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Artist Feature: Travis Pietsch

Very few artists are able to make old world styles relevant in a modern world the way that Travis Pietsch does. Based out of Washing DC — Travis is a freelance illustrator, husband, father, night owl and occasional skateboarder. We brought him onto the roster in the spring of 2018 and since then we’ve worked together on a wide range of projects from Lollapalooza where he illustrated and animated some badass robots to JR Watkins where he created delicate artwork for hand soap labels. It seems there is no genre where he cannot provide his touch.

On a personal note, I have enjoyed getting to know Travis over the year. He is humble, talented and quietly ambitious. The level of detail his work displays is a reflection of his character. He does everything with care and with the highest level of quality in mind. All of his clients appreciate this and it’s the reason why they love working with him.

Without further ado I’m pleased to introduce you to Travis Pietsch!

Tell us a little about yourself and your work.
My names Travis, I’m an illustrative designer from the DC metro area. My woodcut style of illustration & design gives a nod to the ornate aesthetic of 1800’s design, but with a current take.

Describe a typical work day for you.
I have both a full-time design job, and do freelance on nights and weekends. After working my day job, I come home and enjoy some quality family time with my wife and son. After my son goes to bed, I start my second shift freelancing.

Which part of the creative process do you enjoy most?
My favorite part of the creative process Is also the most challenging, which is concepting. Even though its the most challenging part, I find it the most rewarding. Playing with symbolism and composition while also meeting the project requirements is sort of like putting together a puzzle. Once you have a sketch that checks all the boxes is a great feeling.

Was there a striking moment in your life where you knew you had to become an Illustrator?
Illustration has always been a big part of my life. In high school I discovered airbrushing and stencils making. I would create stencils out of my illustrations and airbrush them onto shirts. Originally they were just for myself, but then I started getting requests from peers. That was the moment I realized I could make money off my work.

What mediums do you enjoy working with most?
My preferred medium is microns and paper, but I’ve transitioned to working digitally with my iPad & iPencil. Working digitally has sped up my process exponentially, no more scanning!

If you had unlimited resources, what would your dream project look like?
If I had unlimited resources, I would buy a large barn and convert it into a design studio and printshop.

Outside of your work, what other hobbies do you enjoy?
Drawing is still my favorite hobby, I really enjoy creating personal work in my free time. Other than that, I could always go for a nice skate session!

What is your favorite show you’re watching right now?
Atlanta, Donald Glover is killing it!

What was the last book you read that you really enjoyed?
I’m not really a big book guy, but I’m big on podcasts. Daily I’m listening to Adventures in Design with Mark Brickey and The Creative Pep-Talk podcast by Andy J. Miller.

What is a common creative block for you and how do you get unstuck?
The best way I’ve found to get out of a funk is to refer to my sketchbook. I’ll pop it open and return to an idea I roughed out and continue to expand on it. This usually get’s my mind back in the creative space.

Outside of design, what do you do that inspires your creative pursuit?
Something that always inspires me is looking at packaging design in the grocery store. Mostly wine, beer, and coffee packaging.

Are you an early bird or a night owl?
Having a 13 month old in our house, we really have to choice but to be early birds haha. But even before having our son, I would love to wake up early before my day job and get a couple hours in on freelance or personal work. I love how quiet the mornings are when the world is asleep.

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