By CARLY DAVIS
On April 15, Travis Head, a University of Mary Washington alumnus from the class of 2002 spoke to current students and staff about his artistic process.
During his presentation, Head talked about a variety of subjects, such as how he works almost exclusively with Papermate mechanical pencils, in addition to his experiences with his collaborative group, The Fylfot Fellows’ Correspondence.
The presentation began with Professor Joseph DiBella, a distinguished professor of painting and drawing at UMW who taught
Head when he was an undergraduate. DiBella praised Head’s accomplishments since being his student and recalled noticing his potential as a future artist and professor.
After obtaining his bachelor’s degree in studio art at UMW, Head completed his master’s degree and master’s of fine arts in painting and drawing at the University of Iowa. Head is currently an assistant professor of studio art at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University’s School of Visual Art.
During the artist’s lecture, Head discussed his various drawings during the lecture. Most of Head’s artwork is comprised of pictorial scenes, sketch journals or diagrammatic drawings. His pictorial drawings contain a mixture of natural landscapes with the kind of landscape experienced in video games, while his sketch journal records events and significant quotes, as told through pictures of him holding his sketchbook.
The first collaboration project Head was a part of was to turn a dresser into an arc. Head worked with David Dunlap, associate professor of painting and drawing at Iowa, and Dunlap’s two daughters. The project is currently on display at the University of Iowa Museum of Art.
“In grad school my work was changing,” Head said as he explained his study under Dunlap, who had a clear impact on his artistic style. As they worked together, their dynamic developed into an artist-to-artist relationship, rather than the original student-to-artist relationship.
Head talked about how things in the world enter a drawing, and the process in which a collaborative drawing evolves.
“It’s like placing magnets on a refrigerator,” Head said of his a piece, “Remember Me.”
This piece was a collaboration that switched hands between artists Dan Attoe, Zach Stensen and David Dunlap, who were all mentioned in the discussion. However, while working on the piece, Head found that he was not fond of a certain section, so he erased it.
“We have different impulses about how far to go,” he said.
How to channel his energy is a constant question for Head. The collaborative process is rewarding for him, especially in the sense of its speed, which differs drastically from his own personal, slower creative process.
Whether he is working alone, or swept up in the fast-paced environment of collaborations, Head cites his passion for art as his largest incentive, as well as his largest reward.
“It’s nice to work in a way that feels alive,” Head said.