Conceptual Realism – Travis Louie

Charles and His Northern Henry

Charles and His Northern Henry

Travis Louie Beginnings

Travis’ paintings begin with a story. In part, these are inspired by his time as a youngster in New York City. He lived on Mulberry street in little Italy and when he visited his grandmother he took note of all the unusual people in the building.

According to Mr. Louie the building was quite noisy and many of the tenants did whatever they did behind closed doors. The unusual sounds and his inability to associate those sounds with particular faces led his active imagination to concoct any number of scenarios.

Thus inspired Mr. Louie has created an entire family of unusual people and “misfits.”


Mr. Louie keeps a journal, full of stories, and paints his subjects based on the content of those stories. Often the stories are accompanied by rough sketches of the subjects. These may or may not become the subjects of a full portrait.

Clearly part of the tableau is grounded in Victorian & Edwardian times and styles.

Mr. Louie uses acrylic on wooden or illustration board after penciling in a rough sketch of his subject. The palette is primarily black and white with limited use of color.

The artist states that the act of painting is actually a refining process since most of the work is done from a story aspect, character studies in sketches and a final transfer to the board. By this time the work is pretty much as he wants it, with the actual painting a means of concluding the study.

“All the creativity takes place well before the actual painting is even started.” – Travis Louie