The Surreal World of Travis Louie

Travis Louie’s paintings come from the tiny little drawings and many writings in his journals. He’s created his own imaginary world that is grounded in Victorian and Edwardian times. It is inhabited by human oddities, mythical beings, and otherworldly characters who appear to have had their formal portraits taken to mark their existence and place in society. The underlying thread that connects all these characters is the unusual circumstances that shape who they were and how they lived. Some of their origins are a complete mystery while others are hinted at. A man is cursed by a goat, a strange furry being is discovered sleeping in a hedge, an engine driver can’t seem to stop vibrating in his sleep, a man overcomes his phobia of spiders, etc, . . .Using inventive techniques of painting with acrylic washes and simple textures on smooth boards, he’s created portraits from an alternate universe that seemingly may or may not have existed.


Gordon six eyes lived in his parents basement until his six eyes became highly fashionable and his anger at the outside world had subsided to a level of extreme indifference. By the time it was safe for him to emerge from the cellar and experience the outside world, his brothers and sisters had all grown up and married. He now had many nieces and nephews, who loved their Uncle Six Eyes. They all marveled at his ability to move all six of his eyes in different directions at once. They wished they had six eyes, . . . instead of the boring, single eye they each had on their shiny, bald heads, . . .just like their parents.


Richard was small for an ogre. At only seven feet, eight inches tall, he had to look up to his peers (the average height of a Victorian Ogre was 14 feet). He often felt discriminated, . . .not only was he shorter than the other ogres, but he also could only grew his horns a few inches . A display of horns was very fashionable in those circles. Instead of working as an enforcer for some despotic ruler or holding farming communities ransom, he decided to pursue a career in banking.


In 1873, Karl Froman woke up from a long nap and didn’t sleep again for almost nine years. After long bouts of insomnia, . . . he developed an unusual amount of enthusiasm for all things. He wandered around the English countryside, cheering strangers on through the most mundane of tasks, like sweeping or rat-catching. The townspeople eventually got used to his constant applause and even created a holiday in his honor called Happy Day. It would take place every March 15th to commemorate the day he woke up from his nap and stopped sleeping.


Bill spends most of his time hiding under other people’s beds. When he does not shower, he smells like marshmellows.


Percy Carruthors had a fascination with the myth of the Krampus. Everywhere he looked he thought he saw evidence of their existence. Krampus were known to punish people in peculiar ironic ways. Really aggressive alpha-male types were found unconscious wearing mismatched women’s evening wear, abusive tax appraisers were dressed as pigs, all their earnings forcibly given away to charity, and various members of the “self-important” society around him were found dangling from lamp posts or stuck to railroad billboards . . . the glazed look in their eyes and the muttering of the word “Krampus” seemed like obvious clues, . . .strangely, these happening went unnoticed by everyone in the precinct he worked in. Percy’s co-workers made jokes about him, saying he had “Krampusitis”, for his constant obsession until the day a large Krampus turned himself in for “child-juggling”. Percy gladly took the mugshots.


Sometime in the late 1850s, after an unusually long, hard rain, a strange figure pulled himself out of the ground and began terrorizing a small mining town in Northern California. It wasn’t so much that he actually physically hurt anyone, . . .it was his unusual appearance combined with his high-pitched cackling and near constant mumbling, which caused such a strong vibration, it rattled window panes and interrupted many a conversation. He was nick-named “Rooty” because of the long root-like tendrils that protruded from the top of his misshapen head and the strong scent of ginseng that came from his body


After a long holiday season of punishing the misbehaved, by choking or squeezing them, . . . the Choking Krampus spends the Off-Season gardening and landscaping. They can be seen at a Home Depot or Lowe’s buying lumber and shrubs. However, . . .many of them are still open to be employed as chokers or stranglers, . . .their services can be acquired for a nominal fee that usually includes lunch.


After much deliberation, . . .the Smacking Krampus, raises it’s hand as if to ask a question, . . . and then smacks down his victims until they relent. His over-sized right hand is as wide as the average frying pan.


Not much is known about Gill. He first appeared at Coney Island, working at Luna Park as an extra in the Aquacade show. His co-workers found him to be extremely kind, generous, and always a good laugh. When the park burned down, it was assumed that he met his demise. He reappeared just before the building of the 1964 Worlds Fair in Flushing, New York. He walked out of Flushing Bay and immediately went to Main St. to have a hot dog and an ice cream soda. He was last seen in the upper deck at Shea Stadium during the 1986 World Series between the New York Mets and the Boston Red Sox. He had a hot dog and a beer.