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Home > good peeps > Lightning Round with Travis Smith (a.k.a. Mr. Purty)

Lightning Round with Travis Smith (a.k.a. Mr. Purty)

September 29th, 2009

I met Mr. Purty in twitterland, and was quickly drawn in by his whimsical robot art, general funniness and numourous funky tattoos. I find myself wondering if his fellow IT colleagues have any idea what a creative-head they work with…

memories by Mr. Purty.

1. Why Mr. Purty?
Mr. Purty is my dog, Clark. My wife started calling him Mr. Purty at some point and it stuck. I thought it would make a good website address and it spun out of control from there. I get credited as Mr. Purty about half the time which always cracks me up.

2. What’s with the robots?
Robots appeal to the nerd in me. I doodle constantly and drew a robot in a sketchbook once and it evolved from there. They’re nerdy, awkward, cute, and creepy all at the same time. They’re fun to do to. I do get burnt out on them sometimes, but it’s almost like my signature or tag at this point.

3. Early riser or night owl?
Definitely a night owl. I’m rarely asleep before 2.

4. You have a few tattoos… which one has the best backstory?
I approach tattoos as another way of collecting art. I usually realize or infer meaning about them after I’d had them for a while. I think I have a similar approach with the art I create. They all have stories or remind me of a time and place I was at when I got them, but this one…

…probably means the most to me personally — it was some symbolism behind it that means a lot.

Oh, I haven’t drawn any of them – I get asked that constantly. I want the artist’s art, not mine.

5. What was the first concert you ever went to?
The first real concert I went to (no parents or family) was Aerosmith around 1993. “Get a Grip” had just came out. Steven Tyler was only 90 then, so he was still super spry.

6. Can you give us a little intro to Mrs. Purty?
I’ve known my wife Angie since the 7th grade. We went to high school together, started dating our senior year of high school, and then went to college together. We’ve been married 12 years. She’s addicted to 80s music, Harry Potter, Elvis, and vampires. She makes the best cornbread in the world.

7. And what about Clark?
Clark is our dog. He’s 15, 100% mutt, and the “purtiest dog in the whole world” according to Angie. He cracks me up every day.


8. What is your kryptonite?
Hamburgers. Any good food for that matter. Really though, any food. Oh, and corn dogs.

9. What do you moonlight as in your day job?
I’m a software developer. I doodle a lot at work. Enough said.

10. What’s your go-to karaoke song?
I’m the worst karaoke singer ever. Ever. My go-to karaoke move is to hide in the corner and watch everyone else sing while having a few cocktails.

11. Happiest kid memory?
Being raised by a pack of wild robots. Meeting spiderman has to be way up on my list also. I was a total freak for spiderman. And yeah, he’s even awesomer in person.

12. Worst job you ever had?
I worked in a chicken farm, picking up eggs, when I was 15. I lasted about a month. It’s as glamorous as it sounds.

13. When/where/how do you get your best ideas?
I guess they just come to me randomly. Random things plant seeds in my head all the time. Songs, TV shows, movies, people, other art, and things like that. I feel very introverted, so I observe a lot. I doodle — sketching sounds too fancy — all the time and get ideas that way too. I also don’t plan out paintings too much beforehand. I let them take shape as I create, so I guess I get ideas then too.

14. You do fun collaborative projects and group exhibits. Is there one that stands out for you, and why?
I Got Wood stands out as a really fun project I’ve taken part in. I’m addicted to flickr because of stuff like this — projects that involve artists from around the world. Not to sound too cheesy, but this is why the internets is so awesome.



15. Dream job and location?
I want to live like Ernest Hemingway. Someplace hot – maybe Mexico, but definitely on the ocean, I’d grow my beard out. And drink all day at the local bar and sit in the shade and nap whenever I wanted. I could paint all night. Read as much as I could. Definitely no alarm clock.

16. Got any party tricks?
Does being the dorkiest guy in the room count?

17. What are you most proud of right now?
In terms of art, this skateboard deck…

And the last show I did [called Tech-know-logic]. They’re the most recent things I’ve done, but I’m really happy with how they came out.

18. If you had the time, what’s something you’d work at improving or learning?
My hair? Everything — drawing, painting, sketching, all of it.

19. If it were feasible, would you ever want to be a full-time artist?
I’d love to be a full-time artist. Or at least something art related like running a gallery and shop and working on my art all at the same time. Maybe when I’m old.

20. Finish this sentence: “I am…”
“… a dork.”

Travis is one of the reasons I think twitter rocks — what a terrific way to meet inspiring fellow art folks. Big kudos to him for all the time and work he obviously puts into what he loves to do, even though he’s clocking a full-time week in something completely unrelated. Oh, and I think Clark is swell too.

Find out more about Mr. Purty and the robots via:

Thanks for enduring the hotseat, Mr. P. Beep boop…

If you’d like to recommend someone for me to grill and whose work I could feature,
please feel free to comment and let me know — even if it’s you! Merci.

good peeps , , , , ,

  1. September 30th, 2009 at 07:52 | #1

    What a great interview! Travis, you’re so funny. Em, you’ll have to make a trip down to Atlanta so we can all hang and eat!

  2. September 30th, 2009 at 09:37 | #2

    I love Travis’ work!! This is so cool you interviewed him :)

  3. uddie
    September 30th, 2009 at 13:31 | #3

    Hi there I think your work is excellent and I’m proud of you.. I think Clark is adorable,smart,and lovable.
    Angie sounds great too. You have a nice family.. Toodles

  4. shari
    October 1st, 2009 at 07:55 | #4

    Who is the guy? Just kidding. I guess I am one of the wild robots you were raised with huh? All kidding aside, I am proud of my little brother for all his accomplishments. I always knew he would do something with his art. The tattoos–now that was a surprise!

  5. October 1st, 2009 at 18:09 | #5

    Great interview! I love Mr. Purty’s stuff.

  6. October 2nd, 2009 at 17:08 | #6

    I love how quirky the robots are. I really like how the background provide an interesting contrast too.

  7. Donna Brunswick
    October 5th, 2009 at 15:33 | #7

    I’m sitting in my cube right now, with a Travis Smith original hanging on my cube wall. Trav is the awesomest. and his robots are pretty cool, too.

  8. Don
    October 18th, 2017 at 13:21 | #8

    I am trying to find Travis smith. He did a few paintings for me about 10 years ago. It’s like he fell off the face of the world and has no social media sites and his web site doesn’t work. Any no would be helpful. Thanks.

  1. September 30th, 2009 at 13:00 | #1
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