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We Are The Art Life: Travis Knight

Welcome back to our column showcasing the art and artists inspired by Twin Peaks, and in some cases other Lynch works. This time around we talk with graphic designer and artist Travis Knight.


25YL: Where does your Twin Peaks journey start?

TK: Really, it was a bit of a long journey to Twin Peaks. I first fell in love with Lynch’s work in high school in the late ’90s. Lost Highway came out my senior year. I had never seen anything like it. A film had never made me feel that way or think in those abstract ways. I quickly caught up on as much of his work as I could at my local video store. Twin Peaks was pretty hard to get your hands on in those days. I wasn’t until a roommate in my college years had the VHS tapes. I was amazed.

25YL: Be it Twin Peaks or one his other films, how has David Lynch’s work shaped your own particular esthetic or pushed your own artistic boundaries?

TK: Lynch is a creator. He has a work ethic that is like no other. His ability to put his entire mind and spirit into his work in itself is inspiring. His background as a painter has always been interesting to me. In the documentary, David Lynch: The Art Life, you see him work through ideas. You can see him wading through his thoughts without letting his hands rest. I love this. I create out of an almost obsessive need to be working. He, in a way, taught me how to lose myself in a process, and not [to] hold my ideas too precisely. You got to try to catch that big fish, you know.

Lovecraft

25YL: Much of your art is inspired by horror and pop culture. Why is drawing the perfect medium to pay homage or dive deeper into these darker, creepier concepts?

TK: Drawing is a meditation for me. I sort of work through my thoughts as I churn on a piece. I don’t always intend to go to darker or creepier places, but that seems to be where I’m lead.

Back in 2015, I started a year-long drawing project called Your Daily Creep. The idea was to spend about 45 minutes a day drawing a monster (I call them creeps) on a 6×6-inch piece of illustration board. I was using a variety of mediums, but mostly ink and watercolor. There was never a preconceived idea about what I was going to draw. Many times, I would just start with a line and go from there. I would often start to tell myself a story about whatever I was drawing as I drew it. Soon a little creep universe started to appear. The ideas started to come to me quicker.

My hope was to dig deeper into my creative process, and try to open myself up a bit. I posted each day’s drawing to Instagram to sort of hold myself accountable.

The whole project was an amazing experience. I learned to not take myself too seriously. Also, I learned to not be so precious with my art. It’s easy to fall in love with the things we make. Sometimes we have to let that love go in order to find the truly unique idea.

At the end of the project, I had gallery show. It was great to see all the work together. Sharing your work is key to a project like this.

Creep Show by Travis Knight

25YL: How were your Black Lodge Dale Cooper and Laura Palmer pieces inspired by The Return?

TK: After The Return was announced, I began rewatching the first [two] seasons. While I was watching I made the Laura Palmer piece. I was drawing to process what I was seeing, I guess. Dale Cooper was made right after. The Twin Peaks art I make is a tribute to the creative nature of Lynch’s work. I think about it as a contribution to that creative energy. To be close to it. Sort of like standing next to a fire to get warm.

25YL: Why 3-D for those art pieces in particular?

TK: The 3-D or X-ray style is something I’ve been working in for a while. To me, it is about duality and creating a bit of magic with a simple illusion. I think about it as more off a hidden image. Something under the surface. That feels kind of Lynchian to me.

DALE COOPER
laura palmer

25YL: Tell me more about getting feedback from fans, as well as Dale Cooper himself, Kyle MacLachlan.

TK: Boy, Twin Peaks fans are the best. I got great feedback from everyone. People feel a lot of ownership of the series, but not in the way most fandoms do. Twin Peaks is more inviting to interpretation and inspires people to take away what they need from the mythos and story. I see a lot of great and original Twin Peaks art.

Having Kyle MacLachlan repost my work was trippy. I got a text from a friend showing me the post. I couldn’t believe it. He is so supportive and awesome to the fans.

DALE COOPER XRAY

25YL: The Return left the audience stunned—in good and bad ways. What was your initial reaction? How do you feel about it today?

TK: I loved the ending of The Return. The only thing I ever want from Twin Peaks is to be rattled. I thought about it for days. Not about the story, but about the meaning and how I felt. It is important for the series to leave us with mystery. Just like a dream. Let’s not forget, we live inside a dream.

25YL: So we’ve covered pop culture, creeps, Twin Peaks, and dreams. What inspired your “Watch Your Step” piece?

TK: That piece was made during the whole Brett Kavanaugh nightmare. I watched as women were being totally dismissed by an evil patriarchal system. It was heartbreaking. It plays a bit on the ‘Don’t Tread on Me” slogan that the Tea Party has adopted. Really, I think of it as a warning. The rattlesnake is the woman’s mind. She has a beautiful docile exterior, but underneath hides a rage that is ready to strike.

BE-hive

25YL: Any plans for other Twin Peaks-inspired pieces?

TK: Of course! Not sure when, but soon I hope. I don’t want to talk about Judy.

25YL: What’s next on the horizon for you?

TK: I’m doing some things that aren’t fandom related, which is really fun. My online shop is now open with prints and other fun things. Over the summer, I did a few murals and some large paintings. I would love to do more of that! Also, I’m taking a stab at a few editorial projects. Feel free to find me on Instagram, I post like crazy!

25YL: Thanks so much for talking with us!

You can catch up with the art life of Travis on Instagram @travisknight, Facebook @travisknightdraws, or visit his website.


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Written by Rachel Stewart

Rachel Stewart is a staff writer at 25YL. She has written fandom commentary and critique for sites like The Sartorial Geek, FangirlConfessions.com, Nerdy Minds Magazine, and ESO Network, among others. Her work has also appeared in the print anthology “Children of Time: The Companions of Doctor Who.”

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