to drink beer and draw and all that faggy arty couply stuff. But she's really funny and a righteous person who does not stand for bullshit. I really admire her. She gets after it. We live in a log cabin in Echo Park together with a cat named Nern.

Fish also asked me to ask you about your Michael Jackson zine and how you worked on it during the trial. What happened?
Before the trial went down and all that, I guess it must've been, like spring 2004 maybe??Tthere were all these allegations popping up about him, and everyday it was something new and scandalous and I started thinking about Michael Jackson, and who he is a generational international pop icon, and I thought about the crime he was being accused of, and the number of times it was coming around already. And I started thinking about celebrity justice and wondering what they could possibly do with a guy this famous, accused of a crime this heinous. So I was on the IM with my pal Brock, and I started chatting him up a little about it, and as a joke said something like "Michael Jackson in Exile" and Brock shrieked "do that!". So I did the first drawing, of him standing in the courtroom, awaiting sentencing. With no idea where it would go, I imagined what would naturally have to come next. And that's the way I continued to progress with it, totally lost as to the next frame, or even where the hell it was going. And because I was so lost with it, I would put it down for long periods of time and then pick it up again and work on nothing else but that for long periods of time. And as the trial began and things started to come to light, and articles came out, (one report I saw actually suggested MJ would spend out the rest of his days on Brando Island), I got really spooked that this trial was catching up with my imagination, and often I just thought about scrapping it altogether. But for some reason I had a spark, made a final push, and after all was said and done, the book, strangely, was fully completed the day the verdict came in. I remember it being really tense right before it was announced, because I thought, if he is convicted, it would be a very sad state of affairs, and very bad for my book. Either way I think I was nervous.

If I were to come to LA for a visit, where would you take me? What stuff would we do?
We'd probably hit St. Vincent de Paul's junk warehouse, grab a taco at the truck and head back to my place to exchange massages. Ha. No I'm just kidding. We wouldn't get tacos.

Van hand tattoos?
My brother Brett got a van I drew in one of his books tattooed on his right hand a couple years ago, and he got it on there to cover a scar that had been a sore on him for a decade. Our good friend Noah Moore did the ink work, and Brett told me that when he got that van on there, it was like it lifted the scar and replaced it with a new beginning. ...That's not what he said, I mean that's what I took from it. And the next time I was in kansas I had Noah ink an arbitrary van drawing on to my right hand too. It's brother stuff. Check it.

Tell me about your interns. Which one's your favorite?
haha.. I was getting really swamped, and I needed massive amounts of hand-folding and stapling done, and I wanted to get someone who knew what they were doing to help out maybe, for like, beer and pizza and zines. So I posted a note on my news section asking for willing young pupils interested in the ancient unpaid art of small run publishing. I got several yahoos writing in, but Andy Michelsen was the best of all. That dude would drive his beat up Beetle, 45 minutes from Covina in traffic hell and sit folding books and watching dvds for HOURS. He would even bring his brother and best friends to get in on the action. He never asked for anything in return and still shows nothing but total gratitude and devotion. It's really special. I've never seen anything like him.

Acting career as a guitar jock???
Oh fuck. You aren't supposed to ask about this man! shhheeeeaatt. alright. Well, when I was doing comics for Spin's last page in like, 2001, I guess the editor's figured I was a little hammy and knew I play guitar, ... So they asked me if I would fly out to some city and audition to be Limp Bizkit's guitar player, and sorta document the process. So I put on some eye liner, and interviewed kids in the freezing ass parking lot of a Guitar Center in Arvada, Colorado for like 8 hours while I waited to audition. Then when my time finally came to try out, I just destroyed the amplifier and the guitar and knocked over some coffee and only took 20 seconds of my 60 second audition time. I kind of got pushed by one of the guys on the way out of the little audition room and triumphantly announced my victorious selection as the new guitar player for Limp Bizkit to the room full of awaiting applicants who were all very pissed at me. The article came out with a photo of my hotmail address on my application and I got hounded by some violent hate mail and excitable band sluts trying to make a connection. It was all a pretty horrible mistake. Thanks for asking.

These questions come from Jeremy Fish. He's got another good one: What's the deal with South Park being born in your old house and what's the deal with the vicious raccoons that live there?
AH YES! I met Jeremy with Sieben when they did the 13 Wheeler show down the street from us. Me and Mel lived at a spot in Silverlake, that our landlord told us was the spot they made South Park before they struck it rich into a bigger place. There was this mysterious Keebler Elf kinda tree that swallowed the view out on our porch. It was the brutal feeding grounds for some seriously vicious raccoons. You could hear the little squirrels and tree rats shrieking and drowning in their blood curdled screams at the teeth of the snarling raccoons. It was some of the scariest nightmare soundtrack shit I have ever heard. I'm glad we don't live there anymore.

How do you pay the bills?
Any way I can without feeling like an asshole.

Any advice for artists out there dealing with taxes?
Save ALL your receipts. How's LA treating you? How did you end up there?
LA is pretty good. and pretty horrible. I have no idea why I'm here. but I'm glad I did.

The reason I asked how you ended up in LA was that Fish said there was some sort of good story behind it. Is there or was Fish high when he said to ask you?
Fish probably was stoned, but I think I know what he was getting at. In Feb 2003 I was living alone in a very expensive apartment in Metro Bushwick, Brooklyn. My account was nearly dry and I was nervously considering my next step, when I got a call from my friend Brock in LA who strongly suggested I move in with him at "The Compound", (a swept up former crack den -cum- post art school commune with 11 other roommates in East LA). The rent was incredibly cheap, and I figured I had nothing to lose. I rented a van, cleared all my accounts and drove out of Brooklyn 3 days later. I made a stop over in Kansas to see my family, and bought a cheap mini-van from an honest to goodness soccer mom, who made sure to point out to me that is was indeed a soccer mom van. So I painted over the Champaign color with a bucket of hardware store bbq grill/rot iron fence paint, and some very large skulls on both sides, and left for The Compound. My time at the Compound is a whole other chapter, but I'll save that one for another fudge factory fecal face feature.

Stuff you're excited about at the minute?
I'm so excited about the Hitten Switches book coming up with Sieben my heart murmurs. Honest.

When not art making what do you like to do?
Sleep, but that gets boring.

Coming down the line?
Mel and I have a split show coming up together at the Richard Heller Gallery on June 3rd. Narrow Books will be releasing a comprehensive 250+ page hardcover book called "Hey Fudge" sometime this summer. Heading back to Kansas for Grandpa Bob's funeral tomorrow morning.

For more on Travis, check his site: fudgefactorycomics.com

{moscomment}

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contact FF

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For some reason I thought it would be a good idea to quit my job, move out of my house, leave everything and travel again. So on August 21, 2013 I pushed a canoe packed full of gear into the headwaters of the Mississippi River in Lake Itasca, Minnesota, along with four of my best friends. Exactly 100 days later, I arrived at a marina near the Gulf of Mexico in a sailboat.


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"Portrait of a Slugger 19" by Hiro Kurata

Beautiful painting by NYC based Hiro Kurata now on display at SF's FFDG through April 19th as part of the group show "Salt the Skies".


"Veins of Octulen" by Curiot at FFDG

"Salt the Skies" opened on the 21st at FFDG and features this great piece by Mexico City based Curiot (Favio Martinez) whose sold out 2013 show Age of Omuktlans ran at FFDG. His forthcoming solo show is slated for March 2015.


Rome's Alice Pasquini ~Mural+

Rome based multimedia artist Alice Pasquini emailed over a recent mural completed in the historic working class neighborhood of Rome called Tufello.


Project M/3 in Berlin curated by NUART

BERLIN --- Project M is a temporary art project with the objective to improve the neighborhood, to push creativity and to connect people. At regular intervals Urban Nation with director Yasha Young invites a group of internationally reclaimed contemporary urban artists to re-design the facade and shop windows of a prominent residential building in Berlin, while it is being reconstructed.


John French with Hasselblad by Lola Dupre

"John French with Hasselblad", photo collage/ hand cut paper on wooden panel, by Lola Dupre which will be part of tomorrow's opening of "Salt the Skies" at FFDG in San Francisco. 2277 Mission St. (6-9pm) - RSVP here.


"Salt the Skies" at FFDG Opening Fri, Mar 21st

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Brian Barneclo's 225' Food Chain Mural

San Francisco based Brian Barneclo was commissioned in 2006 to paint a HUGE mural on the side of Foods Co on Shotwell at 14th Streets. After some time on its own, it got pretty taxed by misc graffiti and pigeon shit.


A short documentary following the late artist, Shawn Whisenant

Shawn Whisenant is a born and raised San Francisco Bay Area artist whose art can be found lurking in the streets or galleries and museums across the USA, Australia, and Europe. He has been working on the streets of the Bay Area since the mid 1990's, where his images continue to endure on walls, mailboxes, and other surfaces around the city. He enjoys making books and stickers, taking photos, painting signs, and moving about in the city’s shadows. In the streets and galleries, his work has seen many different forms. From rare-hand crafted books, to skateboard films and a signature pair of Osiris shoes, his creating doesn’t end with painting. RIP Shawn Whisenant.


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