Woebegone, disturbing, yet strangely endearing, Travis Lampe’s bizarre, retro animation style characters are both humorously cartoonish and delightfully expressive.
Lampe grew up in a small town in Kansas and graduated in Graphic Design from Fort Hays State University before moving to Chicago, where he still lives and works. Art director by profession, the artist recounts undertaking commercial projects for breakfast cereals and furniture stores before focussing full time on his personal artwork.
Old Mickey Mouse cartoons, Dr.Seuss and “moving pictures, the more elbow-less the better,” are the inspiration behind Lampe’s iconography of gloomy worm-like beings, rubbery trees, and figures with bandy shoelace arms. As he explains, “exaggerated sadness is funny to me for some reason.”
Past work includes the yellow Color Bear used in the Chicago Museum of Contemporary Art’s 2008 “Fear No Art” campaign, and the “Tear Drips” toys first released in 2009. Lampe currently runs Fantasy Cryland, the merchandising arm for his creative output, while his original paintings have been featured in exhibitions in Seattle, Chicago, Los Angeles, Art Basel Miami, and Berlin.