Featured Artist Interview | Travis Sleeper - InkedWay
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Featured Artist Interview | Travis Sleeper

Meet The Artist

Travis Sleeper has over a decade of experience, and is based in Austin, Texas. His works range from colorful delights, to shades of black and gray horror.

Travis is a resident artist at Blindside Tattoo & Piercing, and is there most days. Though he’s constantly working on some aspect his craft, he feels that he’s finally struck a balance between work and home life.

He had a somewhat unconventional start in the field, mostly learning from observation and self teaching. Luckily, his background in art created a strong foundation for this unanticipated career path.

The Duality of Dudes

Though his outward appearance is a bit gothic or punky, his personality is just the opposite. Travis is friendly, and an overall positive person. I might even venture to call him bubbly!

This duality he possesses is also quite noticeable in his art. His portfolio is filled with art on both sides of the spectrum; on one end there’s the vibrant and adorable, the other end being the ghastly, ghoulish, and gory.

Though he moves between the contrasting themes gracefully, he tends to do more work in grayscale. However when he does work in color, he takes special care to ensure that it will be as saturated and vibrant as possible. He does this by giving more healing time between each session, if the client’s patience allows for it.

Taking Comfort in the Uncomfortable

When I asked Travis about his favorite part of the artistic process, his response was a comedic, “When it’s done of course!” The most satisfying steps are those he can feel at ease completing, confident that he can execute it to perfection.

However, he also expressed gratitude for the moments when he is forced to step out of his comfort zone, and attempt to conquer new and challenging techniques.

Meditative Movements

Now that Travis has an ample amount of experience, he’s developed his own system for the process that grants him a sense of self-assuredness. His confidence allows him to remain in a calm and focused state of mind, even during the most difficult portions of a tattoo.

It’s become a lot easier for him to find his rhythm in a piece, and can get to the point where his work flows smoothly much earlier in the process in comparison to his early days in his career.

“I don’t even have to think really; my hand just moves[…] It starts to become like the tattoo machine is just part of my hand. I’m not thinking, it’s just like it’s doing it for me, and that’s really relaxing!”

-Travis Sleeper

Schedule in Advance!

These days Sleeper is in high demand, and schedules his books around two months in advance. While they do take walk-ins at the studio, you won’t be guaranteed time with any artist in particular this way. It’s important you make an appointment if you’re seeking your own Sleeper original!

Travis may also ask to break your piece up into sessions if it is particularly large or detailed, so keep that in mind when planning the timeline of your new piece. This ensures the best outcome for the healing of your tattoo.

Whether you get a cutesy tattoo, or something more gruesome, Travis encourages his clients to stay hydrated and eat well during the healing process. This important bit of aftercare is often neglected, but in his opinion it’s a crucial component to having a beautiful healed tattoo.

Contact the Artist

Check out more of Travis Sleeper’s work on Instagram: @sleeperzink as well as his shop’s account @blindsidetattoos . You can get your own piece by Sleeper at Blindside Tattoo & Piercing located at 211 E 6th St, Austin, Texas 78701 .

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