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Travis Millard Talks Big Ideas from Small Doodles

Travis Millard is a native Kansan and did some time in Brooklyn, NY before settling in Los Angeles. His work, characterized by intricate detail and sarcastic humor, can be seen on shoes, skate decks, shirts, gallery walls, zines, and now in the Poketo x Club Mumble t-shirt and wallet series. Following are some insights into Travis’s methods.

Could you tell us a bit about your t-shirt graphic for Poketo x Club Mumble, what’s behind all of the ghosts in your work?

Those creeps popped up in a drawing a couple years ago and I’ve been kind of reinterpreting them since then. I like the ghosts because they don’t seem menacing, but it could go either way I guess.

How do you incorporate found objects or surfaces into your work? How much of your work is done in this fashion?

I like working on found paper from the sidewalk or interesting envelopes that come through the mail.. just something that seems like it’s gone through some life on the road before falling on my desk. There’s also nothing like a clean sheet of thick hot-press printmaking paper though.. that almost sounds dirty… paper lust.

Your work is wonderfully detailed and complex. How do you usually get started on a piece?

Sometimes an idea for a larger drawing will come from a small doodle in a sketchbook or scratch paper.. but generally getting started on a piece works best when i don’t even realize i’m setting out to officially start something. I have a couple drawers of starts-and-stops that are good to sift through and pick up whenever it looks good.

You produce a great number of totally rad zines. How did you start creating zines, and do you see yourself publishing a compilation of them as a book someday?

I found the zine shelf at my local record store in Lawrence, Kansas and had a friend who encouraged me to try one. I really just loved passing it to friends for them to absorb later.. that kind of sparked it for me. I don’t have any big plans to publish a compilation but that might be fun someday.

What are your top three secret places in LA? Why do you love them?

There’s a spot at at end of our dead-end street that is pretty desolate and beautiful in it’s own scummy way. You can hear the 5 freeway plowing along over the ridge but somehow you’re still alone in the woods. There’s always some interesting old trash to discover and lovely foliage. I think that’s the only secret place I know of.. everyone else seems to know where everything else is. Somehow I feel like I just blew the spot.

Part of the Poketo x Club Mumble project entails a re-release of Ground Beef, a skate zine from 1985, produced by [Ted's] brother Tony Vadakan. Its contents explore art, friends, music, being young, community, and of course, skating. We sent you a copy… what kind of nostalgic anecdotes do you have about being young and skating?

I really enjoyed reading Tony’s Ground Beef zine. It reminded me of my youth before the internet and how slow time seemed back then. My Kansas hometown skateboarding experience was mostly spent on curbs in parking lots or after-hours loading docks with one or two friends. It was better to skate with a friend because you were likely to get hassled by an older teenager in a truck and cowboy hat. It also gave you someone else for back-up to act like a maniac and pretend to be a rabid animal to spook the cowboy hats off and laugh about later.

Thanks so much to Travis Millard for collaborating with us on the Poketo x Club Mumble series. Be sure to scope his wallet and t-shirt.

Remember any purchase of a wallet and tee shirt from the Poketo x Club Mumble series, including Travis’ designs, will get you a FREE copy of the Ground Beef zine, while supplies last! You can check out Travis’ body of work at

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