Interview with Fashion Photographer Travis Seale
We interviewed Travis Seale, an Arizona based artist who has gathered a loyal following on social media. As our first official Artist of the Month (a.k.a. #AOTM), we spoke to Travis about his work, inspirations, and were even given advice on how to overcome creative blocks. Read on to hear a little more about Travis and peek into his world as an artist and as a creative!
Who are you and what do you do?
Travis Seale: My name is Travis Seale and I work full-time as a product photographer for a luxury clothing and accessory boutique. My work may not sound that exciting, but being surrounded by designer wear helps me to imagine how I would style my own models. I get to pull pieces from the boutique and use them in my shoots, so it works out perfectly for me.
What’s your background?
Travis Seale: I grew up in a small town in Arizona where there really wasn’t much to do. As a kid, you kind of had to get creative to offset the small-town boredom. I remember a long time ago I was thumbing through a copy of Nylon magazine and thinking the pictures were so cool. Everything was an avalanche from there. Soon I was obsessing over fashion editorials and how I could produce content like Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar, and Nylon magazine.
Where are you currently located?
Travis Seale: I’m still located in Arizona, but now living in the greater Phoenix area. It’s so hot here in the summers that my creativity kind of dies. It also kind of works to my advantage because it forces me to do more studio work. I love the beauty that Arizona has to offer. Who knows where I’ll end up in the future. Hopefully in northern Arizona where there are more trees and it’s 30 degrees cooler, but for now I’m content.
What role does the artist play in society?
Travis Seale: I think it’s kind of hard to say what the exact role is an artist should play within society. I believe that we have been raised with this preconceived notion that artists should be activists or that what we create should have a deeper meaning, but I think the role an artist plays is entirely dependent upon the individual.
I’m not really looking to create anything that deep; I use photography as my own personal escape and it really helps me get out of my own head. I believe that artists have an obligation to respect and be mindful of the cultures and people around us because what we put out there can be easily misinterpreted. The only role that anyone should play in society should be one that revolves around peaceful interaction with those around us regardless of personal beliefs.
Who are your favorite artists?
Travis Seale: I really love Ellen von Unwerth and Tim Walker. Ellen’s style just has this vibrant and youthful aesthetic. I follow her on Instagram and she really has a joyful demeanor about her. She just seems fun. As for Tim, he’s a visionary. His imagery is so beautiful and he has created a style so distinct that it’s easy to get lost in his work. There are so many others I could name, but at this moment these two are my main sources of inspiration.
What kind of message do you want to send to your viewers?
Travis Seale: I’m hardly the person to come to for advice because I still have a lot to learn. If I had one message to say it would be to never stop trying to improve. Whether you’re improving your craft or your overall self-worth, it’s important to never stop progressing. I struggle with not feeling adequate or talented enough. At the end of the day, you have to remind yourself that having those thoughts can either help you or destroy you. Turn those thoughts into positive actions and you can’t go anywhere but forward. It’s easier said than done, but doing nothing results in nothing.
What do you dislike about the art world?
The cliques and subsequently the “us vs. them” mentality. I want nothing to do with that. It leads to a lot of talented people being shut out and not receiving the room to advance because they aren’t deemed cool or talented enough. I think as a community we have to step away from that kind of thinking. There are going to people that just you don’t mesh with – and that’s okay – but don’t put yourself in a position that only benefits others.
What is your favorite thing you have ever created?
Travis Seale: I have a love/hate relationship for a lot of things that I’ve created. One thing that I loved was a photo I did where the model’s face was covered in googly eyes. I’ve actually seen it recreated by multiple different people and [my photo] was vocally recognized by Kat Von D. I loved that process from beginning to end. It was a lot of fun to make.
Sometimes artists have creative blocks. Do you have any advice on how to overcome them based on past experiences?
Travis Seale: It’s okay to put an idea or project on hold until you’re ready. If that means trashing the idea entirely, so be it. I’ve had shoots where I didn’t release a single photo because I was completely unsatisfied with my work. That’s not a bad thing. If you don’t find yourself moving forward, find a different route. It may take longer in the end, but at least you’ll reach your destination until you decide where to go next.
If you’re working with a team, don’t assume that your ideas are king just because you came up with it. Don’t be afraid to ask for ideas or help. You may be having a block, but someone else may know how to remove the stick in the spokes.
Anything else you’d like to add?
Travis Seale: I just want to say thank you for giving me a chance to put my words and art out there. I hope that No Sleep New York becomes a thriving metropolis of creativity and I can’t wait to see where it’s headed. ❤
To view more of Travis Seale’s work, check out his website to keep up to date with his artistry!