We had the good fortune of connecting with Travis Rice and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Travis, Let’s talk about principles and values – what matters to you most?
I think autonomy is a value or principle that matters the most to me. I initially studied architecture where clients, budgets, and zoning often dictated the aesthetic of a piece of design, and while, at times, I may have to deal with all three of those factors in some way, I still have, as an artist, autonomy. Autonomy is why I became an artist. I found in architecture that clients got in the way of good ideas and I hate to compromise. I want to either fail or succeed on my own terms and I have probably failed more than succeeded but that is part of the process. I think if I ever had to start taking direction for what I create as an artist, I would probably stop making art all together and become a security guard or something. I live for that mad scientist feeling I have late at night when I am working by myself toiling away at something while the rest of the world sleeps. No one looking over my shoulder and the only expectation I have to meet is my own… which is generally set way too high anyway.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I suppose what I am most proud of has been my perseverance as an artist. Unless you have a large trust fund, everything can seem to be working against you at times as our society is just not set for those attempting to carve their own path. Both our healthcare and educational systems are set up in a way to make you fail and overwhelm you with potential debt which is the absolute kryptonite to any creative advancement. I, along with many artists, have taken more than a few blows to the gut but that hasn’t diminished my desire and drive to continue to push what I make and take risks. Maybe its blind ignorance or maybe some people are just wired in a way that makes them compulsive creators. I suppose I could be defined as either…and I am fine with that.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
Well if they are my friend then I can assume they like the things I like so we would probably first visit the local art galleries such as Bentley Gallery and the Lisa Sette Gallery to look at some great art. Then take a quick trip to the Phoenix Art Museum as well as the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art to view whatever exhibit was on display. Maybe then squeeze in a tour of Taliesin West and finally eat dinner at Phoenix Stand Up Live while we listen to a great comic.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I suppose I would have to give a shout out to my dad. He is the one that forced me to take a goofy drafting class in high school because he wanted me to have a trade to fall back on in case whatever the hell else I was doing didn’t work out. I had no desire at the time to take a drafting class as I was focused on college prep courses like biology and calculus… I mean God forbid I become a doctor or something. Well I guess he knew something about me I didn’t know because, as it turned out, I loved sitting at a table drawing lines and couldn’t get enough of it. This drafting class was my first introduction to drawing and I really haven’t stopped drawing since. Oddly enough as I grew older and focused on art and design as a career, he kind of hated it because he thought it was a career choice with limited income potential and stability. Sorry pops you’ve got no one to blame but yourself. I ultimately think his curmudgeonly attitude toward my career choice actually fueled me to work harder as I would create more and more outrageous things just to piss his conservative ass off. I, unfortunately, lost my dad to lung cancer in 2019 and never really took the chance to thank him for forcing me to take that class. I ended up hating biology and calculus but I truly love my dad for knowing me better than I knew myself.