Travis Rhett Ivey from the University of Wyoming was the Third Place Winner of the $300 Scholarship Award in the 2008 Fine Art Finals West/Southwest Regional Scholarship Competition with his 52"x36" Oil on Linen painting Sweetwater Station (Behind the Rest Area) pictured above. Travis was kind to take part in a brief interview. Here is what he said:
Fine Art Finals: Why do you create art? What are you trying to say with your art?
Travis Ivey: I create art because, I guess it is always something I've done, I've just now found my true vocation as a painter. With my art I am representing the landscape as I experience it. I want people to see and feel the Wyoming landscape as I see and feel it.
Fine Art Finals: How long have you been creating art?
Travis Ivey: I wrote graffiti for years before I finally decided to try painting the landscape. I've been painting in a representational style for 4 years.
Fine Art Finals: Are your family and friends supportive in your decision to pursue art?
Travis Ivey: My family and friends are very supportive. On Christmas day I used to take my entire family on tours around my town to show them my latest graffiti.
Fine Art Finals: What is your area of concentration in art (commercial art, fine art, art history, etc) and why?
Travis Ivey: My area of concentration is definately fine art. I do have a lot of training in 20th century art history and am very aware of what is happening in contemporary art and the market.
Fine Art Finals: What is your major? What was the deciding factor in choosing the school you are attending? Also, why did you choose the specific art program you chose at your school?
Travis Ivey: Fine art major. The University of Wyoming was my only choice because they awarded me with a scholarship and have an amazing undergraduate program. They teach art theory but also, push us to develop strong fundamentals and craftsmanship.
Fine Art Finals: What is your favorite medium(s) to work in and why?
Travis Ivey: Oil paint is my favorite medium because it reflects light so much better than acrylic and its easy to control.
Fine Art Finals: What is your philosophy and work ethic in creating your art?
Travis Ivey: My philosophy right now is to continue to observe light and color and to find solutions in representing those aspects of painting. Also, to never be completely satisfied with a painting, and to always consider myself as a student. I want to continue to grow and progress and not limit myself to specific subjects or genre.
Fine Art Finals: Who is your favorite artist(s) and why; what artist most influences your work and why?
Travis Ivey: I have a lot of favorite artists, especially graffiti artists. The extent to which certain graffiti writers have pushed the medium like KING 157 and MBER - both freight writers. Dutch realists and the Hudson River School artists (especially Frederic Church) are a huge influence on my current work. I love the contemporary landscape paintings by James Doolin, Woody Gwynn and Don Stinson, and also work by master wildlife painter Carl Rungius.
Fine Art Finals: Do you have any other interests beyond art; what are they and do these interests influence your art?
Travis Ivey: Long drives on Wyoming back roads and golf are my interests outside of art, and the long drives are really what inspires a lot of my work. Golf is just a great game and a great way to meet people.
Fine Art Finals: Is there a specific career path you wish to follow utilizing your artistic talents, and if so, what is your plan for utilizing your artistic skills in the future?
Travis Ivey: My plan is to work as a professional artist with gallery representation.
Fine Art Finals: How do (did) you support yourself financially while attending college? Have you received any other financial assistance (Scholarships, Fellowships, Grants, etc) to pursue your education?
Travis Ivey: I supported myself in college by applying for federal Pell grants & scholarships, working at a coffee shop, and selling my paintings.
Fine Art Finals: How did you hear about Fine Art Finals Scholarship Competitions?
Travis Ivey: An email from my art department here at the University of Wyoming informed me of the Fine Art Finals competition.
Fine Art Finals: How has winning or placing in Fine Art Finals Scholarship Competitions helped you?
Travis Ivey: The monetary award given by Fine Art Finals helped me buy some gas this summer.
Fine Art Finals: What advice would you give other student artists?
Travis Ivey: Advice.... I tell other artists to do what they believe in and to listen to everyone's suggestions but only heed the ones that they believe will help them. Always be a student and always follow your heart.
Fine Art Finals: Thank you Travis. Congratulations again, and we wish you continued success!