We had the good fortune of connecting with Travis Anderson and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Travis, we’d love to hear about how you approach risk and risk-taking
Taking risks, to me, is non-negotiable. It’s the fuel that makes us grow as artists. If you aren’t out of your comfort zone, you’re repeating yourself. And that feeling of stagnation is what lets me know I’m not growing. Bowie said something once that struck me so deeply, describing the feeling of being in the water at the moment your toes just barely touch bottom. That’s the sweet spot of artistic fear and risk taking. Pushing yourself just beyond your comfort zone, but knowing that if you work hard enough, you can succeed. And if you fail? You’ve learned lessons there as well, which means you’re growing.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
Working in multiple artistic disciplines, I’ve come to realize (after a couple decades of practice) that they all fulfill and convey the exact same thing: Storytelling. Whether you’re a chef or an actor or a poet, you’re pursuing something you love and when you do it professionally, you’re presenting that love to other people in the hopes that they connect with it as well. That’s telling a story. Taking these things that are so intimately personal to you and being willing to expose that to other people.
Being that vulnerable can be really scary at the start. But if this is what you love doing, you really don’t have a choice. I think that art is a calling and it has a higher purpose. It not only fuels the artist, but can bring so much happiness or even enlightenment to so many other people. And I think it’s easy to forget when you’re in the grind of it day to day, or under a deadline, or doubting your own skills or value as an artist. But I guarantee that if you pursue what you love, there are other people out there who love exactly the same thing and will appreciate what you do.
What sets me apart as an artist is, I think, that I have a serious reverence for those who came before me and I try to apply what I learned from them to my own aesthetic. Whether it’s playing jazz or shooting a photo or composing a score for a film, the mark that my heroes have left on me is seared into my DNA, and I try to honor them every time I make something.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
Minneapolis has this ridiculous “fly over country” reputation, and it’s so ill-deserved. Does the winter suck? Oh yeah. But fortunately that doesn’t last all year. We’ve got a food scene that rivals the best in the world. We’ve got James Beard nominated chefs behind every corner. Some of the most beautiful walking lakes right in the city. A crazy good art and music scene. But first stop on my to-do list would be go rock climbing at Vertical Endeavors. Nothing like falling off a wall to get your blood pumping!
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I have to acknowledge the masters who came before me. The people whose inspiration (in some cases, even long after they’ve gone), still lingers and ignites my own passion. For me, it has to be John Williams. I wouldn’t have any business being in the musical world without the fire that started when I picked up the Jurassic Park album when I was 12. I remember putting that CD into my Sega CD (it was the 90’s), sitting in front of our terrible TV speakers and listening to the album in its entirety twice in a row. I was teleported to a different world. One that was uplifting, mysterious, loving, scary, and ultimately just incredibly exciting. I was fortunate enough to meet John in private a year later at Orchestra Hall in Minnesota. He was as lovely and humble as everyone says. Imagine the generosity of spirit for someone of his stature to take the time to talk to little Travis from Minnesota. I stared at him and didn’t say a word while my mom filled him in about my obsession with his work. If I were to meet him now, I’d never stop asking questions. His music still inspires me, in fact more than ever. It calls me to artistic action every single day.
Facebook: Travis Anderson