Staring down the future, choking down the past.

Posted in Uncategorized on November 4, 2017 by xjamestravisx

I’m in Kentucky for a few more weeks.  I left here in 2011, intent on coming back for a few years, then letting go of that and looking forward for what felt like the first time.  This isn’t really about that, though.  By the time I packed up and left Chicago, going home wasn’t in the cards I was holding, but here I am. It’s been good to spend the fall in Appalachia again.  There’s not much thats better than seeing the seasons change in the mountains. Here soon, I’ll be living on the other side of the mountains in Richmond, VA, and I’m happy to be going.

I left my job in Chicago at the end of February of 2017.  My lease was up, I was bound for the UK, and a friend had a room waiting for me in Philadelphia when I got back.  I spent 3 weeks in the UK visit friends and working, and just walking around places I’ve never been.  Saw the woods and sea in Scotland.  Saw a shitty bed and breakfast, a better inn, and some beautiful old buildings and a very old cemetery in London.  Got tattooed by my friend Rich in Manchester, walked around and had food at the city Buddhist center.  Took many trains. Saw castles and old graves in Edinburgh.  Went to my first overseas tattoo convention.  Museums of optical illusions. Saw a Russian Junk sculpture musical play in Glasgow.  Saw a room chock full of marionettes and clowns.  I had some good times, and I felt the bottom a few times. I got back, spent a week with friends in Chicago, and headed out toward Philly with my friend Scott who made sure we had every sweet vegan treat between the Midwest and the East Coast that we could.  Worked in Ypsi and Canonsburg.  Rode bikes in Pittsburgh Philly, hit some shows and made some new friends.

I was in Philadelphia for 4 months.  I lived with my friend Mary in a punk house in West Philly.  I tattooed some punks in my bedroom, and did a fair share of guest spots on that side of the country.  Boston for about a week, Rochester, NY, then to RVA.  Also, did an entire New England trip that took me to Canada for the first time. I officiated the wedding of 2 great friends in Michigan.  I went to NYC a few times for food, tattoos, bands, and museums. I rode my bike all over Philadelphia, and consumed more coffee than anyone should.  I left Philadelphia 2 months earlier than planned because the house was sold.  I headed out and stopped in KY to drop off some things before heading back to Chicago for 3 weeks to work and see friends.  I reconnected with a very important person in my life, and turned 30 while I was there, even though I always told myself I wouldn’t turn 30 in Chicago. We drove out of the city that night and sat in a park watching freight trains go by.  Honestly, though, it couldn’t have started off any better anywhere else.

After that, I drove overnight to Philly so I could catch a plane to London.  I landed, and got hassled hard by immigration.  I guess what is a perfectly normal way to go about life to me throws up some red flags when you try to get into a foreign country.  I got in, met up with Kerley, and headed into the city.  We spent a week there, working and seeing all we could see.  I found the right fit in a shop this time, and genuinely enjoyed being there with company this time.  It was good.  Graveyards, museums, tattoo shops, cheap Indian buffets and fancy vegan hot-bars.

After a week, I flew back and slept off some jet lag at Mary’s new spot before heading up to Hawley, PA to be tattoo by Dan Santoro at his small shop, American House.  From there, it was 6 hours to Richmond to sleep, then 6 more hours to Asheville to see a friend before heading back to Chicago to get my things out of storage and officially move myself back to Kentucky for a couple months. Home didn’t bring stillness.  Even though there’s ample work and plenty of time to see my friends, I’ve been out and about. I rode up to Old Soul in Canonsburg, PA for Oktoberfest.  I did another week in RVA at Hold It Down, and found myself an apartment.  I went to Lansing to work a shop party with my friend Fox at his shop, Fish Ladder.  Now we’re here, funneling out of Kentucky and into a new spot in quiet neighborhood in Richmond, VA.  Near a graveyard, and near a park with a good view of the tracks and the James.  2017 has been a wild one.  I don’t believe 2018 will too much different.  They never really are, but it’ll be okay however it is.  I’ll find a place to work in Richmond so I can sit still a bit and take in the new place.We’ll see, we’ll see.


Just Passing Through

Posted in Uncategorized on November 4, 2017 by xjamestravisx

In late June of this year (2017) I set out for almost a month of driving, eating, tattooing, and collecting smashed pennies with one my best friends, Matt Kerley.  Kerley tattoos privately in a small town in North Carolina, and all over the country, as well as doing lots of freelance illustration and running a clothing brand.  Busy guy.  Look him up if you don’t already know.  Either way, we’ve worked together, done conventions together, and met up all over this country. Until this point, we had never road tripped together.  So, we routed a trip that took us up through the northeastern part of the country, and into Canada, beginning and ending in Philadelphia where I was living for the summer.  It was fun, stressful, fulfilling, and meant a great deal to me.  Travel with your friends to stupid towns and cities, and do dumb shit.  It’s better than wherever you’re currently sitting.  I promise.

Many thanks to our Gracious hosts.  Here are the shops we hit:

Electric Anvil/Escapist, Brooklyn, NY; The Torchbearer, Providence, RI; Sad Clown City, Boston, MA; Hidden History, Dover, NH; Tattoo Mania, Montreal, Canada; Halo, Syracuse, NY; Old Soul, Canonsburg, PA, and Kerley was at Forever Valentine in Philadelphia, PA for a day.

Here’s my work from that trip.


And just some evidence of good times…

If you’ll be my sign post…

Posted in Uncategorized on November 4, 2017 by xjamestravisx

I’ve been Home in Kentucky the last couple months, working and spending time with friends, and complaining about the lack of great food options because I’m a spoiled baby. Thanks Chicago.  I’ll have a more reflective post in a bit, but these are tattoos from August up to now.  Chicago, IL;  London, England;  Canonsburg, PA; Lexington, KY; and Richmond, VA.

The Blood is on the Wall…

Posted in Uncategorized on July 2, 2017 by xjamestravisx

Posted in Uncategorized on April 25, 2017 by xjamestravisx

Posted in Uncategorized on February 12, 2017 by xjamestravisx

Garbage Dogs

Posted in Uncategorized on January 1, 2017 by xjamestravisx

Over the past couple of months, I’ve seen in a change in my work.  I’m not sure what changed in my mind, but I really like the way my new paintings have been turning out, and I feel like they more accurately communicate the things I’m trying to convey through the imagery that I prefer to use.  All these designs are available as tattoos to commemorate the path you walk.