Hi folks, Apollyon888 here. Today I bring you Extreme Detail's very first member showcase. I am honored to present to you the very talented, artist/poet/activist Travis Gibbs *Ant1-Her0-Project! The following is an interview he was kind enough to take the time to do with me, as well as general info about his Ant1-Her0-Project, examples of the art from the project, and info about himself. Awesome guy, you won't regret taking the time to read this feature!
"Fight or Flight"
***Apollyon888: You've been pouring a lot of work into The Ant1 Her0 Project, and I love the concept and the art! Tell me about the project.
***Ant1-Her0-Project: First thing, is thank you for the interest; it's greatly appreciated. "The Ant1 Her0 Project" began as the "Personal Revolution" project and is comprised of Illustration, graphic art, poetry, and performance art. The Ant1-Her0 Project, loosely based on myself, is a character study I've created to explore my interest in society, spirituality, politics, and the human condition. One of the underlying messages is about me owning up to my responsibilities as a human being in this troubled, apathetic world we live in. I firmly believe that we all have practiced abilities that can be used to do good in this world, and this project is my feeble attempt to prove that.
A philosopher in a time when philosophy is no longer practical or appreciated, Ant1-Her0 is a street artist and poet turned revolutionary. Our reluctant protagonist lives in a police state in the not-too-distant future. He's a deeply conflicted character, and many of the situations he faces take place internally, producing an abstract reality and setting. Ant1-Her0, though on the brink of his sanity, will stop at nothing to bring an end to corruption.
Our antagonist is also a character based on yours truly, 0rd1nary J0e. A product of American industry designed by a dominant corporation, and programmed to function as the ideal conformist. He's the police, your firefighters, your doctor, your politicians and school teachers. He's the everyday worker-bee who bags your groceries and serves your coffee.
Is this an example of corporate America gone too far, or a society too far gone? What happens when an isolated free-thinker clashes with super-imposed standards of conformity? People will dehumanize their enemies and desensitize themselves as a coping mechanism against conflict. How far will these two go before reality becomes distorted, and the lines they've drawn begin to blur?
"Weapon of Choice"
***Apollyon888: I really dig the multi-medium approach you are using. How are you incorporating performance and poetry into the project?
***Ant1-Her0-Project: My slam poetry performances are staged like political demonstrations, and though it's become something that's expected of me by those who follow my work, I never tell the gallery or venue what it is I'm going to do. I leave just long enough for people to notice I'm missing, then storm the gallery wearing a real gas mask, and carrying a police riot shield, shouting my project's mission statement. This is not your standard beatnik, coffee shop poetry. I take the audience hostage with this 'shock and awe' tactic, and by the end, I've won them over as if they've come down with Stockholm Syndrome. At which point, three agents rush from the crowd, restrain me, force a black hood over my head, "chloroform" me, and drag my limp body out of the venue! Sometimes I come back, sometimes I don't!
***Apollyon888: Are there plans for a graphic novel or something similar?
***Ant1-Her0-Project: I want to keep this project open-ended enough to attract other artists and activists who might want to join me and The Ant1-Her0 Project. This can be a graphic novel, a video game, a movie, a band,it can be all these things at once;but as for me as a solo act, I intend to release concept art books, complete with poetry, my artist journal, and a dvd of filmed poetry, and live performances. I'm currently considering a kick-starter campaign to get it off the ground, while filming, performing, and producing the work for Volume 1, "Duality." I'm almost done.
***Apollyon888: What are your plans for Ordinary Joe?
***Ant1-Her0-Project: 0rd1nary J0e is still very much in development, and is a perfect platform for artists who are interested in joining in and collaborating. J0e is a complex character, because whether or not he and his female counter-part 'Pla1n Jane' are actually robots will always remain unclear. J0e is a projection of how Ant1-Her0 perceives ordinary people who don't appear to practice Critical Thinking. These are not evil characters, but they will also serve as the authorities that seek to put an end Ant1-Her0, who is by all rights a vandal. He is a modern American Revolutionary who will be accused of being a domestic terrorist.
***Apollyon888: In what ways can we witness Anti Hero's internal struggle?
***Ant1-Her0-Project: The book, and the dvd is mostly where you'll witness the protagonist's internal struggle, as the poetry and journal serve as the dialogue for the project.
***Apollyon888: Tell me a little about yourself and your career. Do you work the fine art scene mostly or do you do other things? Where would you like to be with your art career in coming years?
***Ant1-Her0-Project: I'm a stubbornly idealistic, 32 year-old man-child, who's not only a full-time artist/performer, but a full-time janitor too. I grew up poor, fast, and in a rough neighborhood. I'm self- taught, and the Fine Art scene has made it very clear that I am not welcome due to my lack of schooling and credentials. Between me, you, and the readers, I know it's because I intimidate them. I was studying complicated anatomy, perspective, and light and shadow in the sixth grade; they started drawing 1 in college. For me, art is a competitive sport, and I'm after everything they don't want me to have: A new renaissance lead by illustrators, concept artists, graffiti writers, and street artists/performers. We're the new revolution, if you ask me. I hope to encourage a legion of artists to take over, and reform Fine Art/Gallery standards. In the coming years, I hope to make enough money from The Ant1-Her0 Project to sustain my humble lifestyle, and prove that art serves as a tangible form of political and social activism. I want to use my abilities to make the world a better place for the coming generations.
***Apollyon888: You're drawing style is very interesting, tell me a little about your favorite technique and how you came to love it. Does the clean, graphic look come from a particular experience or influence?
***Ant1-Her0-Project:My style of drawing is a mixture of all my favorite artists I've ever had the honor of studying, with enough practice to have evolved into a unique look and feel I can confidently call my own. Art's always been competitive for me, so I've always felt if I'm not as good as my favorite artists, no one has any reason to even look at my work. As a kid, I wanted to be a comic book artist, and dreamed of bringing a unique look to Spider-Man; but as I got older, I became less interested in sequential art, and more interested in the concept art I saw in the bonus features of films like The Matrix, so that definitely influenced me as well. As for the clean lines, and graphic style? That's my passion. I love precise line-work, and dynamic imagery. I also have to prove I'm good enough to be worth your time, and I'm working incessantly to keep getting better and more worthwhile. There is so much competition out there, it's so easy to go unnoticed. I can't live with that. This is all I've got, so I give it all I have, while knowing there's still another mountain ahead of me.
***Apollyon888: Your work is very politically charged and deals intimately with the human condition. Do you have a personal story about how these subjects came to the forefront for you in life? Any recommended reading for us?
***Ant1-Her0-Project: I've always felt like I was born to be a soldier. My grandfather served in World War 2 and Korea, and when I was a kid, I wanted to be a decorated war hero just like him. I lived for conflict-based cartoons like GI Joe and Transformers, I watched war dramas and documentaries at an early age. I remember being secretly excited to watch Operation Desert Storm on the news, because this was my perception of real heroes at work…later on, when I reached what I consider to be "the age of critical thinking", I started to delve deeper into this interest, and a fascination with civil unrest and political disarray soon followed. In middle school, I started listening to artists like KRS-ONE, Rakim, and Gang Starr. These artists put me onto activists like Gandhi, Malcolm X, and Huey P Newton...all the ones we didn't learn about in school, and this led to further interest in other revolutionaries like Che Guevara, Michael Collins, and Ivan Cooper. By the time I reached high school, I was studying their speeches, and watching documentaries on the impact of their influence…needless to say my perception of a war hero changed dramatically. It had always been my understanding that heroes defend justice, but in today's world, I can find no greater injustices than those brought about by big government, organized religion, and corporate monopolies. As for reading, I recommend "Roots for Radicals" by Edward T Chambers, "From Dictatorship to Democracy" by Gene Sharp, and anything by George Orwell.
"At Arms Length"
***Apollyon888: What might be your personal motto?
***Ant1-Her0-Project: Those who have something to fall back on, always do. The Intellectual Revolution is happening right now, and every day, we decide our own level of involvement.
Here's a short bio and links to my performances:
Travis J Gibbs was raised in New London, CT. He's a self-taught illustrator, graphic artist, writer, philosopher, slam poet, performer, and recording artist. If the day of 'The Renaissance Man' is dead… consider him a defibrillator!
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