Meet Travis William Weber, Senior Visual Designer at ROKKAN! We sat down with him to get his top picks for noms, reads, and all things Texan.
Q: Travis! Where are you from?
A: H-town! By way of Austin. (That’s Houston, TX, btw)
Q: Do you miss TX?
A: I miss the Barton Springs and the Green Belt. Really, most of it is food, now that I think of it. Like, the breakfast tacos from El Chilito; it’s so good, especially the salsa verde. But I get the etsy/Austin vibe living in Brooklyn. Cities like Los Angeles just don’t have that appeal. Brooklyn’s my home away from home, for sure.
Q: Speaking of “back home,” where did you go to school, and what did you study?
A: I went to the University of Texas in Austin and studied advertising, although I originally started off as an engineering major (whatever the easiest engineering path was). I got into calculus, and quickly decided to do something more—ha—artistic. So, I did the “creative portfolio” sequence with the awesome Prof Shawn Thompson. I visited NYC with my UT ad group, and that’s what made me stick with advertising. I wanted to be an Art Director/designer. It took lots of summer school and hard work, but I got there eventually.
Q: So, you put yourself through school?
A: Yeah. During college I was waiting tables at Iron Cactus on 6th St. and the Blue Star just outside Austin. It was fun because you could get girls’ phone numbers and free meals (I keed, I keed—but really). Like, the first night at Iron Cactus, they made me run food up and down three flights of stairs all night. I’d never even had any experience working with food before. Craziness. Though, I kind of miss that whole working the “poor college student” angle for more tips situation. And, I miss my red, stick shift, ’97 Jeep Cherokee—such a great car.
Q: Your family’s back in Texas?
A: Yeah, they’re all back in Houston. I have two younger sisters, Courtney and Amanda. Then there’s my Mom, Vickie and my Dad, Bill.
A: I wish I had a million pets, or even just like 5 dogs, but I work too much. One of my little sisters is disabled, but loves animals, so we have three dogs back home. I love animals because I grew up around so many of them.
Q: Awesome. So, short of would-be running a private zoo, what do you actually do at ROKKAN?
A: I’m a Senior Visual Designer: I work with fellow designers and junior designers on all the creative for our clients’ projects.
Q: So, how did you get into digital design?
A: I think I always had it in me. My parents and grandparents are artistic: my Grandpa does woodworking and my Grandma does cake design. My Mom went to art school; she illustrates and does hand-drawn calligraphy. My Dad does construction/renovation/historical restoration. All different kinds of design have always been in our family. I started getting into tech with computers in high school, and from there it just made sense for me to be making art via the computer.
Q: Where did you cut your chops before ROKKAN?
A: My first job was at Digitas. It was a great first job. I came out of school with a book of print, and got hired at Digitas, where I quickly fell in love with designing for Web. They were very open to me moving in that direction. I was working on iPad apps, websites, and mobile apps. It really allowed me to build the digital side of my portfolio and phase out the student, print work. After Digitas, I was at R/GA. There, I dove directly into a full-fledged digital design career. It was a short stint, but it definitely opened the door to what I’m doing now at ROKKAN.
Q: So, as an artist, what do you do for inspiration, to break out of a creative funk?
A: That’s the beauty of living in a place a diverse as NYC. Something as simple as just walking around and seeing the stickers, signage, and graffiti/guerilla street art is so inspirational. I also draw a lot from people’s personal style: the way they dress/look, tattoos, fabric prints/clothes. It’s all about keeping your eyes open and paying attention to the little things when you’re walking around.
Q: Who is one of your greatest mentors/inspirations?
A: My parents and my grandparents were really very supportive of me and my decision to move across the country to pursue this, so I’d say them, probably. They believed in me—I mean I worked hard, and had to believe in myself—but their support really pushed me along.
Q: Do you have a favorite quote/motto/philosophy?
A: You should treat people how you want to be treated. I try to live my life that way. It’s not super “deep,” but it works for me.
Q: So, what do you want to be when you grow up?
A: I want to be able to travel and see the world. I also want to become a design master for Web. I’m always learning new technologies and it’s my goal to truly become a digital design expert. But really, deep inside, I want to open a breakfast taco joint in Greenpoint. I don’t have a name for it yet, but it’s gonna be awesome.
Q: Breakfast tacos?! Salud! What’s your drink?
A: Michter’s Rye, on the rocks. Or, now that it’s summer, a cold High Life is always delicious. I’m such a sucker for good Americana-style packaging. Champagne of beers, y’all.
Q: Best spot in the world?
A: I’m happy riding my bike or skateboarding anywhere, really. I have a single-speeded bike—just plain black, simple. It gets me from point A to point B. Really, I’m a city guy. So, NY, LA, Paris, Berlin—wherever. I freaking love it; hands-down, biking is the most awesome way to see any city.
Q: Best restaurant in NYC?
A: My go-to spot in the ‘hood is Mesa Coyoacan in Williamsburg. Get the Enchiladas Verde with a margarita. Life is good. There’s also Fette Sau for BBQ in Williamsburg. Or, if I want to go Italian, there’s Brucie in Cobble Hill. It’s a great place for home-cooked traditional game meats and Italian food.
Q: What do you do in your downtime?
A: Obviously biking and skateboarding. I like to adventure around the city, finding new restos to eat at, bars to drink at. Hanging with my friends. Going for Robertas’ Tiki Disco parties. I’m also in a bowling league. I started back in the fall of 2010. We’re called the Love Taps (and yeah, I did the logo). We have matching T-shirts. No matching underwear…. yet. We need hats or something. We bowl at The Gutter on Thursday nights.
Q: Cool! What do you bowl?
A: Last season was my best season! I was averaging a 140 or so. Nothing too fancy, but it was enough to get us to the playoffs.
Q: Favorite band/music?
A: It changes daily. Mathew Dear is definitely in my all time favorites. But lately, I’ve been digging the hip-hop: School Boy Q. I also just got back from Berlin, so some electro stuff on this UK label called Disclosure. I also like TEED (Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs), which is more dancy, electro-stuff.
Q: Who’s your celebrity mancrush? Ladycrush?
A: [deeeep in thought…] Hmm…it has to be Michael Pitt, from Boardwalk Empire. Or Hank Hill. I mean, c’mon. Also from Boardwalk Empire, ladycrush is hands down Paz de la Huerta.
Q: So, other than Boardwalk Empire, what do you watch?
A: I love Breaking Bad, Mad Men, and Game of Thrones (although I think the second season is better than the first one).
Q: Any movies?
A: I’m so bad at this stuff; I like lots of movies. It’s pretty easy to please me when it comes to films. I love Wes Anderson stylistically; he has a very particular vision and executes that well. And you can’t go wrong with Tarantino—Kill Bill Vol 1 and 2.
Q: If you could have a superpower, what would it be?
A: Oh, I know this one. Teleporting. So I don’t have to take the subway. I’m so tired of that, especially when it’s 3am and I’m a half an hour away from home.
Q: Boxers or briefs?
A: Boxer briefs. Only black. Uniqlo. Always.
Q: How do you take your coffee?
A: Iced, with a splash of almond milk.
Q: What about blogs/sites you visit?
A: Actually, it’s mostly street fashion blogs. I really like Need Supply Co, for clothes. Their blog is cool, too. They are always interview interesting people and doing things in jewelry and clothes. It’s interesting because it’s an environment I don’t know much about. I also like Street Etiquette for street style and clothing, or Fecal Face.
Q: Any cool side projects going on?
A: I mostly do logos and band stuff for friends. I’ve been working on my friend’s band, Parade Grounds. I just finished their LP jacket. It’s cool to do things back in the print world. I’ll also be doing T-shirts and stickers for them. I love the open-ended, artistic stuff. That’s also how I support bands I like – I buy merch and their albums on vinyl. Aside from that, I’m always doing drawings on the side. A lot of it is ink on wood, sort of abstract patterns and things.