Travis Somerville, Painter
I root for the home team; it's how I'm wired. This isn't exactly a disclaimer—I don't know what it is—but here comes another friend of mine I want to pimp a little.
His grist is the mythical South. On canvas he mixes it up: part litho, part collage, part oil paint, part found photographs. His name is Travis Somerville. Here's the thing: Everybody comes to San Francisco from somewhere else. And Travis, a preachers kid from Atlanta, is no exception.
In this world of one-percenters and 99-percenters, you don't have to stare long at his paintings to see Travis knows that oppression and greed is nothing new. Meanwhile, Travis keeps one eye on the road ahead and one on the rear view mirror for juicy road kill. Like Malcolm X in Nike shoes. One of my favorites Somerville titles is The Raft Of The Grand Wizard.
When the Catherine Clark Gallery had the good taste to pick up Travis back in 1995 or so, I was there. Since then, the rest of the world—as the rest of the world will—has slowly caught on. He's picked up some deep-pockets collectors along the way too, Whoopi Goldberg among them. Could Ted Danson be next?
If you're in S.F., pay Travis a visit at his studio. He's out there in the toxic wasteland of Hunters Point. I've hung out with him in his studio and I can tell you one thing: He's always got great music playing.
Video after the jump.