Scatterbrained artist

Art can be inspired by many things, and senior art student Travis Garwood found his inspiration through death, as well as birth.

His senior art exhibit “SCATTERBRAIN” reflected his transitions throughout his life as well as scattered subject matter from throughout his experiences at Washburn University.

Garwood’s love for photography began in seventh grade when he watched a documentary about videographers and photographers on the National Geographic channel. Since then, he knew what he wanted to do with his life, so in high school, he attended Kaw Area Technical Institute, which is now Washburn Institute of Technology. There, he received an Associates in Applied Science in 2006, then began attending Washburn University  in pursuit of his bachelors of fine arts degree. Garwood’s photography progressed right along with him as he experienced life.

“I started with landscape type stuff when I first got to Washburn,” said Garwood. “Then, I transitioned into more conceptual-based art.”

With the death of both of his grandparents on his father’s side, Garwood’s art became his way of dealing with his grief. His art took on darker themes, which reflected his loss of very important members in his family.

“The deaths affected me the most because I worked through [my grief] through my art,” said Garwood. “There are a lot of darker themes in my conceptual art, because of their deaths.”

Garwood explained that his grandparents were a large part of his childhood, because he would stay there while his parents were at work. He continued the close relationships as he became an adult, so their deaths significantly affected him.

“Their deaths were the worst, because I went over there in the summers with my cousins,” said Garwood. “When they both died, it was like the official loss of my childhood, even though I had been over 18 for years.”

After the deaths of his grandparents, Garwood continued to attend school, got married and worked on his art.

With the start of a family and the births of  his three children, he began to focus on lighter themes, and some of his art involved two of his own children. His “Social Commentaries” series, which was also featured in “SCATTERBRAIN,” reflected his working through having children and how it changed the way he thought about the world.

“[The series] involves commentary on how to overcome consumption of America’s goods,” said Garwood. “[Also], it’s about how we are treating our environment and how we are going to leave our world for our children.”

The pieces in the collection featured artwork of his children in various destroyed surrounding. For example, one piece shows his daughter standing in front of some old, broken televisions, with old dolls and toys laying inside one of the televisions, symbolizing his concern for the world we will be leaving behind for our children. He feels more people should be more concerned with the environment, so humans can leave the world a better place.

In addition to “Social Commentaries,” Garwood likes to do abstracted nudes as well as impressionistic landscapes with oil painting, and both were featured in “SCATTERBRAIN.”

“I positioned the person in a certain arrangement of their body  and zoomed in close to where their legs and arms were abstracted to shapes on the photo surface,” said Garwood. “Some wouldn’t be recognizable as a human body until you looked at it for awhile.”