This month we got to speak to Travis Luther, an artist, and angler native to Florida, about his custom artwork. Travis is passionate about the rich diversity of fish species Florida offers and enjoys working with clients to create paintings that bring their best days on the water to life. Learn more about Travis and his work below!
Flylords: Where are you from?
Travis: I was born and raised in the northeast Florida area, mostly fishing, skateboarding, surfing, and doodling as I grew up.
Flylords: When did you first become interested in art?
Travis: Art was always part of my life growing up. I can remember that as a child I would draw boats and other stuff I saw around me.
Flylords: How did you learn how to draw and paint?
Travis: I think just the sheer amount of time I’ve been creative has led me to this point. It’s not something I’m proud of, but I think it’s funny to point out that I failed art class in high school. I always just did my own thing instead of assignments.
Flylords: What is your favorite medium to work in?
Travis: My favorite medium is acrylic on wood panels. I also enjoy a little woodworking. I like to build the panels I paint on and hand frame them in some unique wood when the painting is finished. I guess I just like the entire process of creating something from start to finish.
Flylords: What about Florida inspires your pieces?
Travis: Florida is my home, and I’ve really never left other than some small trips here and there. It’s basically all I know. I love it here we have one of the most diverse landscapes. In a day you can go from the beaches to the marshes and flats of the intracoastal to the swamps and lakes connected to the St. John’s River and freshwater springs. As far as fishing goes you can knock off an impressive list just here in Florida.
Flylords: When did you start painting people’s catches? What has been your favorite part about working with folks to capture their fishing trips?
Travis: The whole “paint your catch” thing started as me wanting to paint something new. I did a few and hung them in the local fly shop with my good friend Captain Luke Blaser of Old City Guide Service, and he pushed me to take on some commissioned pieces that people had been asking about. After telling him I wasn’t really confident enough he decided to just give me a solid shove into the work by booking a client for me by surprise. From there it took off. I think it is exciting to paint someone with their catch almost like I can feel the energy of the individual’s day on the water.
Flylords: What is your process for creating a painting or a coaster set?
Travis: My paintings usually start off with getting a good photo and a good story from the individual. I always enjoy hearing the story behind that catch photo. From there I build the panel to size and prep it for paint. Usually takes me about a week to paint everything. Then I varnish and hand frame each piece. The coaster sets are just a little creative project I enjoy doing. I like that art can be functional. The first coaster sets I did were the redfish tails. After showing them to my parents they seemed confused and asked where’s the rest of the fish so that started a whole bunch of new projects and ideas.
Flylords: What do you hope people experience when they see your finished work?
Travis: With my commissioned fish catch paintings, I enjoy sharing the process with clients as I go. I enjoy updating them periodically then getting to see their final reactions. I like being able to provide something for them that’s not just a fish on the wall, but rather the entire moment just after that awesome catch. It’s the scenery, the person, the fish, and landmarks that make these moments special.
Flylords: When did you first learn how to fish?
Travis: I’ve been fishing since before I can remember. When I was very little we lived on the west side of Flagler County on a small lake. My dad would get up at like 4:00 am and go limit out on largemouth bass before having to be at work at 7:00 am. He would get me up put a rod in my hand and that’s where it all began. From there it’s always been a favorite pastime, and when I started fly fishing it became an obsession. Now that I’ve merged art and fishing that’s about all I do. If I’m not fishing I’m painting or woodworking and the other way around.
Flylords: What do you think people should know about Florida’s fisheries and their conservation?
Travis: Honestly, I don’t even know where to begin. As far as the fishery goes it’s one of the most diverse and fun places to fish. All within a few hours you can catch anything from largemouth, striped, and peacock bass to tarpon, bonefish, redfish, permit, and the list goes on. I mostly practice catch and release unless I’m keeping one for my father-in-law. I do some local clean-ups and try to stay up to date on conservation agencies like Captains for Clean Water. I also like to help by occasionally donating things for the conservation event fundraisers. I really enjoy working with the Tailer Trash podcast crew for their annual Dinghy Derby for the Marine Discovery Center and Mosquito Lagoon restoration.
Flylords: What’s your favorite fish to catch?
Travis: I do quite a bit of fishing for redfish and that’s always exciting, but it’s hard to beat tarpon. My goal the past few years has been to land a tarpon on the fly from the beach. I’ve come pretty close a few times, but it’s still a dream. Tarpon just seem to be the bigger challenge and that keeps them at the top of the list.
Since 2012, Flylords has been a proud leader in telling the stories of anglers and guides from around the world. Through film, photography, and journalism we strive to make each story as unique as the person or place it’s based off. Our goal is simple: inspire the next generation to get outdoors and hit the water!