OUR FRIEND : TRAVIS BLUE has an affinity for the macabre. (Growing up gay in rural Washington State will do that to a person.) His story, as told by director Adam Baran in the documentary Northwest Passage, is a fascinating one. As a matter of survival and as it is reflected in his art, he learned to find beauty in the blackness. We were introduced to him only recently and have been wondering where he has been all our life ever since.
As luck would have it, he was in need of our studio a couple months ago and we are so excited to finally share the work. Using local male-model-on-the-rise, Bobby Rake as his muse, and NorthWest Hair Stylist of the Year nominee, David C Scott, he created a beautifully haunted picture of old Hollywood glamour. We were able to catch up with him, in spite of his incredibly busy schedule, on the set where it all started - Twin Peaks.
Hey Travis! Thank you so much for taking a second for little ol' Us.
Is Travis Blue your real name?
No. But it I’ve answered to it most of my life. I was working on Gregg Araki’s Nowhere and he said that I’m just like Amy Blue, Rose McGowan’s character in The Doom Generation. He insisted that we were so much alike that I could be her brother, Travis Blue. I liked the sound of it so I used it as a pseudonym for my punk zines and the name just stuck.
Where are you from?
Seattle, born and raised. I lived all over in my teens and spent most of my adult life in New York City.
What is your proudest accomplishment so far?
Developing and directing the first installment of my Cathedral Park series.
What are you afraid of?
What are you listening to right now?
White Poppy, Lucifer, Uncle Acid & the Deadbeats.
3 people, places, or things that have inspired your work.
Twin Peaks, Kieślowski’s The Decalogue, Antonioni’s Blow-Up. Extra credit: Madonna’s Sex Book.
What was the inspiration for this shoot with Bobby?
I’ve had an obsession with Hollywood glamour shots and the funhouse mirror scene from The Lady From Shanghai since I worked at Biography Magazine. I was working in the photo department and I had to sort 30,000 archival photos a month, mostly from the golden age of cinema. I saw so many great photos that will never see the light of day. It was A&E’s attempt to be a celebrity magazine but it was just a flip book of photos of old movie stars. Not a huge market for that. But it made a huge impression on me and how I light and photograph faces, not to mention casting.
Episode 2 of Cathedral Park. I’m also starring in a documentary about my life called Northwest Passage. Its like Twin Peaks on acid.
Twin Peaks? Acid? What's not to like?? We recommend you pay attention to this artist, dear readers. You can bet your ass WE will be. Watch this space!!
Art direction by Tod Michael & Travis Blue.
Photography by Travis Blue.
Model Bobby Rake with Option Models
Hair/grooming by David Scott at The National Beauty
Makeup by Jodi Vaughn
Photo assistant Toby Orvano
Art assistant Alex Vicari.